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!

Music school magic!

BOPMusicSchool I am just back from working with the concert band at another superb Bay of Plenty Music School. What a great weekend - there is something so great about gathering at the beginning of a weekend, meeting new people, working hard and presenting a wonderful concert together on Sunday before returning for another week of the real world.

I had a really fantastic group this year including a solid contingent from Auckland University which gave great depth to our woodwinds in particular. We ditched the easier pieces and launched into the challenging repertoire and with fine results - our set at the concert was so tight and I think the most technically advanced and polished performance since I've been conducting the group.

Our concert set was:

  • Stalter – Ignition
  • Shostakovich – Folk Dances
  • Berlin – Alexander’s Ragtime Band
  • Kahelin – Clown Act

BOPMusicSchool

There was also some wonderful results in the orchestra (David Adlam) and choir (Peter Watts), as well as some impressive combined performances - which I was most happy to hand the baton on for this year and feature only in the percussion section!

The combined works were:

  • Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture
  • Mozart - Requiem (excerpts)
  • Copland - Hoedown
  • Brahms - Symphony No.3

Congrats to the Taupo organising committee for a very fine job, thanks to all the players for your efforts and I hope to see you all again next year!

Bay of Plenty Music School hits Taupo

I'm super excited about the Bay of Plenty Music School this year as it hits the shores of Lake Taupo. This year will be the 45th year of its existence making it the largest surviving music school in New Zealand which is fantastic.

I am conducting the concert band once again and our repertoire includes:

  • Stalter - Ignition
  • Shostakovich - Folk Dances for Concert Band
  • Whitacre - Seal Lullaby
  • Williams - Theme from ET
  • Kahelin - Clown Act
  • Berlin - Alexander's Ragtime Band

Some really great pieces which I look forward to putting together with everyone.

It's going to be great to get back to Taupo - one of my favourite places. In 2010 I worked with six of the school and community groups to create Moana Ataahua for the ERUPT Lake Taupo Festival (read more) - a project made possible by the SOUNZ Community Commission. I've been back several times since giving workshops (read more).

My two fellow conductors are David Adlam (orchestra) and Peter Watts (choir) and I know they have some wonderful repertoire to share with their groups.

It's on the 25th-27th of April and will be held at Taupo-nui-a-Tia College and the Anglican Church of St Andrew. If you're interested in attending visit the music school website for all of the information and registration details.

See you there!