Synthony 2017

Synthony 1Saturday night is going to be a totally epic night as Synthony kicks off in Auckland. DJ + vocalists + choir + symphony orchestra + an incredible visual feast which I’m not sure the Town Hall has ever seen before.

“Leave your Nan at home, THIS IS NOT AN ORCHESTRA AS YOU KNOW IT or a sit down affair… this an event you will lose your sh*t at.”

And yes, the rumours are true, I’ll be up the back thrashing the tambourine and caressing the thunder sheet as part of our impressive percussion section.

But, it’s been quite a journey leading up to this, and I haven’t actually posted much about it, so here’s a run down.

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Recording Mission Ferrari

Mission Ferrari.Back in October 2015 Rhian Sheehan asked me to help out on the music he was writing for a new rollercoaster ride at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Yesterday it all came to fruition with five hours of recording down in Wellington with some of NZ’s finest musicians.

There was a 10-piece brass section and 19-piece string section from Stroma FilmWorks. Absolute credit must go to these amazing musicians who perform at such an incredible level, yet between cues are so friendly and enjoyable to work with. Continue reading “Recording Mission Ferrari”

Orchestrating ‘Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses’

I was delighted to recently orchestrate Rhian Sheehan’s score for ‘Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses’ – a new film premiering at this year’s NZ International Film Festival.

The film is about the 2007 Wainuiomata mākutu lifting of Janet Moses. I haven’t seen the film myself yet but everything I’ve heard is that it is an impressive production.

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Going digital with forScore

While conducting the wind band at the recent Bay of Plenty Music School I finally had the chance to test using digital scores. I’ve always been intrigued – have already blogged about it twice – but only with a new iPad have I had the chance of taking the full digital leap. Here are my thoughts…


An iPad Air 2 sits, charged, ready for action. I already had some of the scores as PDFs which was a great start. Then I scanned the rest using Scanner Pro which kindly then drops the file into my Dropbox. Then in comes forScore – a sheet music reader app and the absolute hero of the equation – I import the files straight from Dropbox and then it’s all ready to go.

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APO 4 Kids – ‘Rainbow Connection’

Have you got some little scallywags intrigued by music? And perhaps rainbows? You’d better get them along to the APO’s latest concert for pre-schoolers, “Rainbow Connection”.

I’ve been working away at the arrangements and it’s going to be a great show. Here’s what this show is about:

The colours of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky! The Little Rainbow is especially lucky, because he can wear all of them at once. But one sad day the colours disappear and the Little Rainbow just cannot find them anywhere. He asks his friends, the Rainbow Sea Creature troupe and four APO musicians, who each have one colour, to come and help him…

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Recent performances, awards and successes

Here’s an update on happenings over the last little while – mostly other people’s successes that I played a small part in.

It was great to see a recent post on the SOUNZ Facebook page about the recording of Robert Burch’s “Essay to the memory of Dmitri Shostakovich” in Wellington (photo above) by Richard Mapp (piano) and Andrew Joyce (cello). I typeset this back in January for SOUNZ and I can’t wait to hear how it has come together with these two amazing performers.

Back on October 30th was the annual APRA Silver Scroll awards and it was a huge pleasure to have worked on the scores of two of the finalists for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award – “Inner Phases” (for the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra and the NZ String Quartet) by Michael Norris and “Solstice” (recorded by the NZSO) by Leonie Holmes. Congrats to Michael for taking the title! Also, Victoria Kelly well-deservedly won best score for “Field Punishment No.1” – a score I worked on through the night, tucked up in an Auckland hotel – long story.

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Captain McBoyle docks at the APO

image FestusMcBoyle
Captain Festus McBoyle

Ahoy there me hearties!

Back in September I had the great pleasure of orchestrating five songs by Captain Festus McBoyle – the star of this weekend’s four APO4Kids Christmas concerts.

On Wednesday it all came to life as the APO, conductor David Kay and all of the performers rehearsed and ran the show.

The Festus McBoyle tracks are:

  • A Pirate’s Life
  • Bogey Bogey
  • Hoist The Jolly Roger
  • Sonia The Snake
  • Walk The Plank

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The Polkadots and the APO

Polkadots + APO

All aboard. Magic carpets are passing now!

Ah yes, the lines for every Polkadots song still resonate in my head. In fact throughout the concert both my wife and I knew every word. I guess we had heard it hundreds of times at home as I worked on the arrangements.

Last Saturday was the first of the Polkadots “Magic Carpet” shows. It really was something quite special. While I’ve written a lot of arrangements – never a whole show for a pro orchestra with singing, dancing and narration.

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The Polkadots get ready to meet the APO

PolkadotsOver the last few weeks I have been orchestrating and arranging the music of the Polkadots and writing some new material for their show, Magic Carpet Ride, with the Auckland Philharmonia in March.

There are eight pieces in total for my contribution, each varies greatly in style from Caribbean, salsa, lullaby, Maori, ballad, storytelling, blues, and more – making it loads of fun to bring to life with the orchestra.

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