The Mid-30s Guide to the Orchestra

I have a concert coming up. It’s quite a special concert. It’s me performing my comedy songs with a symphony orchestra on Sunday November 24, and I’m calling it The Mid-30s Guide to the Orchestra.

The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago and their music director Mina Zikri have given me this extraordinary opportunity. I’m the composer, lyricist, arranger, host, singer, pianist, bass guitarist, and very occasionally conductor and ukuleleist ukulelist string-strummer.

You’ll hear songs from my album Pumpkins with technicolor sound: “Symphony No 1 in Eb”, the “Root Vegetable Opera”, “Book Club”, and “Love is a Four-Letter Word” are all in there. read more

Read more

New album. (Not mine. (Yet.))

Hello world, here’s an update.

After an emotionally turbulent yet ultimately successful crowdfunding campaign, and a packed seven-week trip to Australia and New Zealand; my album is recorded. Not yet edited or mixed or mastered or promoted, but at least recorded.

In the meantime, there is an album already out with a piece of mine on it.

Available on Rattle Records.

The Jade String Quartet is made up of players from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Their debut release is called Parlour Games. It’s entirely New Zealand works that they have premièred over the past few years, including my 2015 piece Fragments of Noir – written while inspired by Chicago, just as I was new to Chicago.

More info about the recording and how to acquire it at Rattle Records. There are also pieces by David Hamilton, Peter Adams, Kenneth Young, Peter Scholes, Leonie Holmes, Karlo Margetić, and John Elmsly – folks who’ve been my colleagues, my teachers, and my co-performers.

As for my own album… I wanna say February or March 2018 for a release. Stay tuned.

Read more

Where is home?

The first Google Image Search result for "home", because every blog post is supposed to have an image because of search engine stuff or Facebook or whatever. Source: moneysmart.gov.au

The first Google Image Search result for “home”, because every blog post is supposed to have an image because of search engine stuff or Facebook or whatever. Source: moneysmart.gov.au

Where is home? I’ve flippantly said “Home is where your stuff is”, but that’s not the whole picture.

When you move countries, when do you actually move? When do you comprehensively separate day-to-day ties with your previous country and properly integrate into the new? This is a thorny question given that I came back to New Zealand for a two-week trip less than three months after settling in Chicago.

I’ve got all sorts of contending dates.
– 27 December 2014: when I entered the United States on an immigrant visa and became a resident alien.
– 5 January 2015: when I reached my new home city of Chicago, and the room in my apartment.
– 7 January 2015: when I bought a bed in Chicago
– 14 January 2015: when I spent $573 at IKEA in Chicago on furniture and pillows and kitchen stuff
– 6 February 2015: when I did my first paid, taxable gig as a US resident
– Today, 22 April 2015: when I fly back to the United States after a short New Zealand return trip, and when I henceforth have no fixed future plans to return to New Zealand.
– 1 June 2015: the date from which I (hopefully) have Affordable Care Act health insurance, as opposed to travel insurance
– (unidentified future date, but probably some time in June): the date from which I’m earning more income from United States sources than New Zealand sources. I’m actually doing alright at this freelance composing malarkey, although I’m aware that may not last when I’m not showing my face at concert venues up and down the country.
– October 2015: when this year’s commissions have all received their first performances in New Zealand: the various Sonatina for alto saxophone and piano people; the Jade String Quartet; and the Westlake Boys High School choir Voicemale performing the full version of Howler Monkey at Prizegiving
– (unidentified future date): when I stop regularly listening to most podcasts from Upbeat and Standing Room Only
– (unidentified future date): when my Facebook algorithms serve me far more US/Chicago content than New Zealand content
– (unidentified future date, TBA when): when I have more Facebook friends in Chicago than in Auckland
– (unidentified future date, heaven knows when): when I intercontinentally relocate all my books from my parents’ house in Auckland
– (unidentified future date, possibly never): when I have more United States Facebook friends than New Zealand friends
– (unidentified future date, possibly never): when I intercontinentally relocate all my stuff currently in storage at my parents’.

Tell you what, it doesn’t feel like it’s today. Five hours ago I finished a concert in Hamilton, and boarding is right now imminent at Auckland International Airport. Less than 24 hours after I land in Chicago, I’m doing a gig in the Chicago Improv Festival.

This week, I have rehearsals or gigs Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There’s a date line separation in there, but it really just feels like a busy week with a couple of flights and an intercity return trip thrown in.

And you know what… that’s pretty awesome.

I’m a jetsetting freelance arts person. Granted, I will probably need to find some form of stable day job once I return to Chicago (at least part-time), but you know those Chicago gigs this week? Most of them I was asked to do =&0=&. People are remembering me in Chicago and obviously think I’m half-decent at what I do.

That’s pretty baller. International arts freelancer right here. Feels pretty good.

Feels better than Economy Class, anyway.*

* And thanks to the very kindly Air New Zealand check-in lady who let me get away with 23.7kg. You’re baller too.

Read more

A quick trip home!

At the first workshop of Relish in Immature Bombast, 24 May 2012, Auckland Town Hall. Photo by Oliver Rosser.

At the first workshop of Relish in Immature Bombast, 24 May 2012, Auckland Town Hall. Photo by Oliver Rosser.

I moved to Chicago on 5 January 2015. Three months on, I’ll be back in New Zealand for a couple of weeks.

To clarify for both Chicagoans and Kiwis: no, I’m not moving back. I still definitely live in Chicago. This trip is to fulfil a long-standing commitment with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra because they’re playing my Relish in Immature Bombast again.

If you’re unfamiliar with this piece, it’s for huge-ass pipe organ, full-on funk/rock/jazz drum kit, and symphony orchestra, take a squiz at this video:

The APO is performing this at Open Orchestra Central, at their home venue of the Auckland Town Hall. Reprising their roles are original soloists Tim Noon (organ) and Jono Sawyer (drum kit) – in fact, it’s ten years since Jono and I first worked together in ska band Jonny Doom & The Forcefields. I’ll be introducing the piece as MC and composer, interviewing some of the performers, and also MCing the rest of the afternoon’s proceedings.

Best of all, this event is totally, 100% free. Come to the Auckland Town Hall at 2pm on Saturday 11 April, and hit “Going” on the Facebook event if that’s your thing.

I also have a fundraiser concert!

Sir James Wallace has been quite generous with both his funds and his home – I’ve got a couple of Wallace Arts Trust-funded compositions in the works, and on Sunday 19 April he’s hosting a house concert for me. Poster:

Robbie-Ellis-Rannoch-RGB

I’ve invited two other composer-performers to join me:

Corwin Newall isn’t all that well-known outside of Dunedin, but he and I got to work together quite a bit during my Mozart Fellowship year. He’s got a new song cycle called Scientists read more

Read more

Robbie’s arbitrarily selective list of “new music” in 2015

newmusicEven though I’m not going to be in Auckland to hear (almost) any of this, I’m indulging in habit once more to produce a list of “new music” in the 2015 concert calendar. The APO, the NZSO and CMNZ have all released their seasons quite close to each other.

Points to note:

  • Lilburn 100. I can’t find an official website for that but I presume it’s being run through the Lilburn Trust. Old Gordon was born in 1915, so there’s plenty of his music around in the 2015 season. Quite a lot of chamber music that we don’t hear all that much, and OMG Michael Houstoun’s doing the Chaconne live!
  • Britten 102. You’d think it was his anniversary too, but no. Just coincidence that quite a lot of Benny-Boy is turning up.
  • I’m not bothering with putting in nice photos to break up the long list, since I won’t get to see any of it. Well, except my own pieces and Corwin Newall’s one (obv) and the Dutilleux cello concerto in April. Long story.
  • Kimmo Hakola is a mad bastard. Kari Kriikku is slightly less mad but still incredibly awesome. Well done NZSO for that concerto.

On with it!

New Zealand “New Music” Composers’ Music

=&0=& The First Time I Stood [WP] – Milla Dickens, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
=&1=& Melodies for orchestra – APO/Andrew Gourlay – 27 Aug, ATH
=&2=& [new work] [WP] – NZTrio – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
=&3=& Relish in Immature Bombast – Tim Noon, Jono Sawyer, APO/David Kay – 11 Apr, ATH
=&3=& [new work] [WP] – Yvette Audain & Robbie Ellis – 19 Apr, Rannoch
=&5=& From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs – Atamira Dance Company, APO/[conductor?] – 14 Oct, Aotea
=&5=& Shadow of the Hawk – Edward King & John Chen – (18 Aug HAM, 22 Aug WLG)
=&7=& [new work] – NYO/José Luis Gómez – (2 Jul WLG)
=&8=& Fugue for piano [WP] – Michael Houstoun – 2 & 4 Oct, ATH CC
HARRIS: Piano Quintet [WP] – Stephen De Pledge & NZSQ – (16 May HAM)
HARRIS: Variation 25 – NZSQ – (16 May HAM)
=&8=& Violin Concerto – Ilya Gringolts, APO/Garry Walker – 19 Feb, ATH
=&10=& Allegro for strings – Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble – 12 June, ATH
=&10=& Aotearoa Overture – APO/Rumon Gamba – 18 June, ATH
=&10=& Chaconne – Michael Houstoun – 2 & 4 Oct, ATH CC
=&10=& Diversions for strings – Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble – (18 June WLG)
=&10=& Sonata for violin & piano (1950) – Natalie Lin & John Chen – 30 Aug, ATH CC
=&10=& Symphony No 2 – NZSO/Christian Lindberg, 2 May, ATH
=&16=& Au Revoir [WP] – Jarvis Dams, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
=&17=& Lightbox – NZTrio – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
=&18=& Seeking Answers to the Riddle [WP] – [Horomona Horo?], APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
=&19=& Scientists [WP] – Robbie Ellis & Corwin Newall – 19 Apr, Rannoch
=&20=& Claro [WP] – NZSO/Christian Lindberg – 2 May, ATH
PSATHAS: Corybas – NZ Chamber Soloists – 23 May, ATH CC
PSATHAS: Island Songs – NZ Chamber Soloists – 23 May, ATH CC
=&21=& burlesques mécaniques – NZTrio – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
=&22=& Your Letter [WP] – Elizabeth Mandeno, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
=&23=& Symphony No 1, Letters from the Front [WP] – George Henare?, Madeleine Pierard?, NZSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 Apr, ATH
=&24=& In Paradisum [WP] – Patricia Wright, Graduate Choir, Choir of Holy Trinity Cathedral, APO/Kenneth Young, Tim Gruchy – 4 Mar, ATH
=&24=& [Gallipoli Armistice commission] [WP] – St Kentigern College Choir, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum

Living Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music

=&26=& Short Ride in a Fast Machine – APO/Garry Walker – 19 Feb, ATH
=&27=& Prelude, Fugue & Riffs – APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 July, ATH
=&28=& Oesteoblast – Aucktet – 10 Aug, St Michael’s Remuera + 11 Aug, Takapuna Methodist
=&29=& Flute Concerto, Pied Piper Fantasy – Adam Walker, APO/Eckehard Stier – 5 Nov, ATH
=&30=& Bruckner Etude – Aucktet – 10 Aug, St Michael’s Remuera + 11 Aug, Takapuna Methodist
=&31=& Clarinet Concerto – Kari Kriikku, NZSO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya – 6 Nov, ATH
=&32=& War Music [WP] – Madeleine Pierard?, NZYC, NZSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 Apr, ATH
=&33=& Perú Negro – NZSO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya – 6 Nov, ATH
=&34=& Danzón No 2 – APO/Andrew Sewell – 7 Mar, Govt House
=&35=& Echoes of Eternity – Christian Lindberg, David Bremner, NZSO – 2 May, ATH
=&36=& No 2 from Sei Capricci for violin – Justine Cormack – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
=&37=& Trumpet Concerto – Tine Thing Helseth, APO/Eivind Gulberg Jensen – 6 May, ATH
=&38=& Für Bálint András Varga – Vienna Piano Trio – 23 Oct, ATH

Dead Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music

=&39=& Piano Trio – NZ Chamber Soloists – 23 May, ATH CC=&40=&  Adagio for strings – APO/Alejo Pérez – 22 Oct, ATH
=&41=& Dance Suite – APO/Ilyich Rivas – 14 May, ATH
=&41=& String Quartet No 5 – Brodsky Quartet – (18 Mar HAM, 26 Mar WLG)
=&41=& Violin Concerto No 2 – Benjamin Schmid, APO/Rumon Gamba – 18 Jun, ATH
=&44=& Folk Songs – Fiona Campbell, APO/Ilyich Rivas – 14 May, ATH
=&45=& Songs from West Side Story – Anna Leese, APO/Andrew Sewell – 7 Mar, Govt House
=&46=& Four Sea Interludes – NZSO/Thomas Søndergård – 22 May, ATH
=&46=& Poème – Brodsky Quartet – (18 Mar HAM, 26 Mar WLG)
=&46=& Simple Symphony Op 4 – Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble – 12 June, ATH
=&46=& Suite for violin & piano Op 6 – Natalie Lin & John Chen – (18 Aug HAM, 22 Aug WLG)
=&46=& Violin Concerto – Anthony Marwood, NZSO/Thomas Søndergård – 22 May, ATH
=&51=& Clarinet Concerto – Julian Bliss, APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 July, ATH
=&51=& Fanfare for the Common Man – NZSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 Apr, ATH
=&53=& Tout un monde lointain – Nicolas Altstaedt, APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 Apr, ATH
=&54=& Girl Crazy – APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 July, ATH
=&55=& Pampeana No 2 – Edward King & John Chen – 30 Aug, ATH CC
=&56=& Excerpts from Gayane Suites – APO/Andrew Gourlay – 27 Aug, ATH
=&57=& Cello Sonata – Ashley Brown & Sarah Watkins – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
=&57=& Cordes à vide – Sarah Watkins – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
=&57=& Melodien – APO/Gergely Madaras – 26 Feb, ATH
=&60=&

Read more

Fact of the Day, Day, Day, Day, Day

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is an organisation I’ve had plenty to do with since I was a teenager. They played my first orchestral compositions (now blessedly forgotten); they ran the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra when I played double bass, their concerts introduced me to such key works as Mahler 3, Concierto de Aranjuez and the West Side Story Symphonic Dances; and that’s all before I’d left high school.

Now I’m an adult[citation needed], I’ve done damn near everything for the orchestra except play in it. Composing, arranging, MCing, pre-concert talks (like next week’s concert), video production, tutoring high school composers for APOPS, and I regularly present radio broadcasts of their concerts on Radio New Zealand Concert (e.g. in two weeks’ time).

Yesterday, I added “conducting” and “fronting for commercial radio” to my APO CV.

Fletch, Vaughan & Megan present the breakfast show on the Top 40 station ZM, and one of their regular segments is “Fact of the Day”. The three of them perform the musical intro sting live every morning:

Last week they pondered having it performed by an orchestra. Long story short:
– ZM is part of The Radio Network
– TRN’s parent company is APN
– APN publishes the New Zealand Herald
– The Herald is the naming rights sponsor of the APO’s 12-concert Premier Series
– TRN talked to APO Sponsorship
– APO Sponsorship talked to APO Artistic
– APO Artistic talked to me.

The Artistic Planning Manager might have been thinking of these vocal mockups from 2011. They were part of my proposal to write the piece that would become Relish in Immature Bombast:

This isn’t thaat far apart from what Fletch, Vaughan and Megan do every morning. A few more voices, a few more octaves, but just as out of tune!

I did two different arrangements: one straight as per their style, and a sad version “for serious facts”.

factofthedayscorep1factofthedayscorep2

(I actually worked on these arrangements while in the broadcast booth for Bach’s St John Passion.)

Then came the recording. The three ZM DJs, plus a cohort of videographers, soundies and social media folk, turned up to Philharmonia Hall in Mt Eden. They had their fun in and around the orchestra’s rehearsal space following the full orchestra’s James Bond rehearsal, while the Operations team, with their usual military precision, took exactly 15 minutes to clear the room of extraneous players and set up for an 18-piece string orchestra.

Then it was on me! I’m not a conductor by training or even by habit, but I did get to do these dozen bars as my professional orchestra conducting debut. Was a bit scary demonstrating musicality in front of full-time players who know me more as a composer and general loudmouth, but I got through it by summoning all of my conducting training (one semester with Dr Karen Grylls, nine years ago… I think I got an A- or B+).

It’ll be used for Fact of the Day on air tomorrow morning at about 8:20am, and it’s also in a video on zmonline.com! Click through to enjoy my conducting, Vanessa Carlton piano skills, and general social media fronting.

Freelancing. It’s a fun job.

Update: It’s in the morning show podcast, listen from 44:48) read more

Read more

Lots of work for one performance.

One grand cliché of being a composer is that it’s straighforward enough to get the first performance of a new work, but damn difficult to get the second. However, some of my favourite experiences have been writing songs that are very much intended never to be done again.

Andrew Grenon benefit posterLast night I MC’d a Wallace Arts Trust fundraiser concert for my flatmate, tenor Andrew Grenon. A lot of Andrew’s supporters know me as his piano partner in Politics The Opera, although it’s been a long time since we’ve made one of those videos. Life gets in the way, you see.

Andrew has a sense of humour and is a Song Sale writer-performer, so he asked me to sing my Root Vegetable Opera at his concert. That’s always huge fun, though when I perform it in the company of actual real opera singers I give a mountain of disclaimers about my vocal technique beforehand! Andrew also told me I was free to introduce the concert as I wished… maybe something musico-dramatic?

Two-and-a-half years ago I was fortunate enough to write the opening number for the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards in Wellington – very much in the style of a Tony Awards opener. That’s a song that has so many specific references to Wellington theatre, film and current events circa 2011 that it will almost certainly never be performed again.

I did something similar for Andrew. The song has so many particular references – e.g. the setting of the concert, the night’s fellow performers, our Grey Lynn flat, his circumstances (heading to the Wales International Academy of Voice), and the country of Wales itself – that it will never be performed again. It’s a one-time bespoke job.

But you know what? Those jobs are bloody fun. You can go as specific as you like, and your song can be tailored exactly for the assembled audience and their context. I get a kick out of making comedy and art out of the timely, specific and the local. That’s no way for a work to appeal to a wide or enduring audience, but I’ve got other material for that. And given that one of my life’s ambitions is to write the opening number for the Tony Awards, I’ve got to take these opportunities to practise the rather niche craft of occasional songs.

I’ve uploaded the sheet music (hang piracy, I’m never going to sell this song for money) and chucked the video on YouTube. Massive thanks to the pianist Claire Caldwell for adding flair to my Sibelius copy-and-paste dots & chord symbols.

Good luck Andrew!

Read more

Perfunctory blog post

Eketahuna German Literature Society coverPoint the first:

I’m now a published author. Given that I expended so much of the effort of publication late last year and well earlier this year, these launch events feel more like niche geeky parties than big culminations of work. I’m not good at writing about these things, but I spent A LOT of time consulting German poetry collections in the University of Auckland library.

You should buy a copy via instructions here – we will deliver to anywhere in the world. $20 if you buy one off me in person.

In a couple of months’ time, I will look back and realise, holy shit, I’m an actual proper published author. Not bad for a composer by training.

Point the second:

Augmented Fourth? Pledge Me? $400 short? 4 days to go? Get pledging. We’ll write you a song. We need us some wireless mics.

Point the third:

Oh god, there’s more? So much self-promotion going on. I should become a much better blogger and write about one thing at a time. About half of my franticisms can be traced back to the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. Go see shows. Most of all, go see ours in Auckland or Wellington. Especially Auckland. We’re driving like 10 minutes to the theatre and 10 minutes back. Not like those Wellington people who only have us doing a 16-hour drive.

Point the fourth:

Just friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Or keep up with the events in the sidebar, I’m quite good at updating those. But on this blog… I’m really not making it easy for you in this Web 2.0 age… wait… it’s not Web 2.0, that was like 2006. Man, I’m 8 years out of date.

Article the Fifth:

Ko tangata whenua te nope I can’t speak Treaty of Waitangi.

I should not publish this post.

Read more

Robbie’s arbitrarily selective list of “new music” in 2014

newmusicAfter last year’s compiled list, I’m doing the same again this year. Four major classical music organisations that operate in Auckland have released their 2014 programmes: the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Chamber Music New Zealand, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand Opera (today at The Cloud).

I have gone through the programmes and picked out all the “new music” that’s in there in one easy-to-read list. Aren’t you fullas lucky?

In New Zealand Opera’s case, there is no “new music” to mention, but that’s not too surprising given there are only three productions next year. In the case of the other organisations, there’s a reasonable smattering. The APO has the most I’m looking forward to. CMNZ’s Kaleidoscope Series has some cool stuff, as will their Encompass Series (not announced yet, but pieces of mine are in there :-)). The NZSO’s brochure has this animal:

We don't care, we ain't caught up in your love of hair

That cat on Page 4 of the season brochure is weird. Just weird. And very out of context. I’ve heard it relates to a subsequent announcement from the NZSO though.

Onto the list! All dates are for Auckland unless otherwise specified. An asterisk * indicates a world première performance.

Added 22 October: Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
Added 23 October:
New Zealand Festival

New Zealand “New Music” Composers’ Music

What I most want to see: Gao Ping is a rare creature in the modern world - a composer with the chops to perform his own piano concertos. His 四不相 (Si Buxiang, The Four Not-Alikes) looks like a concerto for piano and traditional Chinese orchestra.

What I most want to see: Gao Ping is a rare creature in the modern world – a composer with the chops to perform his own piano concertos. His 四不相 (Si Bu Xiang, The Four Not-Alike) looks like a concerto for piano and traditional Chinese orchestra.

*? Jack Body: Beat (among NZSQ, Forbidden City CO/Liu Shun, Gao Ping, Xiao Ma – 15 March)
Jack Body: Caravan (Nikki Chooi – 16 June)
Jack Body: Little Elegies (NZSO/Hamish McKeich – 2 May)
* Lyell Cresswell: The Clock Stops (Jonathan Lemalu, NZSO/James MacMillan – 10 May)
* Simon Eastwood/Natalie Hunt/Karlo Margetić/Tabea Squire: [new work from The Travelling Portmanteau] (NZSQ – 12 May)
Gareth Farr: Te Puna o Waiwhetu (CSO/Tom Woods – 22 February, Christchurch)
* Gareth Farr: [new piano concerto] (Tony Lee, NZSO/Pietari Inkinen – 28 March, Wellington only)
* Gao Ping: Si Bu Xiang (The Four Not-Alike) (Gao Ping, Forbidden City CO/Liu Shun – 15 March)
* Ross Harris: Aria for viola and string orchestra (Robert Ashworth, APO/Giordano Bellincampi – 5 June)
* Ross Harris: Requiem for the Fallen (Voices NZ Chamber Choir & NZSQ – 28 February, Wellington only)
Ross Harris: Te Moanapouri (CSO/Tom Woods – 17 May, Christchurch)
*? Dylan Lardelli: Secrets, Listening to the Qin (among NZSQ, Forbidden City CO/Liu Shun, Gao Ping, Xiao Ma – 15 March)
Douglas Lilburn: Aotearoa Overture (NYO/Ben Northey – 6-7 February, Wellington & Napier only)
* Michael Norris/David Downes: Wu Xing (Five Phases) (among NZSQ, Forbidden City CO/Liu Shun, Gao Ping, Xiao Ma – 15 March)
* Celeste Oram: macropsia (APO – 21 May)
John Psathas: Between Zero and One (Strike Percussion – 10 March, Wellington)
John Psathas: View from Olympus (Evelyn Glennie, Stephen De Pledge, APO/Hans Graf – 4 September)
* Anthony Ritchie: Symphony No 4 (Jenny Wollerman, CSO/Tom Woods – 22 February, Christchurch)
* Kenneth Young: [new work for brass] (Woolston Brass, CSO Brass/Kenneth Young – 20 September, Christchurch)
* Kenneth Young: [new work] (APO/Carlos Miguel Prieto –

16 October read more

Read more

Haven’t published anything in a while.

My life has been quite bitsy, full of lots of small projects.

Well, here’s one resultable fruit:

The Root Vegetable Opera is an overblown comedy song for mock operatic baritone and piano. Eight months on from the recording session, I’ve mixed the tracks. I don’t sound terrrrible, but I’m no classically trained singer. Corwin Newall, on the other hand, is a classically trained pianist.

On the topic of recording vocals, next week I make a studio recording of Annie & Joshua with my two singers. I’m getting Bridget Costello just a week before she leaves for London to study, but Callum Blackmore’s staying around for ages. Good.

Another composition is finally reaching fruition: I just published Trolling the Tuba to SOUNZ, and it’s getting premièred just outside San Francisco on Friday/Saturday/timezone depending. This is thanks to Jess Rodda and the rest of the International Low Brass Trio, which abbreviates to “ILBT”, which must be either a sandwich or a personality type. They’re going to be performing this work quite a bit over the next few months, including on a Canadiadian tour.

I am making plans for two out-of-town tours myself:
Wellington (15 to 23 September): the 2013 New Zealand Improv Festival is on and I am the Musical Co-ordinator and musician for several shows myself. I’ve got a lot of things I’m looking forward to, but the most involved for me will be Time Lord, a Doctor Who read more

Read more