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Recipients of the 2013 Professional Development Awards

11th April 2013

APRA announces the recipients of the 2013 Professional Development Awards

The APRA Professional Development Awards (PDAs) are presented biennially to the shining lights of the New Zealand songwriting industry. Grants are awarded in three compositional categories –Pop/Contemporary, Film & Television and Classical, with each recipient receiving $12,000 towards their professional development plan.

In order to determine the three recipients an anonymous panel assesses all applications, assessing both the individual as well as their professional development plan. The judges from this year all commented on the high standard of applications, saying of the recipients “The three recipients are all one song or composition away from the world”.

This year’s Professional Development plans include an orchestral composition workshop at New York University, an eight month composition diploma in Italy and working with three of the USA’s most influential rock songwriters and producers.

“Each of these composers presented world class plans to develop their musical career. They each possess enormous potential and APRA is proud to be able to support them” says APRA’s Director of NZ Operations, Anthony Healey.

APRA NZ congratulates the 2013 Professional Development Award recipients:

Nick Gaffaney (Pop/Contemporary), Karl Steven (Film & TV) and Alex Taylor (Classical).

As well as the financial award from APRA NZ, additional support will be provided to each of the three recipients to further assist with their plans. Legal and accounting consultations will be provided by Mclaughlin Law and Entertainment Accounting Services, studio time will be contributed by Roundhead Studios and product will be provided by Logitech UE.


Information on each of the recipients is included below

Pop/Contemporary: Nick Gaffaney (

“The PDA will allow Nick to take advantage of the opportunities offered to him, at the right time in his career. He is incredibly talented and driven, and the impact will reach far beyond this.”

A native of Christchurch, Nick Gaffaney has been at the forefront of the Kiwi music scene for over a decade. His professional history is intertwined with some of New Zealand’s highest selling and critically acclaimed pop, roots and rock releases; ambitious jazz and world music projects; as well as his current work with Cairo Knife Fight. In Cairo Knife Fight Nick goes beyond the role of drummer, also inhabiting the roles of lead singer and keyboard bass player, having mastered the art of playing the keyboard with one hand, while drumming with the other.
After surrounding himself with some serious music industry heavyweights, he has been offered the opportunity to work with rock luminaries Alain Johannes, Mark Lanegan and Dave Sitek in Los
Angeles. Winning the APRA PDA allows Nick to realise this massive opportunity, currently scheduled for mid 2013.

Film & Television: Karl Steven (

“Karl is a very focused individual, who is involved in the film and television industry and music community at all levels. He will be able to gain personally from this, but will also be able to widely share his skills and knowledge”

While most will know Karl Steven as lead provocateur from his pioneering work with iconic NZ band Supergroove, Karl’s history with composition for film and television is a long one. Karl’s first composition project was for a catfood jingle when he was just 16, and in the subsequent 23 years he has stacked up an impressive list of credits. He has provided soundtracks for commercials, documentaries, and a number of themes for popular television series, including The Politically ‘Incorrect Guide To...’, ‘Rocked the Nation’, ‘Radiradirah’, ‘The Possum Hunter’, ‘The Blue Rose’, ‘Neighbourhood’, and soon to be released ‘Harry’. Alongside his busy composition work, he still finds time to let loose in bands The Drab Doo Riffs, Heart Attack Alley and Supergroove.
Karl will be using the PDA grant to travel to New York to attend a nine day intensive workshop through New York University, focussing on composing for orchestras. The course features some of the industry’s most esteemed composers and songwriters, and is a step that he sees will allow him to further his career in composition.

Classical: Alex Taylor

“Alex is a consummate candidate and composer, with a very impressive track record. He is a composer to watch and we proudly support his professional development plan”

Alex Taylor is one of New Zealand’s leading young composers of orchestral and chamber music. His music has been performed by prominent ensembles and orchestras, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, 175 East and the NZTrio. In 2012 he became the youngest recipient to date of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for his work [inner], for which he was also awarded the NZSO-Todd Young Composer Award, as well as the Orchestra’s Choice Award. He has won numerous awards and scholarships through Auckland University, including winning the 2009 Lilburn Trust Competition. He completed a residency with the NZSO-National Youth Orchestra in 2012 as well as commissions for the NZTrio, 175 East and The Committee. To put further strain on his trophy cabinet, in 2013 Alex was the recipient of the 2013 CANZ Trust Fund Award. As well as composing award winning classical music, Alex also plays numerous instruments, sings, curates the Intrepid Music Project and writes poetry.
Alex plans to use the PDA to attend the highSCORE Artist Diploma programme, an eight month intensive programme of study in Italy. The prestigious programme has an extremely limited intake and includes some of the world’s most acclaimed composers and musicians, including Helmut Lachenmann and the Arditti Quartet.

APRA would also like to thank McLaughlin Law, Entertainment Accounting Services, Roundhead Studios and Logitech UE for their support of the Professional Development Awards.


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