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!

Nelson Composers Workshop 2012

Another Nelson Composers Workshop has come to an end. As always there was a mix of pieces restrained by convention, those off the rails with creative freedom and everything in between. I haven't been since 2006, when I was there as a student, so I was reminded what an inspiring and enjoyable few days it is and how good it is to catch up with composers and performers from around the country.

This year I was lucky enough to be a mentor to two composers, Hannah Bright and James Chih-Lin Tu, who wrote two great pieces. James is studying at Auckland University and Hannah at the NZ School of Music in Wellington - she is also a singer/songwriter, check out her EP here.

Blas Gonzales at the 2012 Nelson Composers Workshop

I also gave a talk during the morning seminars on advanced Sibelius techniques. I know composers of contemporary music can feel limited when using Sibelius to notate their music, so with this talk I introduced some techniques which will hopefully help - like aleatoric writing, creating graphic scores, using colour, contour graphs and woodwind fingerings, and creating custom symbols and noteheads.

During the workshop I made one word summaries of each piece, check them out below:

Grace Carpinter: Calm Glen Downie: Breathy Ben Powell: Suspicious Monique Farry: Unpredictable James Chih-Lin Tu: Diverse

Sudharsan: Relentless Phillipa Ullenberg: Epic Tom Jensen: Intense Xu Tang: Energy

Amos Mann: Exquisite Jun Kagaya: Classic Alex Campbell-Hunt: Fragmented David Taylor: Unique Alex Wolken: Frantic

Blas Gonzales: Moving Louise Webster: Beautiful Hannah Bright: Intriguing Dave Miller: Charming

Callum Blackmore: Colourful Andrew Leathwick: Creapy Andrej Nowicki: Jittery Catherine Sullivan: Dark Xander Perrot: Romantic

Ben Hoadley: Fun Reuben Jelleyman: Awkward Kerian Varaine: Refreshing Alex Taylor: Intriguing

String quartet in action at the 2012 Nelson Composers Workshop

It was such fun I may just have to go back next year, and so should you. Keep an eye out for entry forms appearing here early in 2013.

Masters Portfolio ... (drum roll please) ... FINISHED!!

Hey everyone. Well yesterday I sent off my master portfolio down to Wellington. All 56minutes and 147pages of music. The last week was a mad scramble, partly because I thought I had an extra month, but by the time I sent it off it looked really good. Had some FANTASTIC recordings on the CD and overall was really pleased. I'll get some of these recordings on to my audio player and MySpace soon. So what now?? Good question! Have got lots of jobs and things to be doing over the next two weeks such as making my new website, musicpreparationservices.com, and doing a report for Creative New Zealand for some funding I got a while ago. After that ... not sure. It's time to reevaluate things I think! Bye for now.

Masters deadline closing in ... and other bits!

Hey everyone, well if you've wondered where on earth I have got to over the last few weeks, I've entered turbo drive and have been working day and night on my Masters portfolio. I am SOO looking forward to getting it in. I'm just finishing off an orchestral piece "Ardor" and just have one other piece to finish. Still lots to do but everything seems to be on track. By the way I got two more recordings of my pieces lately, so I'll post them in the new player on the homepage and on MySpace. Haven't even had a chance to listen to them yet but will do soon.

What else have I been up to? Good question ... been working with my orchestra  - they are starting to sound really good, we have a two-day workshop in a few weeks which will be great. Am playing in an Oratorio (see the next post) and have been rehearsing with Auckland Symphony who are off to china in two weeks. Anyway must get back to work.

NZSM Composers Competition 2006

Well last night was this years NZSM Composers Competition Concert. It was ... very interesting. I suppose I should start with my piece "No Ordinary Sun" - it was fantastic (of course I'd say that though). It was an extremely hard piece to put together for the performers, and it sounded great considering the amount of time that we had to put it together in. So they did extremely well. It was performed by far the best it ever has been, so I really couldn't have asked for more. I think the complexity of the piece really paid off in portraying its nature and creating quite a unique sound world which I was pleased about. Had tonnes of great comments and feedback from various people afterwards, especially about the colours and stylistic elements of the piece, as well as the effectiveness of the percussion writing, so overall it was a good night. Anyway perhaps I shouldn't say anything about the rest of the concert, except that Alexandra Hay's piece was absolutely fantastic, I loved it, and it was the very well deserved and clear winner.

A wee update on my music

I thought I should sum up what's happening musically at the moment. Well... I've got the NZSO workshops next week which should be great. My piece "Unspoken Monologue" is being workshopped and recorded which I am REALLY looking forward to. Last years piece of mine that was in it was 'nice', this years piece is fantastic. So I can't wait to hear what they do with it.

Then after that "NO Ordinary Sun" is in the NZSM Composition Competition finals concert on 15th September. It WILL be great. Am having an absolute battle getting all the players for it ... especially a tenor. But SLOWELY its coming together (though fingers are still crossed).

Finally "Insight" is being premiered by 'The New Aesthetic' - the NZSM Graduate Quartet. This piece is great, I was trying out a heap of new things, so I guess I will find out if they worked. lol It will be a great concert though. Details on any of these concerts can be found here.

At the moment I'm working on "Mei Spero" for nine instruments (including a heap of percussion) and have ripped to bits (not literally) "Through my eyes, I see" which was workshopped at the Nelson workshop and I'm gradually building it up again and it is AWESOME!! It's going really well. Aside these things for my masters work, I'm revising my wedding suite for piano which is getting recorded soon. It's a really awesome piece of music. I've been contemplating the role it actually plays in the service - part of the reason I'm revising it. I definitely haven't got an outcome.