Last week I had the pleasure of conducting the premiere of my new work, Rakiura, at the Auckland Town Hall and then at the Bruce Mason Centre. It was tremendously well received and I am thrilled.
I initially posted about this project here, when we were asking for help via Kickstarter to bring the project to life. Well, we got there, and in early October I got to work.
With the music following a movie of images I had a task getting my head into the story, so I printed out the book and spread it out on my floor and it all started to come together.
Here’s the programme note:
“Rakiura” is a story of life on Stewart Island, Rakiura, a remote island at the southern end of New Zealand. The piece was commissioned to accompany a photographic album and exhibition by Keri Moyle and follows the album’s five distinct sections. Warm strings pay tribute to the beauty of the scenery, woodwinds evoke the magnificent birdlife, foreboding brass builds apprehension as humans arrive and make their mark on the land, and then as humans withdraw the land flourishes once again with its harsh yet tranquil beauty.
This year seems to be all about upskilling for me and attending the Australian National Band and Orchestra Clinic in Melbourne from the 12th to 15th of September was a decent part of it.
ANBOC brings together professional development, outstanding performances, and networking of directors. A distinguished collection of international and domestic presenters, conductors, and performers form the core of the conference program.
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…
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.
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
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.
In just over a month’s time the Bay of Plenty Music School will be about to kick off for another year. This is a fantastic weekend of music making and, as it was last year, will be held in beautiful Rotorua.
This year the conductors are Peter Thomas (symphony and string orchestra), David Squire (choir) and myself (wind orchestra).
The Auckland Symphony Orchestra’s famous Night of the Proms concerts are in June and once again you are invited to get involved with the annual outing of the Auckland Symphony Chorus. It is loads of fun, musical director Peter Thomas says:
We have a great programme planned with the choir singing a range of patriotic favourites as well as music from opera and the shows, along with superb soloists, as well as the obligatory flags, balloons, costumes, streamers, fun and loud noises! This promises to be yet another unforgettable performance event.
Christmas is looming and I have been busy doing new orchestral arrangements for two of the many Christmas concerts that will fill December.
Last Saturday the Auckland Philharmonia had their first APO 4 Kids Christmas concert at the Auckland Town Hall which was a great success. It was hosted by Kevin Keys, featured Tim Beveridge and was conducted by David Kay. They performed my arrangements of:
All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth – Don Gardner
Joy To The World – George Frideric Handel
Lullaby for Christmas Eve – Pete King
Snoopy’s Christmas – George David Weiss, Luigi Creatore and Hugo Peretti
The Little Drummer Boy – Henry Onorati, Katherine K. Davis and Harry Simeone