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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Scores for Modern Maori Quartet with NZSO

Music scores. #notation #copyistIt’s not often you score a nationwide tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, but that’s just what the Modern Maori Quartet have done and they’re going all out commissioning arrangements from several fantastic New Zealand composers: Claire Cowan, Chris Gendall, Anonymouz, Gareth Farr, Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper, Robbie Ellis and Mark Dennison,

I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing five of these new arrangements – those by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Anonymouz, along with some additional orchestration.

They’re touring to 12 centres in February and March. It will be impressive, get a ticket here.

A week in LA and London

I would never give up an opportunity to travel. So when it looked like I could take a week to make it to London (to meet my wife before our Spanish adventure…!), I went for it.

First stop, Los Angeles. There I met with some very fine people in the music biz that until now I’ve never been able to meet in person. The aim of course to keep strong connections and talk possible future work.

There’s things to love about LA, and things to drive you completely loopy, but what you gotta admire is the vibe that anything is possible. Most people are there to make their dreams come true, not surprisingly mostly as actors, but what’s awesome is that there is so much opportunity for that to happen. And for the bulk of whom are still waiting, they’re still friendly, still optimistic and still driving Ubers – and they’re okay with that.

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Preparing for Mahana

Mahana posterI had the great pleasure of working on the Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Tama Waipara score for Mahana – a new feature film opening in cinemas on March 3. It’s directed by Lee Tamahori and based on the Bulibasha book by Witi Ihimaera. The best place to read more about it is probably the movie Facebook page, so check that out.

I was doing the music preparation, some orchestration and also flew to Wellington for the main day of recording to ensure everything worked a treat.

The score is really stunning, has a unique New Zealand flavour and it’s so great to see new voices coming through in New Zealand film scoring. It was my first time working with Mahuia and I definitely hope not the last.

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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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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…

GETTING UNDERWAY

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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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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Film score and Brazil

Ok well I’m working on this film score at the moment, orchestrating it and a bit of arranging. Lol it is very … interesting. I’ve seen different scenes, heard stuff from the composer and seen the teaser website (www.chickencargo.com) – and after all of that I’m completely confused other than knowing it’s a sci-fi comedy. lol Anyway it’s going great and deadline now is January 2008 so things are going to step up a bit. Stay tuned.

 I’ve just confirmed the premiere of “Mei Speroâ€? in Brazil early next year by the Sphera Ensemble. A specific date and venue is still being finalised but it should be a fantastic event. I’m adjusting the instrumentation slightly to suit the ensemble a little better. The original instrumentation of cor anglais, clarinet, horn, trombone, percussion, harp, viola, cello and double bass will now include some violins. Anyway, will post more details as soon as they are available.

GOSH … here’s what’s happening!!

Okay so over the last two months have had so much work coming in, I haven’t had a chance to post any blogs or in fact to much else at all. So what have I been doing?

Rakaia is a new piece I just finished last week for the Auckland Symphony Orchestra. It is for their “Rivers” concerts in August. For the dates and venues check out the news. The Rakaia river heads east from the Southern Alps here in New Zealand and reaches the sea just south of Christchurch. Thanks to my friend Wikipedia you can check out more details here. Anyway it was an interesting piece to write as the orchestra’s audience is not my usual type of audience. But anyway I ran through it all with the conductor Gary Daverne and he is happy so that’s good. Rehearsals start Monday night so will keep you posted. If you’re in Auckland on the concert dates, come along and I’d be so keen to get your post concert thoughts.

Chicken Cargo is an independent film based in Chicago. Scott Hunt is composing the score and I am orchestrating. The film is kind of a sci-fi comedy and the bits I’ve been seeing are quite good. We’re just finishing the opening scene at the moment and the whole “living on the other side of the world” thing is proving no problem at all. Anyway this is a long term project (film released mid ’08) and so will I’m sure be posting regular updates on how everything is going.

North Shore Junior Orchestra is a second orchestra I have picked up. It is a junior orchestra and so will be heaps of fun. Have got our programme all sorted and am about to do a mailout which will kick us off for term 3. I’ve just updated their website here.

Have also had a heap of engraving work which isn’t too strenuous but is time consuming. So its good to have work flocking in, and with very little sleep I’m managing to get through it all. Woohoo.