Merry Christmas

christmasAnd just like that, another year is coming to an end. Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me in some way this year - that may have been with work, with ideas or just with conversation.

It has been an incredible time of music making for me with many wonderful opportunities, inspiring people to work with and some stunning ensembles and musicians to bring the music to life. Some of these include:

Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand Symphony, Auckland Symphony, Christchurch Symphony, Auckland Youth Orchestra, St Matthew's Chamber Orchestra, Manukau Concert Band, Victoria Kelly, Neil Finn, NZTrio and Horomona Horo, Tecwyn Evans, Michael Norris, Leonie Holmes, John Rowles, Ben Hoadley, Val Landi and Scott Hunt (USA), Bluebird Avenue, Fatcat & Fishface, Alexandros Pappas (Greece), Sideways Productions, Elizabeth Mandeno and David Kelly, the Polkadots, the KBB Music Festival and The Big Sing.

Next year is going to be a big year and absolutely business as usual so get in touch to get me involved with your projects - either as a music preparer, typesetter or editor, or as an arranger and orchestrator.

Over Christmas and New Year I'll be fishing and eating too much near here, chill-axing and probably still eating too much here, and then tramping and working off the Christmas food here. I'll be back working full-time on Monday 6th January, but feel free to get in touch over the break.

To leave you with some music, earlier this year I received the New Zealand Symphony recording of my original work, Rakaia. Auckland Symphony commissioned it in 2007, the NZSO workshopped it in 2008 and then this is their recording from 2010:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/5080029" params="color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Enjoy, and have an absolutely wonderful Christmas!

Some merry arrangements!

Over the last few weeks my Christmas arrangements have been popping up all over the place. The concert I'm most looking forward to is...

AUCKLAND SYMPHONY CHRISTMAS CONCERT

ASO Christmas

Tonight the Auckland Symphony Orchestra give their hugely popular and FREE Christmas concert at the Auckland Town Hall. The 90-strong orchestra team up with the Choir from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, along with combined Auckland church choirs, in this annual Christmas Celebration under the direction of Peter Thomas.

Each year I orchestrate a selection of the stunning choral arrangements by Niu Syddall and they also include some of my own arrangements.

This year they are:

  • "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day"
  • "Hark the Herald"
  • "Silent Night"
  • "The First Noel"
  • "Who Would Imagine A King?"

The orchestra is also performing my arrangement of Snoopy's Christmas in their Sunday concert in Milford.

Last night's dress rehearsal sounding mightily impressive so get there if you can. Click here to find all of the details, be early, it fills up fast.

AUCKLAND PHILHARMONIA APO4KIDS XMAS

321348-167428-7It was great to see my arrangements of "Little Drummer Boy", "Snoopy's Christmas" and my new "Frosty the Snowman" for solo bass trombone and orchestra got outings at the hugely popular APO4Kids Xmas concerts recently. They performed them at Massey High School on the 24th November and two concerts at the Auckland Town Hall on the 30th.

"Frosty" seemed a particular favourite, thanks to Tim Sutton on bass trombone for his superb efforts, and to my good friend, conductor David Kay.

ARRANGEMENTS TO SWEDEN AND THE UK

This year I shipped a number of Christmas arrangements off around the world. By shipped, of course, I mean whizzing PDF through cyberspace. They were to Stockholm in Sweden:

  • "Joy to the World"
  • "Drummer Boy"
  • "When You Wish Upon a Star" (I agree, not entirely Christmas)

And to the UK:

  • "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"
  • "Lullaby for Christmas Eve"
  • "When You Wish Upon A Star"
CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR SOLO VIOLIN

Each year my violin students get a book of Christmas Carols to play leading up to Christmas. There are thirteen in total, they are easy, bowed and jolly good fun, so feel free to download the PDF below. If you want them for another instrument, let me know and I'm sure my arm could be twisted.

Download it here and have a very Merry Christmas!

Shorts and Suites - a concert of NZ vocal music

Shorts and SuitesLast week I finished my new work for soprano and piano, Papatūānuku - based on a stunning NZ poem by John Waterman. I am hugely blessed to have written it for Elizabeth Mandeno (soprano) and David Kelly (piano). Here are the details...

The Committee would like to invite you to our final concert for the year: 'Shorts and Suites'. This will be an all vocal concert featuring new and recent song cycles (with piano accompaniment) by Auckland composers, plus a selection of vocal microscores. It will take place on Friday 22 November at 7.30pm, and the venue will be the Maclaurin Chapel on Princes St (next door to the ClockTower). With funding from Auckland Council Arts Alive, we have been able to engage some very fine local performers for this concert.

THE WORKS Helen Bowater, A Rough Sea for the Crossing, Claire Scholes (mezzo) Anthony Young, Night swimming, Te Oti Rakena (baritone) David Hamilton, No Other Heaven, Steven Rapana (tenor) Ryan Youens, Papatūānuku, Elizabeth Mandeno (soprano)

Plus a selection of vocal microscores (1 minute works), recently commissioned by The Committee in a 'call for scores'.

THE PERFORMERS Elizabeth Mandeno - soprano Claire Scholes - mezzo Steven Rapana - tenor Te Oti Rakena - baritone David Kelly - piano

THE DETAILS Shorts & Suites Maclaurin Chapel, University of Auckland, 18 Princes St Friday 22 November 2013 at 7.30pm Tickets: $17/$10 on the door only

Listen to Anthony Young from The Committee talk about the concert on Upbeat:

Please invite your friends and and family - the more the merrier!

Preparing for Neil Finn's live webcast

Last Thursday and Friday I prepared Victoria Kelly's stunning arrangements for Neil Finn's upcoming acoustic tour "Neil Finn: An Intimate Night of Dizzy Heights" with shows in London, New York and LA. I first worked on these in February for his "Dizzy Heights" album are they are now re-written for a live 9-piece string section.

Neil, Victoria and the strings did a live webcast from Roundhead Studios featuring four of the songs as a sneak preview. Here's some of the music ready to go:

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If you're interested in checking out the webcast, you can view it here:

Rhian Sheehan Live with Orchestra Wellington

Rhian Sheehan LIVELast year I collaborated with Rhian on several string arrangements for his latest album, Stories from Elsewhere. I am incredibly proud of these arrangements and they still give me goosebumps. Rhian has a live show with Orchestra Wellington tomorrow night and features these arrangements. The show is an amazing visual and sound experience and if you are available I'd highly recommend it!

Watch highlights from his 2011 live show here, listen to one of our arrangements, Nusquam, here or get details about the show here:

http://www.loop.co.nz/events/rhian-sheehan-live-with-orchestra-wellington/

"Sounds Perfect" goes to Austin

I am super proud of my friends at Sideways Productions who are enjoying success with their film, Sounds Perfect, including selection for the Austin Film Festival. Sounds Perfect wins!

  • Official selection, AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2013
  • Official selection, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
  • Official selection, WAIROA MAORI FILM FESTIVAL (NZ) 2013
  • Official selection, imagineNATIVE
  • Winner, best actor, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
  • Winner, best Maori director, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013

Dave Dobson is a self –proclaimed ‘audio enhancement engineer’ in the film industry. The adult film industry. While his uninspiring workmates are happy to churn out the same clichéd slaps and squelches film after film, Dave hears a higher calling.

I did the music - an interesting mix of styles and themes.

It's a hugely enjoyable yet slightly disturbing watch. Not for younger viewers or those with sensitive eyes!

Tweeting from the NZSO NYO

Pondering the @nzsonyo programme!I was very happy to get a twitter message from the NZSO National Youth Orchestra earlier in the week offering me free tickets to last night's concert if I would tweet from it through the night. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity. I'm guessing they chose me as a composer - there was a new New Zealand work on the programme - and they also asked pianist Jason Bae - I'm sure to give insight on piano soloist Lara Melda.

You may be wondering, I wasn't allowed to tweet during the actual concert just before, during the interval and afterwards.

Here are some of my tweets:

Why am I telling you this? Firstly, because it's a great idea and good on the NZSO. Secondly, I want to go to more concerts so go on, give me some free tickets and I'll tweet live.

Super excited. @nzsonyo here we go!

Workshops in Taupo

I was invited down to Taupo to work with the Taupo Concert Band and thought it was a good opportunity to bundle some other activities in too. I went down last week, here's what I got up to: TUESDAY AFTERNOONAwesome composition workshop at Tauhara College in Taupo this morning. They even baked me a cake!!

Presented a workshop for the music students and staff at Tauhara College. It was also great to see the staff from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College there as well.

We went back to basics and explored the six things we need to create a great composition (and get a good mark too!). Loads of ideas, plenty of talent, good fun.

TUESDAY NIGHT

I had a four-hour session with the Taupo Concert Band. They are working towards a big concert so were really keen for an intensive evening! They may be a smallish band but make an incredibly good sound and with some versatile musicians - and the new drummer turning up during the dinner break - it made for a really great evening of music-making. We worked on:

  • "Oregon" by Jacob de Haan
  • "American Overture" by Joseph Willcox Jenkins
  • "Symphonic Dances" from Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock (arr. Hearshen)
  • "Granada" by Agustin Lara (arr. Longfield)

WEDNESDAY MORNINGHad a great four-hour session with the Taupo Concert Band last night. This morning gave two workshops at Reporoa College. Now on my way back home.

I headed up to Reporoa to give two further workshops.

  1. The first was for their gifted music students - we talked about finding your place in the world of music and it was great to be able to share some stories and listen to some music from various projects that I have been involved with.
  2. The second was actually part of their science curriculum - we looked at sound. After working out what it actually is and exploring sound waves, we launched into the fun of playing loads of different instruments, discussing how they make their sound and categorising them.

Here are some pics from the session:

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It was a great two days, hoping to do a similar trip again next year.

 

KBB Music Festival 2013

It was a busy week last week with the KBB Music Festival - the annual school orchestra and band festival. I'm on the committee so it's a busy time of organising, stage managing, watching and listening. On Thursday night it was great to hear the Rangitoto College Concert Band give another performance of my work, "bubble". Nice work guys and thanks for the opportunity to workshop it with you a few weeks earlier.

Here's the inaugural honours orchestra - put together by Peter Thomas, Sally Tibbles and myself - a selection of the finest talent across all participating schools.

KBB music festival honours orchestra

Here's the Auckland Town Hall stage setup for last night's gala concerts.

KBB music festival gala stage setup

Here's some members of my wonderful chamber orchestra with their bronze award.

This time last week the Long Bay College Chamber Orchestra was performing at the KBB Music Festival - here are some of us on Sunday with our bronze award! Awesome!!

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

"Tiraki" steps out into the world

Hamish McKeich applauses A week ago today my new work for organ and orchestra, "Tiraki", was premiered by the Auckland Philharmonia.

It went fantastically well, I was very happy, as was my fantastic organist, Nick Forbes. The overall structure worked, we developed an exciting organ part and the orchestrations were exactly how I envisioned.

Tiraki organist Nick Forbes taking applause

Thanks to everyone who came to the concert or tuned in live on Radio NZ and provided us with such positive comments about the piece.

Congratulations also goes to the wonderful David Hamilton, Anthony Young, Robbie Ellis, Ben Hoadley and Chris Adams for their superb premieres.

Here is an interview from Radio New Zealand's Arts On Sunday programme on 26th May with Hamish McKeich, Kerry Stevens, Nick Forbes and myself talking about the collaboration and concert (recorded before the concert, broadcast after the concert).

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/94380327" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]