In London, Sydney's own Amy Dickson became the first Australian performer to win a Classical BRIT Award taking out the Breakthrough Artist of the Year award for her new album Dusk & Dawn, released in Australia on October 18th. This is truly an Australian success story by a quiet, yet determined achiever in the arts world.
On Classical Music's night of nights, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Amy Dickson shone. Not only was she awarded best Breakthrough Artist, but she also gave a stunning performance of Mark Knopfler's Going Home, which will be included on the digital version of Dusk & Dawn.
'I was so honoured and surprised to receive the award, I was up against some really amazing performers", says Amy, 'the whole night was incredible, not only winning the award, but to be the first Australian performer to do so… I'm so thrilled."
Dusk & Dawn, which shot straight to the No. 1 spot on the UK Classical Charts, is late-night classical listening at its best and takes the listener on an unexpected sojourn through beautiful, lush, romantic music. 'The album is a beautiful mix of music from all genres, from Chopin to Tom Waits! We have pulled it all together by emulating the beautiful sound world of 50's/60's film scores, with all their gorgeous shimmering strings, which is one of my favourite eras" says Amy who is now based in London.
Inspired by her own romance, it is Amy's track choices combined with the sultriness of the saxophone that heightens the magical atmosphere of Dusk & Dawn. Amy makes playing the saxophone a beautiful, gentle and sensual experience and Dusk & Dawn showcases a brand-new sound world for Amy's beloved instrument.
Born in Sydney, Amy moved to London in her late teens and was a former student of the Royal College of Music. Amy picked up her first saxophone, a school instrument, when she was six. 'It was old and only three keys worked," she laughs. 'But playing the saxophone has always felt natural." Amy was soon winning competitions and performing; she made her live radio debut aged eight and her concerto debut at 16. She has firmly established the saxophone's classical credentials, making the instrument sing with softness, power and lyrical range. A soloist with the world's finest orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Amy has performed at the Vienna Konzerthaus and Sydney Opera House as well as performing chamber music in venues throughout the world including Wigmore Hall and Bridgewater Hall.
A passionate champion of contemporary music, Amy has commissioned and premiered works by composers including Huw Watkins, Peter Sculthorpe and Ross Edwards. She also arranges repertoire for the saxophone, perhaps most notably the Philip Glass Violin Concerto which she recorded together with works by Michael Nyman and John Tavener with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Mikel Toms for Sony Music.
Amy notes: 'It's so exciting to be able to play in amazing concert halls and be inspired by incredible musicians and composers. This really is a dream come true, and I feel lucky that following this path has been possible."
Amy Dickson is an ambassador of the Prince's Trust and the Australian Children's Music Foundation.