‘Rakiura’ premieres in Auckland

Last week I had the pleasure of conducting the premiere of my new work, Rakiura, at the Auckland Town Hall and then at the Bruce Mason Centre. It was tremendously well received and I am thrilled.

I initially posted about this project here, when we were asking for help via Kickstarter to bring the project to life. Well, we got there, and in early October I got to work.

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Rakiura album images on my floor

With the music following a movie of images I had a task getting my head into the story, so I printed out the book and spread it out on my floor and it all started to come together.

Here’s the programme note:

“Rakiura” is a story of life on Stewart Island, Rakiura, a remote island at the southern end of New Zealand. The piece was commissioned to accompany a photographic album and exhibition by Keri Moyle and follows the album’s five distinct sections. Warm strings pay tribute to the beauty of the scenery, woodwinds evoke the magnificent birdlife, foreboding brass builds apprehension as humans arrive and make their mark on the land, and then as humans withdraw the land flourishes once again with its harsh yet tranquil beauty.

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Help to kickstart Rakiura

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My exquisite wife Wendy and I walked the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island over New Year. It was absolutely amazing – the scenery and wildlife was breathtaking. A highlight was when a Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (Tokoeka) walked across the track in front of us in the middle of the afternoon – it was beyond amazing. I stored these memories away and didn’t expect much would come of them…

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Plenty of music for Music Month

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Evidence of the fun we had at band camp!

Well it’s the last day of NZ Music Month, so that’s a good excuse to post about a few projects I’ve been working on lately. I’ve been a bit quiet online in recent months so here’s a good chance to make up for that.

Picture This! is a new work I’ve written for the Long Bay College Concert Band. They won gold at the KBB Music Festival last year so a new work had to take shape! I spent last weekend with them at their rehearsal camp and had loads of fun. Look out for Picture This! at this year’s festival.

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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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Stretch your vocal chords with Auckland Symphony!

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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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I survived 2012. This is how it was!

The New Year means it’s time to have a look back over the past year and see, through my blog posts, what has taken shape and what I have to say for myself!

January started with a very well deserved “Shout-out to VaultPress” after they marvellously got my website back up and running after a meltdown!

3100508059_5c99a0f9e1_zFebruary is the start of the school term and I posted about the preparation work I do for schools.

My typing fingers must have been tired at the end of March – it started with two popular posts, iOS apps for music professionals and Digital music stands vs iPads, following on from, again, two very popular posts I did in 2010.

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Working on workshops

It has been an enjoyable start to the year presenting some workshops around Auckland.

“Sibelius in education” – professional development day

On Friday 24th February I had the first session at a professional development day for secondary music teachers. We looked at how to use Sibelius effectively in education and checked out all of the features that are going to help both them and students use the program to its potential. The next two sessions were by Philip Norman, looking at the life and music of Douglas Lilburn and a session on composition titled “Composition can’t be taught… but techniques to help it on its way can”.

"Sibelius In Education" seminar at Hotel Barrycourt 1 "Sibelius In Education" seminar at Hotel Barrycourt 2
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2011 through the eyes of a blog

And just like that, another year is gone! Here is a look at my posts for the year.

thinking web picThe blogging year started in March with my favourite book arriving, “Behind Bars”, which I preordered in 2010. It is definitely the most used book on my shelf! I then talked about two approaching projects:

In April I introduced my new work, “blimp”, and reviewed two projects – a song I helped a friend create and my work at the BOP music school: Continue reading “2011 through the eyes of a blog”

“blimp” lands in Auckland

My new work for orchestra, “blimp”, finally landed in Auckland on the 1st of May – premiered by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra at the Auckland Town Hall. It is a short work commissioned by the orchestra and their conductor Peter Thomas. It received a second performance on the 8th of May at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. This was followed by its inclusion in their “Proms” concerts on the 18th and 19th of June. A great first month and a half for a new work!

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The orchestra during soundcheck before the premiere. Photo by Keri Moyle (www.signsoflife.co.nz).

“Blimp [noun] a small, non-rigid airship or dirigible, especially one used chiefly for observation.”

The idea I tried to portray is that for me I think of blimps as being slightly odd, awkward to get off the ground and driven by men who are a little loopy; but, once in the air, they jauntily go about their purpose.

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The brass during soundcheck before the premiere. Photo by Keri Moyle (www.signsoflife.co.nz).

I was extremely happy with the performance, the orchestra did a wonderful job and loved playing it. It was also great to get such positive feedback from the audience after all four concerts.

Watch the live performance from 8th May here:

Or listen to a good audio recording here:

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The orchestra and Auckland Town Hall during soundcheck before the premiere. Photo by Keri Moyle (www.signsoflife.co.nz).