Help to kickstart Rakiura

Rakiura photo 1 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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Soon after, in February, I got an email from Keri at Signs of Life Photography with an idea... a very cool idea. She spent three weeks as a photographer for the Department of Conservation on Stewart Island taking photos! The best of these have developed into a stunning album called Rakiura: Seeds in the Sand and to release it Keri is combining this beautiful photography with a Kiwi composer (that's me) and a real-life, full-size symphony orchestra. How? By commissioning a brand new piece to be performed by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra as part of their October 26th (Auckland Town Hall) and November 2nd (Bruce Mason Centre) concerts which are also the two launch events for the album. Peter Thomas is at the helm of the concerts and was pivotal in getting me involved with the project.

Check out the video here:

What I really love about this book is that it isn't just photography - there is a story that binds everything together. Keri says:

Tide in...

"It’s a story of the tenacity of life, of design and purpose, of the importance of perspective, and of pain and decay. But over and over, again and again, it’s a story of hope. We see the processes of repentance and repair in the conservation activities, and finally from the land itself, from the life that is inherent within it, we see renewal."

...tide out.

So, a great story and a great project. BUT, we need your help! There is a lot of money involved with producing this high-end product, commissioning a new piece and of course working with a symphony orchestra.

VISIT HERE to read the entire story and to see how you can help our Kickstarter campaign so that the final costs can be met so this fantastic project can come to life.

Thank you in advance, you are all wonderful!

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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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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!

Playing my role in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

In what is a massively important and no doubt successful film for New Zealand, I am delighted to have a small part in creating its musical soundtrack. The-Hobbit1Howard Shore has composed a stunning 105-minute soundtrack for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and there is a New Zealand flavour too with a stunning song by Neil Finn, Plan 9 and David Long, "Song of the Lonely Mountain". Victoria Kelly did the orchestral arrangement and I was very honoured to prepare the music for recording at London's Abbey Road Studios.

In an epic night I received a Logic Pro session and out the other end, via Sibelius, came score and parts transcribed, typeset, edited, proofread and ready to be recorded in London a few hours later by the London Metropolitan Orchestra.

The soundtrack is released on December 11th, visit here to get a sneak peak and a preview of the song. You may have also heard a rendition of it on the red carpet before yesterday's world premiere.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in cinemas on December 3rd, go see it.

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!

Kicking off the Rugby World Cup 2011

The biggest sporting event to ever hit New Zealand is this year's Rugby World Cup. It has been a massive success and we eagerly await the final tonight between New Zealand and France. The opening night was an amazing showcase of New Zealand and I was super proud to be involved.

Victoria Kelly was the musical director for the opening ceremony and invited me to do the copying work for all of the new music. She was writing in Logic and sent the sessions to me (via Gobbler, I LOVE Gobbler) to bring through to Sibelius where I prepared the scores and parts - tidying notation, adding articulation, dynamics and everything needed to make beautifully clear music. In three days I made:

  • 39 scores
  • 116 instrumental parts
  • 525 copies of those parts ready for the players and conductor
Here is everything on my floor, proofread and re-proofread, sorted and re-sorted, and ready to be packed up.

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I then went to the recording sessions at York Street Studios and made sure there were parts on the stands for the beginning of each session with the Auckland Philharmonia.

What a joy!!

A concert of New Zealand wind music

I will be conducting a concert of New Zealand wind music with the Auckland Wind Orchestra on 18th October 2009. This will be a wonderful event as we present some of the finest New Zealand works for wind orchestra. The programme will include music by Yvette Audain, Matthew Crawford, David Woodcock, Philip Norman, Christopher Marshall and myself. Further details will follow.