‘Rakiura’ premieres in Auckland

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.

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Rakiura album images on my floor

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.

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ANBOC conference 2014, Melbourne

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.

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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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Plenty of music for Music Month

Evidence of the fun we had at band camp!

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.

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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…

ASO Christmas
Last night’s dress rehearsal!

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.

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Bay of Plenty Music School 2013

the_wizard_of_ozIn 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 wind orchestra pieces will include:

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Stretch your vocal chords with Auckland Symphony!

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A photo from the 2012 Proms concert

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.

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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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Little pieces of Christmas

Christmas is looming and I have been busy doing new orchestral arrangements for two of the many Christmas concerts that will fill December.

christmas-musicLast 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
  • When You Wish Upon A Star – Ned Washington

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