Limelight Artist of the Year: Vote Now!

“One of Australia’s most extraordinary performers.” – Rob Kennedy, City News

We’re thrilled to announce that our very own Claire Edwardes, internationally-acclaimed percussionist and Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring, has been nominated for Limelight Magazine’s 2021 Artist of the Year!

Voting is open to the public, so we invite you to show your support for Claire and living new music!

Claire’s artistic achievements span an immense and ever-growing tapestry of collaborations and commissions, tours and festivals – and of course, a wealth of recordings of living new music.

True to Claire’s down-to-earth style, she has written some honest words on her response to this nomination, and it’s an important and interesting read. Check it out below.

The Hard Slog… – Claire Edwardes

Being included in the recent Limelight 2021 Artist of the Year has brought on some reflection about what I think of such awards as well as where the arts are at in Australia right now. Generally speaking I do feel a bit funny about these types of things – often the lists seem so random and at the end of the day one has to wonder – who collates them and what does it all mean? And then there is the issue of why we bother with these types of list oriented comparisons in the first place, where so many amazing artists are of course always left out of the mix.

But then I got to thinking (I think I’ve been listening to too much of the Sentimental and the City podcast – ha) we can also justify them from a different lense – especially at times like this. I daresay it’s the team at Limelight who collate the lists and let’s be honest, there is probably not a bunch of arts writers and critics in Australia who have more overarching knowledge than them around who is doing what in our arts scene. So I’d say they really do have a pretty good grasp of how to collate such a list. Then there is the question of why do we feel the need to have little competitions like this that, at the end of the day don’t mean much once it’s all said and done? And again I had the realisation that especially during times like this when our arts industry here in Australia has been totally decimated by COVID and hope for the future of live performance is feeling very, very far away, we need these little moments to come together and remember all the great stuff that has been going on and to celebrate it by getting behind the artists we love so much. These awards therefore (like the Art Music Awards too) are a chance to take stock of the fact that this is but a moment in time and it won’t, it just can’t go on forever. We continue to make great art against all the challenges that continue to be thrown at us and we need to shout out to the world about this!

I have to say I feel so lucky that my general way is to always be positive and pushing forward – my motto after all is ‘do it then it’s done.’ This has really helped me during this time of adversity for all of us artists. You might think when you see all our pictures stacked together what a glamorous life we all must lead but for me anyway (and especially when there is no performing going on) it’s sheer hard work and commitment to a cause that keeps me going and getting up every day.

Each day starts at 5:30am trying to squeeze in as much work as I can before my kids get up for home schooling – just this morning I was: Sending detailed feedback to all the composers in my Rhythms of Change project to create their final scores for distribution (feedback that has been going on for about a year now). I updated EO’s 4 year high level financial forecast for our revised strategic plan. I practised the marimba. I took milk to my partner who hurt his knee and can’t move at the moment. I sent blurbs to my amazing EO staff for our new Offspring for All online series so they can start marketing it. I continued to recover from a root canal I had at the end of last week (which is making me not sleep very well). I answered about 20 emails. I got Poppy started with her trumpet lesson on my computer…..And that was all before 9am! It’s not very glamorous.

So I’m definitely not complaining but I’m just making the point that we all do what we do out of passion and love – yes we get applause when we are able to perform for audiences and that is amazing and something I never take for granted – but otherwise there are not so many moments where we can really celebrate all those people who go through the daily grind of making art for let’s be honest, not very much money. So this Limelight Artist of the Year thingo is for all of my dear friends who I know do the hard slog every day just like me! You all rock!

Claire Edwardes