Letty Katts Award

2020 Letty Katts Award recipient Narelle McCoy

The 2020 Letty Katts Award was awarded to Narelle McCoy for her project Musicians Should Be Heard and Not Seen: the life and music of Letty Katts (1919-2007) and her cultural contribution to the Australian music scene. 

Narelle McCoy will explore the contribution of Queensland-born composer Letty Katts, to the musical landscape of Australia. Compositions such as her popular songs, “Never Never” and “A Town Like Alice” provided a distinctly Australian voice to a scene dominated by American culture. She was the first Australian to have an original song in the popular music hit parade during the 1950s, yet little is known about her.

This project aims to redress that by researching the Letty Katts archives held by the State Library of Queensland and reclaiming Katts’ deserved position as a successful creator of popular music in an era when female composers were rare. Her quote: “Musicians should be heard and not seen” contradicts her determination and her ability to liaise with the (predominately male) decision-makers including publishers and agents.

2018 Letty Katts Award recipient Professor Peter Roennfeldt

Professor Peter Roennfeldt is the recipient of the 2018 Letty Katts Award for his project Brisbane’s Albert Hall 1901-1968: celebrating memory and heritage of a major performance venue.

2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the demise of Albert Hall, which for nearly 70 years was a major venue servicing Brisbane's performing arts community. The project aims to capture and make visible the cultural contribution of Albert Hall through the collections of State Library of Queensland and memories of musicians and others associated with the venue.

2018 Letty Katts Fellow Professor Peter Roennfeldt’s Research Reveals presentation where he presented his research on the history and legacy of Albert Hall in its 50th anniversary. His research project Brisbane’s Albert Hall 1901–1968: celebrating memory and heritage of a major performance venue showcases the legacy of the much-loved venue, home to countless concerts, theatrical productions, film evenings, eisteddfod competitions, lectures, meetings, conferences and political rallies and thousands of memories.      

The biennial Letty Katts Award supports the research and documenting of Queensland’s music history. It gives a musician, composer, scholar or researcher the opportunity to study, experiment and explore new thinking in their art or area of study, leading to the creation of new knowledge or work inspired by Queensland’s music history. It commemorates Queensland songwriter and musician Violet Mellick (stage name Letty Katts).

The recipient receives a stipend of $5,000, along with a personal workspace within the Neil Roberts Research Lounge for a period of six months, giving premium access to the extensive collections and expert library staff and advice.

For more information about the Letty Katts Award please email fellowships@slq.qld.gov.au or call 07 3840 7879 or 07 3840 7887.

Generously supported by Dr Stanton Mellick OAM ED and Professor Jill Mellick through the Queensland Library Foundation.