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Congratulations to SOUNZ composer Gillian Whitehead, who has been awarded the Arts Foundation’s highest honour, the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Award – Whakamana Hiranga.

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Billy Apple, Fred Graham, Bill Manhire and Albert Wendt were the other artists celebrated for their significant contributions to the arts and to the lives of New Zealanders. The recipients received their awards from the Governor General, Her Excellency The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy at a prestigious ceremony at Government House, Wellington. The Prime Minister and Minister of the Arts Culture and Heritage, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, also attended in the event.

Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead DNZM is one of Australasia’s most influential composers of our time, whose steady stream of works include operas, orchestral works, choral pieces, vocal and instrumental chamber compositions, solo works, pieces involving taonga pūoro and compositions including improvisation. She is the second composer honoured with the Icon Award; the first one was Jack Body who received an Icon Award in May 2015.

In celebration of Gillian Whitehead’s Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Award – Whakamana Hiranga, we have released a playlist of her music .

Read The Arts Foundation’s media release here.

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