William Barton’s career continues to go from strength to strength, with a rolling wave of acclaimed performances, commissions and awards. The Kalkadunga composer and didgeridoo virtuoso was recognised for his groundbreaking work at the 2023 Art Music Awards, where he received the Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music.

Véronique Serret, William Barton and Aunty Delmae Barton stand for applause at QPAC in front of clapping orchestral musicians.

Véronique Serret, William Barton and Aunty Delmae Barton. Photo © Morgan Roberts

Presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre, the award honours Australian musicians who have had a profound impact on the Australian music scene. Barton, 42, is its youngest-ever recipient.

“It’s pretty special,” Barton tells Limelight. “It’s a significant award from my peers, which makes it all the more special, to be acknowledged by all my colleagues. I share this success with my Indigenous community, the Kalkadunga people, and those abroad [who are] always connected.”

Barton, who was named Queensland’s Australian of the Year for 2023, has also taken home one of the 2023 AIR Awards, presented by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association. He and violinist Véronique Serret,...