Talented alumni nominated for coveted ARIA Awards

Queensland Conservatorium alumni Megan Washington, Jayson Gillham and Katie Noonan are nominated for ARIA Awards.

Three Queensland Conservatorium alumni have been nominated for ARIA Awards.

Katie Noonan is up for Best Jazz Album, Megan Washington is nominated for Best Comedy Release and piano virtuoso Jayson Gillham is in the running for Best Classical Album.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards are the flagship event of theAustralian music calendar, recognising excellence and innovation across all genres.

Katie Noonan

Katie Noonan has received a jaw-dropping 27 ARIA nominations since graduating from Griffith, but said this year’s nod, for her album The Sweetest Taboo, was just as meaningful as the first time.

“Just to be shortlisted for the award is incredible,” she said.

“You’ve already kind of won, because that means your peers think this record is in the top five of the year, which is extraordinary.“

The successful Australian singer was first nominated for an ARIA Award in 2001, and has since won five ARIA Awards.

“It’s a great honour. I think Australia makes world-class music and we have incredibly talented jazz musicians.“

Both Katie Noonan and fellow nominee Megan Washington were mentored by Queensland Conservatorium vocal coach and senior lecturer Associate Professor Irene Bartlett.

“I can’t underestimate the importance of a good teacher,” Katie said.

“Teachers bring confidence, a sense of self-worth, and they teach you of course, but it’s so much more. It’s how they make you feel. They give you confidence to follow your path in life and in music.”

Megan Washington

Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Megan Washington has already won two ARIAs, written an opera, voices a character on the ABC children’s show Bluey and is now dabbling in podcasting. At this year’s ARIA Awards she is up for Best Comedy Release for her song Just Jesus – recorded for satirical ABC mockumentary podcast, CrossBread.

Megan always knew she was destined to follow a creative path, but her time at the Conservatorium created the foundation for a diverse career in the industry.

“When I finished high school I either wanted to study acting or dance; I didn’t actually think I was good enough to get into the Con,” she said.

“I loved my time there, studying so intensely and really identifying with that, it’s still in me.”

Jayson Gillham

Concert pianist Jayson Gillham left his childhood home in Dalby to study at the Queensland Conservatorium, completing a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in 2007.

Now based in London, Jayson has been nominated for Best Classical Album for his recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto cycle with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

He said his studies at the Queensland Conservatorium set up him for a long and rewarding career which has taken him around the world.

“The Con was wonderfully flexible in tailoring my degree and many of my first performance opportunities arose from my connections with people there,” he said.

“Music is my life and it gives me nourishment. Performing is often fun and usually nerve-wracking, and travelling is a necessary evil, but the music itself is why I keep doing this every day!”

Professor Gemma Carey

Queensland Conservatorium Acting Director Professor Gemma Carey said the trio’s success reflected the high calibre of alumni.

“We are thrilled to see three of our graduates nominated for ARIA Awards across a variety of genres,” she said.

“This has been a difficult year for many of our alumni, but they have shown remarkable resilience, continuing to create music that entertains, comforts and delights audiences around the world.”

The 2020 ARIA Awards will be held on 25 November and broadcast live on Channel Nine.