AUSTRALIAN saxophonist Amy Dickson has been named the Breakthrough Artist of the Year at this year’s Classic BRIT Awards.
Dickson’s album Dusk & Dawn, which shot to number one on the UK’s classical album charts, beat off stiff competition from tenor Joseph Calleja , trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth, and cellist Alisa Weilerstein to claim the music prize.
The sax star has been credited as leading an orchestral revival of the woodwind instrument, elevating it from the nightclub to the concert hall. This award marks the first victory for the instrument at these awards.
Dickson also performed at the awards ceremony held at the Royal Albert Hall, alongside pianists Lang Lang and Leudovico Einaudi.
Born in Sydney, Dickson began playing the saxophone at age six. After graduating from the Royal College of London Music, she has since gone on to become the world’s leading classical saxophonist, performing works from composers such as Steve Martland, the notoriously atonal Harrison Birtwistle, as well as Turnage’s “Two Elegies Framing A Shout”, for soprano sax and piano.
Dusk & Dawn, Dickson’s first album, was a hit with classical music fans because of its inventive arrangements of classical pieces for the saxophone. It includes compositions by Debussy, Fauré and Chopin, with a Tom Waits ballad and Nino Rota’s theme for Fellini’s La Strada.
On receiving her award, she said: “Wow. This award means an enormous amount to me and I would love to take this very special moment to thank my beautiful family and friends, and my darling husband Jamie.”