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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A festival, a premiere, an award

My annual pilgrimage to the KBB Music Festival was a little more exciting this year.

Firstly, a new premiere!

Grammar Virtuosi, from Auckland Grammar School, commissioned me to write a new work for strings and percussion this year to mark the anniversary of when Grammar men went to the battle of Passchendaele in the first world war. It’s called Foray.

“foray: a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory”

It’s been great popping along to some of their rehearsals and working with them on the piece, once such occasional pictured above. Huge thanks to their director, James Donaldson, and tutor, Boris Kipnis, for their tremendous support of the piece. Continue reading “A festival, a premiere, an award”

Partaking in the greatest act of optimism

Good news! I have a couple of spots available for private music tuition – more details at the bottom.


“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” – Colleen Wilcox

I’m a sucker for a good quote and this one made me smile. As anyone who has taught will know, you’ve always got to be tremendously optimistic about the potential your students can achieve. And… it’s always great when it pays off.

Every week I try to keep it real by teaching/tutoring/mentoring around town. It’s always a mixed assortment of opportunities, over the last few months it’s looked like this:

Teaching at UNITEC.MAINZ, Central Auckland – I give an annual lecture on string arranging. This is really enjoyable as I get to share some of the arrangements I’ve worked on, and the students love analysing them and seeing what techniques they can use in their own work. This year the class seemed to have doubled in size, so that’s a great sign for them. Continue reading “Partaking in the greatest act of optimism”

Shoes Extravaganza 2016

DJ? Ringmaster? Curator of sound? Find out next Saturday, 8:30pm, Tepid Baths. #shoesextravaganzaSome friends of mine have just put on a most fascinating show at Auckland’s Tepid Baths, Shoes Extravaganza.

Everyone will no doubt have heard of the Wearable Arts show in Wellington. Well this is that, but for shoes. Annie Tatton is the brains behind the operation and she asked me to be involved with the music after hearing my work with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.

The concept of the music within the show took so many directions throughout the journey with Annie and choreographer Nansi Thompson. What a joy to be a part of these minds coming together as they crafted their vision.

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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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‘The Forest Room’ reaches Auckland finals

The 48Hours film-making weekend is always one to look forward to and this year we struck ‘mystery’ as our genre – good fun. Compared to previous years, the team was cut to only four crew and rightfully so one of those was a composer!

This year we managed to make the Auckland finals and the guys picked up an award for best editing. Yay.

The film has very little dialogue and so I managed to create a single piece of music to last the whole film. Here’s how it was looking in Logic:

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Appalachian Octet wins best performance of a NZ work

Appalachian Octet
Appalachian Octet in performance at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre.

I am so proud of the Appalachian Octet from Diocesan School for Girls who has just won the National Award for the Best Performance of a New Zealand Work at the 2014 NZCT Chamber Music Contest with my piece Kiwi in Appalachia.

The musicians are: Continue reading “Appalachian Octet wins best performance of a NZ work”

Some merry arrangements!

Over the last few weeks my Christmas arrangements have been popping up all over the place. The concert I’m most looking forward to is…

AUCKLAND SYMPHONY CHRISTMAS CONCERT
ASO Christmas
Last night’s dress rehearsal!

Tonight the Auckland Symphony Orchestra give their hugely popular and FREE Christmas concert at the Auckland Town Hall. The 90-strong orchestra team up with the Choir from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, along with combined Auckland church choirs, in this annual Christmas Celebration under the direction of Peter Thomas.

Each year I orchestrate a selection of the stunning choral arrangements by Niu Syddall and they also include some of my own arrangements.

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Stretch your vocal chords with Auckland Symphony!

ASO Night of the Proms 2012 2
A photo from the 2012 Proms concert

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra’s famous Night of the Proms concerts are in June and once again you are invited to get involved with the annual outing of the Auckland Symphony Chorus. It is loads of fun, musical director Peter Thomas says:

We have a great programme planned with the choir singing a range of patriotic favourites as well as music from opera and the shows, along with superb soloists, as well as the obligatory flags, balloons, costumes, streamers, fun and loud noises! This promises to be yet another unforgettable performance event.

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