A UNSW academic has been awarded one of Australia's richest prizes for music composition.

Professor Andrew Schultz, a noted composer and head of the School of English, Media and Performing Arts, won the $15,000 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize for his recent work To the evening star.

The jury unanimously agreed that Schultz's work was deserving of the prize describing it as showing "a mastery of technique and form". He was presented with the award at the Sydney Opera House.

"The subject of this song cycle is obvious from my choice of diverse but very personal texts by W.B.Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins that reflect on the creative inner life," says Professor Schultz.

"The poems move from deep longing in the first song, through whimsy and humour in the second and fourth songs, to fear and regret in the third song, and, finally, to a mix of wonder at the world's beauty and an acceptance of time passing in the final song. It is the final song that sets a text by William Blake which provides the title of the work."

Professor Schultz is best known for three operas - Black River, Going Into Shadows and The Children's Bach. His music also covers chamber, orchestral and other vocal work.

He has published on topics relating to new music and analysis, and is editor of the Biographical Directory of Australian Composers.

The Paul Lowin Prizes reward the pinnacle of achievement in Australian composition and are presented by Perpetual Limited and the Australian Music Centre, under the patronage of Mr Kenneth W Tribe.

For more on the prizes, go to the Australian Music Centre website.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton | 9385 1583 | susi.hamilton@unsw.edu.au