Plenty of music for Music Month

LBCConcertBandCAMP 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.

My friends at Diocesan School for Girls have commissioned two new works for their groups:

I ask of you no poetry is for their award-winning elite choir, St Cecelia Singers, and is written for SSA choir, handbells and organ (with text by Madeleine Ballard). Kiwi in Appalachia is for their chamber ensemble consisting of flute, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 violins, viola and piano (cello part also available). It's a standalone piece but for this group was written to be used in conjunction with my arrangement of Copland's Appalachian Spring. I'm hoping to get along to see some rehearsals soon and will post some performance dates when available.

SMCOUnwrapped1

I have also just written Unwrapped for the St Matthew's Chamber Orchestra which was premiered last Sunday. I've written about it here, check it out.

Back in April was the 48Hour Film Festival and although we didn't get far this year with our film, On The Rocks, it was great to work with the guys from Sideways Productions once again. The music turned out nicely (finally, I got to use almost all strings!) and I later arranged it into a one movement work - listen here:

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Another film by these guys that I did the music for, Sounds Perfect, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival during May - I posted about it here, check it out.

ASO PromsIn conducting news I had a great weekend down at the Bay of Plenty Music School working with the concert band. I was so happy with the standard they reached - read about my weekend here. I'm also currently working with the Auckland Symphony Chorus - preparing them for the Auckland Symphony Orchestra's hugely popular "Night of the Proms" concerts at the end of June. Great to have "Song of the Lonely Mountain" as part of the programme - a song I did the preparation of for "The Hobbit" movie two years ago.

That's all for now. A few other projects on the go, but I'll save those for a future post!

"Broken Record" film

Broken Record Screen Shot 1 Morgan's best man tries to help him fulfill his destiny on his last day of freedom.

I always look forward to the Rialto 48Hour Film Competition and the chance to work with the guys at Sideways Productions.

After getting through the ongoing nightmare that we may be tasked with a 'musical' - I was relieved that the team got given 'film within a film' as the genre.

They did a really great job and ended up getting the audience choice award at the heats -  but unfortunately no further successes this year.

I had fun exploring an assortment of VSL strings, a shaker or two and a "tweed picked synth" for good measure.

Here's how the music looked at my end:

Broken Record Music

I arranged the 14-or-so cues from the soundtrack into a single piece of music which you can listen to here:

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And here's the film. WARNING: it's not for the faint-hearted...:

Starring:

  • Greg Stubbings as Morgan Foster
  • James Wells as Jeff Tyler
  • Christina Cortesi as Park Manager
  • Andy Nicholson as Frank Waldo
  • Jonathan Riley as Gary Mooney
  • Edward Newborn as Terry Bean
  • Astra McLaren as Lauren Bean
  • Gracie Taylor as Bridesmaid

Crew:

  • Directors: Allan George and Greg Stubbings
  • Writers: Allan George, Greg Stubbings and Ben Fowler
  • Producers: Ben Fowler and Allan George
  • DOP: Allan George
  • 1st Assistant Director: Aleksander Sakowski
  • Production Manager: Maha Albadrawi
  • Camera Operator/Grip/Gaffer: Ben O'Hanlon
  • Art Direction: Maha Albadrawi and Marcel Vidot
  • Boom Operator: Craig Macintosh
  • Lighting Assistant: Isaiah Vaega
  • 2nd Unit Camera Operator: Nate McKinnon
  • Make Up: Kerri Thomassen
  • Editors: Ben Fowler and Allan George
  • Colourist: Allan George
  • Audio Post-Production: Adam Peri
  • Music: Ryan Youens

Fusing music!

FusionThe premise for this year's 48 Hour Film Festival film:

"One man's dream to fuse a nation... is shattered."

It was my third year with the Sideways Productions team and I think it may have been our best yet! It's called, "Fusion".

We got crime as a genre and although it may be a half-hearted attempt at the genre, it is a great watch so check it out below.

More importantly(!), if you're interested in the music, here are the tracks on their own, in all of their glory:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6467368" params="" width=" 100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

And here's the film:

DIRECTORS: Ben Fowler, Allan George PRODUCERS: Ben Fowler, Allan George WRITERS: Ben Fowler, Allan George ACTORS: Omar Al-Sobky, Jonathan Riley, Andy Nicholson, Edward Newborn, Shoshana McCallum, Christina Cortesi, Isaiah Vaega, Jonathan Potton, Ketan Nathoo EDITORS: Ben Fowler, Allan George, Larissa Soares SOUND: Craig Macintosh, Adam Peri MUSIC: Ryan Youens CINEMATOGRAPHY: Allan George

A project for NZ Music Month...

In 2011 I celebrated NZ Music Month in style by writing 31 microscores in 31 days. It was a huge success, they all got recorded, are hugely popular and I use them almost weekly when talking to students about composition and instrumentation. In 2012, while I was involved in many Music Month events, I didn't have a music composition project and I was pretty disappointed about it.

So in 2013, it's back!

NZ-Music-Month1

What I like about this project is that usually all of my time is spent on other people's music - an absolute joy and honour - but it means I never get any time for my own composition. So NZ Music Month is a great annual opportunity to make sure that I work on my own music and have something worthwhile to show at the end of it.

I have debated for some time exactly what I would do this year - more daily microscores, weekly ensemble pieces, fortnightly larger pieces - or perhaps something slightly different.

I'll go for something slightly different.

For a long time, years in fact, I have wanted an online store to sell my own music - easily and automatically. Aside from works for professionals, I have a lot for students, community and school ensembles - and there is a great market for this. Sure, people can already buy it - through SOUNZ and by emailing me - but that doesn't quite cut it. People should be able to search on the internet, find a piece, discover and experience it, buy it, download it, play it. And I don't want to just export or print a version from the latest Sibelius file, I want to have properly published music - finalised, stylised, done, dusted, complete.

Initially, I thought I would finish a collection of piano music to sell - editing the current four pieces I had and writing four new ones - but I decided that I was still avoiding the most important step of all - to get this online store of music up and running and full of the music that I already have. So, now it's going to happen.

By May 31, my birthday and the final day of NZ Music Month, people from all around the world will be able to buy my published music easily and automatically from this site.

Here are the main things I will need to consider:

  1. What to publish
  2. Editing and publishing
  3. Selling method, charges, etc
  4. Cataloging
  5. Promotion and launch

It's going to be a big month - I've got an Auckland Philharmonia premiere, Auckland Symphony rehearsals, the 48 Hour Film festival, 10 days in Australia, a trip to Hawke's Bay, plenty of music prep, arranging and teaching commitments, and my 30th birthday!

It'll be a big month, but I'm really excited and I look forward to writing several posts along the way - addressing the points above and no doubt discussing the setbacks and triumphs. Stay tuned.

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.

2012-05-15 APO Open Days 236

Following that were four posts on current projects - "Working on workshops" looked at some teaching workshops I was involved with, "An opportunity to make the floor rumble" talked about my upcoming new work for the Auckland Philharmonia and the Auckland Town Hall Organ. I conducted at the Bay Of Plenty Music School once again and my post, "Bay Of Plenty music school hit Rotorua!", pre-empted my visit there, and finally "Opening up an orchestra" reviewed the first two Auckland Philharmonia Open Days were I ran the "meet the composer" area.

In April I reviewed my time at the Bay Of Plenty Music School in "Making music in Rotorua" and posted photos in "Checking out the pipes" after an inspiring tour of the Auckland Town Hall Organ.

My Confession image May is music month and "A month of New Zealand music" checked out the events me or my music was involved with. It's also 48 Hour Film Festival time and our film this year was "My Confession…".

In June I talked about my involvement with Auckland Symphony's "Night Of The Proms" concerts in "Promenading in the colony" and I posted "Questions for a composer" after answering questions for a student's school assignment.

In July I posted my one word review of each piece from the "Nelson Composers Workshop 2012" where I was very happy to go this year as a mentor.

APO "Tiraki" workshopAugust is KBB Music Festival time and I also posted on the ongoing saga regarding the future of Sibelius in "What the heck is happening with Sibelius!". My piece, Tiraki, started to take shape after another workshop with the Auckland Philharmonia.

September was rather dormant on the blog front but in October I reviewed “What Lurks Among Saints” after being invited by a student I met earlier in the year.

The-Hobbit1In November I had the privilege of "Playing my role in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", and I posted about the experience.

December was busy with a number of projects. In "Little pieces of Christmas" I talked about a bunch of Christmas arrangements I did for the Auckland Philharmonia and Auckland Symphony orchestras. I also talked about a film I was involved with, called "Sounds Perfect" and its selection into the Tropfest final in “Sounds Perfect” to be in a final". I then prepared music for some very fine New Zealand singers and talked about it in "Preparing for some legends!".

christmas-musicFinally, no year is complete without a "Merry Christmas" post thanking you for all of your support during the year and the compliments of the season.

Another year ticked off the list, another year doing my absolute dream job - let's get ready for an even better 2013!

My Confession...

My Confession image...is an erotic thriller written and produced by Allan George and Ben Fowler from Sideways Productions as part of this year's V48Hours. I did their music as I did last year for their film "Goodbye Gilbert". Being a thriller there are plenty of strings, a Wurlitzer electric piano and a little percussion - simple but effective.

The film is beautifully shot - last year they were a nominee for "Best Cinematography" and won the award for "Sexiest Short" - and this year the audio post production took a big step forward.

Watch the film below, caution: it contains adult themes.

You can just have a listen to the four main music tracks here:

The rest of the team was Director: Ben Fowler Director of Photography: Allan George Writers: Allan George and Ben Fowler Producers: Ben Fowler and Allan George Art Director: Maha Albadrawi Art Director Assistant/Runner: Marcel Vidot Grip/Gaffer: Isaiah Vaega Camera Assistant: Fergus Candy Boom Operator/Grip: Bruce Ashton Make Up: Alex Jones, Evie Gunn, and Kerri Thomassen Editors: Ben Fowler and Allan George Assistant Editor: Isabeau Woodson Colourist: Allan George Audio Post-Production: Adam Peri

A month of New Zealand music

NZ-Music-Month1New Zealand Music Month is here again. Make sure you get out and enjoy some New Zealand Music - well, more than usual, I hope! You may remember for last year's Music Month I wrote 31 microscores in 31 days. It was a huge success and loads of fun. Check out this post to read about the project or listen to the microscores.

This year I don't quite have a project like that ready to go, but here are some events that my music is involved with this Music Month:

3rd May: William Green performs This Day this Thursday

As part of Auckland Central Library's FREE Thursday lunchtime concert series, William is playing my piece, This Day, as part of his "NZ piano music of the 2000s" concert.

Thursday 3rd May, 12:10pm until 1pm. Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street - don't be late, my piece opens the concert. Click here for the lunchtime concert series brochure.

9th May: Auckland Philharmonia Tiraki read-through

The Auckland Philharmonia reads through the first drafts of my piece, Tiraki, written for the orchestra and the Auckland Town Hall organ. You may like to check out my post on the project or my photos from a recent tour of the organ.

18th - 20th May: Making music for V48 Hours

I will be working again with Sideways Productions, making music for their production. You may like to see my post from last year's film.

31st May: Hook Line and Sing-along

Every year the NZ Music Commission runs a competition for school students to write a song for Music Month. The song is sung by schools across New Zealand at 12pm on the last day of Music Month. The idea is to get as many people singing together as possible - for fun and to focus on the fundamental pleasures of life, music, and the importance of music education.

This year the song is 21 Degrees by Bruce Taiapa. I typeset the lead sheet and created an arrangement for a variety of instruments so instrumentalists can play along with the track as well.

Download everything you need here.

Have a good month.

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:

May was a busy month, so in June I talked about what I had been up to - writing 31 microscores and the premiere of "blimp":

In July I posted the video I worked on with Sideways Productions:

In August and September I covered my involvement in the KBB Music Festival and some composition tutorials that I held in Kerikeri:

October was the kick off of the Rugby World Cup here in New Zealand, I talked about my involvement in the opening ceremony and also made a post about what exactly I do when "preparing music" and why you would need someone like me to do it:

December means Christmas and I posted some Christmas carols that I prepared for my students. I also composed a new "holiday" piece for my Christmas post:

Happy New Year everyone, bring on 2012!

48 hours to say "Goodbye Gilbert"

On the 21st and 22nd of May was the 2011 48 Hours Film Festival. This year I was on board with Sideways Productions and masterminds Allan George and Ben Fowler. They approached me to work with them last year, but I couldn't due to other commitments, so it was great to finally get things rolling with them. The genre we got was revenge movie, and Allan and Ben put together a good script. I packed up some gear and followed them around their two main locations, fine-tuning initial draft ideas as the structure and feel of the film came to life.

48 Hour Film Festival

I was reasonably happy with the result, loved the feel of the music, but not so much the final edit of it in the film. Have a listen to a few of the tracks below:

Or check out the movie here:

Although initially gutted not to get through, the team were then awarded the "Sexiest Images & Sound" award for Auckland and therefore nominated for that award at the nationals. Well done guys.

The team was Director: Ben Fowler Producer: Allan George, Ben Fowler Writer: Allan George, Ben Fowler Actors: Andy Nicholson, Yulie Great, Gwendoline Taylor Editor: Ben Fowler, Manuel Castelltort Sound / Music: Ryan Youens Cinematography: Allan George