Tag Archives: composer

Where is home?

22 Apr

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 while I was out of town. 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.

A quick trip home!

16 Mar

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 (with movements about Alfred Nobel, Nikola Tesla, Gertrude Elion and Ernest Rutherford), which I’m singing and he’s playing on piano. He and I are also working on Douglas Lilburn’s Sings Harry (as well as a few other rarer Lilburn songs), and performing them at a few concerts. Also, he’s quite a nifty wordsmith and comedy songwriter… these skills will also be on display.

Grooves Unspoken album coverYvette Audain‘s axes of choice are saxophone and clarinet. She’ll join me for the North Island première of my new Sonatina for alto saxophone and piano (a piece funded by the Wallace Arts Trust). She’s also a great composer who last year released an album of work called Grooves Unspoken, for which I did the design and layout.

This house concert is on Sunday 19 April, and you can book in one of two ways:
Secure your seat with a donation
– Reserve a place and donate on the night: rannoch@wallaceartstrust.org.nz or 027 472 3669

There’s a recommended donation set at $40: this is kinda necessary because I’ve had to pay for my flights back to New Zealand on this trip (long set in advance). I would love to see you there! RSVP on Facebook if you will.

Also:
Lunchtime concert at the University of Otago, Wed 15 April.
Pre-concert talk for the APO, Thu 16 April.
Lunchtime concert at the University of Waikato, Wed 22 April.
– I do a concert at 1pm in Hamilton, and fly out of Auckland Airport at 7:30pm. Doable.

PS I’m also in Seattle from 1 to 5 April. Will be nice to visit that city again.

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

10 Oct

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

BLACKMORE: The First Time I Stood [WP] – Milla Dickens, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
BODY: Melodies for orchestra – APO/Andrew Gourlay – 27 Aug, ATH
COWAN: [new work] [WP] – NZTrio – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
ELLIS: Relish in Immature Bombast – Tim Noon, Jono Sawyer, APO/David Kay – 11 Apr, ATH
ELLIS: [new work] [WP] – Yvette Audain & Robbie Ellis – 19 Apr, Rannoch
FARR: From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs – Atamira Dance Company, APO/[conductor?] – 14 Oct, Aotea
FARR: Shadow of the Hawk – Edward King & John Chen – (18 Aug HAM, 22 Aug WLG)
S FISHER: [new work] – NYO/José Luis Gómez – (2 Jul WLG)
HARRIS: 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)
HARRIS: Violin Concerto – Ilya Gringolts, APO/Garry Walker – 19 Feb, ATH
LILBURN: Allegro for strings – Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble – 12 June, ATH
LILBURN: Aotearoa Overture – APO/Rumon Gamba – 18 June, ATH
LILBURN: Chaconne – Michael Houstoun – 2 & 4 Oct, ATH CC
LILBURN: Diversions for strings – Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble – (18 June WLG)
LILBURN: Sonata for violin & piano (1950) – Natalie Lin & John Chen – 30 Aug, ATH CC
LILBURN: Symphony No 2 – NZSO/Christian Lindberg, 2 May, ATH
MANDENO: Au Revoir [WP] – Jarvis Dams, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
MARGETIĆ: Lightbox – NZTrio – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
MORGAN: Seeking Answers to the Riddle [WP] – [Horomona Horo?], APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
NEWALL: Scientists [WP] – Robbie Ellis & Corwin Newall – 19 Apr, Rannoch
NORRIS: 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
TAYLOR: burlesques mécaniques – NZTrio – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
WEBSTER: Your Letter [WP] – Elizabeth Mandeno, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum
WILLIAMS: Symphony No 1, Letters from the Front [WP] – George Henare?, Madeleine Pierard?, NZSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 Apr, ATH
K YOUNG: In Paradisum [WP] – Patricia Wright, Graduate Choir, Choir of Holy Trinity Cathedral, APO/Kenneth Young, Tim Gruchy – 4 Mar, ATH
K YOUNG: [Gallipoli Armistice commission] [WP] – St Kentigern College Choir, APO/Hamish McKeich – 25 May, Museum

Living Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music

J ADAMS: Short Ride in a Fast Machine – APO/Garry Walker – 19 Feb, ATH
BERNSTEIN/FOSS: Prelude, Fugue & Riffs – APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 July, ATH
BOURGEOIS: Oesteoblast – Aucktet – 10 Aug, St Michael’s Remuera + 11 Aug, Takapuna Methodist
CORIGLIANO: Flute Concerto, Pied Piper Fantasy – Adam Walker, APO/Eckehard Stier – 5 Nov, ATH
CRESPO: Bruckner Etude – Aucktet – 10 Aug, St Michael’s Remuera + 11 Aug, Takapuna Methodist
HAKOLA: Clarinet Concerto – Kari Kriikku, NZSO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya – 6 Nov, ATH
LEDGER: War Music [WP] – Madeleine Pierard?, NZYC, NZSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 Apr, ATH
LÓPEZ: Perú Negro – NZSO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya – 6 Nov, ATH
MÁRQUEZ: Danzón No 2 – APO/Andrew Sewell – 7 Mar, Govt House
J SANDSTRÖM: Echoes of Eternity – Christian Lindberg, David Bremner, NZSO – 2 May, ATH
SCIARRINO: No 2 from Sei Capricci for violin – Justine Cormack – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
SØRENSEN: Trumpet Concerto – Tine Thing Helseth, APO/Eivind Gulberg Jensen – 6 May, ATH
STAUD: Für Bálint András Varga – Vienna Piano Trio – 23 Oct, ATH

Dead Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music

BABAJANIAN: Piano Trio – NZ Chamber Soloists – 23 May, ATH CC
BARBER:
  Adagio for strings – APO/Alejo Pérez – 22 Oct, ATH
BARTÓK: Dance Suite – APO/Ilyich Rivas – 14 May, ATH
BARTÓK: String Quartet No 5 – Brodsky Quartet – (18 Mar HAM, 26 Mar WLG)
BARTÓK: Violin Concerto No 2 – Benjamin Schmid, APO/Rumon Gamba – 18 Jun, ATH
BERIO: Folk Songs – Fiona Campbell, APO/Ilyich Rivas – 14 May, ATH
BERNSTEIN: Songs from West Side Story – Anna Leese, APO/Andrew Sewell – 7 Mar, Govt House
BRITTEN: Four Sea Interludes – NZSO/Thomas Søndergård – 22 May, ATH
BRITTEN: Poème – Brodsky Quartet – (18 Mar HAM, 26 Mar WLG)
BRITTEN: Simple Symphony Op 4 – Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble – 12 June, ATH
BRITTEN: Suite for violin & piano Op 6 – Natalie Lin & John Chen – (18 Aug HAM, 22 Aug WLG)
BRITTEN: Violin Concerto – Anthony Marwood, NZSO/Thomas Søndergård – 22 May, ATH
COPLAND: Clarinet Concerto – Julian Bliss, APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 July, ATH
COPLAND: Fanfare for the Common Man – NZSO/Benjamin Northey – 23 Apr, ATH
DUTILLEUX: Tout un monde lointain – Nicolas Altstaedt, APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 Apr, ATH
GERSHWIN: Girl Crazy – APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 July, ATH
GINASTERA: Pampeana No 2 – Edward King & John Chen – 30 Aug, ATH CC
KHACHATURIAN: Excerpts from Gayane Suites – APO/Andrew Gourlay – 27 Aug, ATH
LIGETI: Cello Sonata – Ashley Brown & Sarah Watkins – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
LIGETI: Cordes à vide – Sarah Watkins – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
LIGETI: Melodien – APO/Gergely Madaras – 26 Feb, ATH
LUTOSŁAWSKI: Concerto for orchestra – NZSO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya – 6 Nov, ATH
NANCARROW: Sonatina for piano – Sarah Watkins – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
PIAZZOLLA: Libertango – APO/Andrew Sewell – 7 Mar, Govt House
POULENC: Organ Concerto – David Briggs, APO
RUSSO: Street Music – Corky Siegel, APO/Eckehard Stier – 16 July, ATH
SCHOENBERG: Accompaniment to a cinematographic scene – APO/Giordano Bellincampi – 8 Oct, ATH
SCHOENBERG arr Steuermann: Verklärte Nacht – Vienna Piano Trio – (16 Oct WLG, 22 Oct HAM)
SCULTHORPE: Earth Cry – William Barton, APO/Andrew Gourlay – 27 Aug, ATH
STRAVINSKY: Firebird – APO/Richard Gill (unwrap) – 13 Aug, ATH
STRAVINSKY: Firebird Suite (1919) – APO/Giordano Bellincampi – 1 Oct, ATH
STRAVINSKY: Pulcinella Suite – APO/Eckehard Stier – 9 July, ATH
STRAVINSKY: Rite of Spring – NZSO/Jaime Martín – 27 Nov, ATH
TAKEMITSU: I hear the water dreaming – Katie Zagórski, APO/Kenneth Young – 4 Mar, ATH
TIPPETT: A Child of Our Time – Indra Thomas, Victoria Simmonds, Nicky Spence, Derek Welton, Voices NZ Chamber Choir, NZYC, APO/Eckehard Stier – 21 Mar, ATH
WALTON: Cello Concerto – Jakob Koranyi, NZSO/Jaime Martín – 27 Nov, ATH
WEBERN: Four Pieces for violin and piano – Justine Cormack & Sarah Watkins – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)
WEBERN: Three Pieces for cello and piano – Ashley Brown & Sarah Watkins – (7 May PN, 9 May WLG)

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

20 Aug

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)

Speaking of Vanessa Carlton, I uploaded this yesterday:

Lots of work for one performance.

28 Jul

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!

Perfunctory blog post

23 Apr

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.

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

15 Oct

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)
* [NYO Composer-in-Residence]: [new work] (NYO/Alexander Shelley – 19 July)

Living Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music

What I most want to see: This Strayan fair dinkum muso Bretto Deano's concerto for trumpet...-o... yes. Only got premièred a couple of months back, and somehow I missed Håkan Hardenberger on his last visit here in 2007 (I think). Not gonna miss this one.

What I most want to see: This Strayan fair dinkum muso Bretto Deano‘s concerto for trumpet…-o… yes. Only got premièred a couple of months back, and somehow I missed Håkan Hardenberger on his last visit here in 2007 (I think). Not gonna miss this one.

Harrison Birtwistle: Oockooing Bird (Joanna MacGregor – 27 March)
John Corigliano: Violin Concerto, The Red Violin (Chloë Hanslip, APO/Eckehard Stier – 20 February)
Brett Dean: Eclipse (Doric SQ – 17-31 July, Dun/Ham/Nap/Wel/Chc only)
Brett Dean: Trumpet Concerto, Dramatis Personæ (Håkan Hardenberger, NZSO/Dmitri Slobodeniouk – 18 October)
*? Gao Weijie: Three Songs of Yuan Qu (among NZSQ, Forbidden City CO/Liu Shun, Gao Ping, Xiao Ma – 15 March)
Osvaldo Golijov: Ainadamar (Kelley O’Connor, Jessica Rivera, Jesus Montoya, Leanne Keneally, James Clayton, NZSO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya – 2 March, Wellington only)
Sofia Gubaidulina: ‘The Little Tit’, from Musical Toys (Joanna MacGregor – 27 March)
Sampo Haapamäki: Signature (CSO/Tom Woods, 24 & 25 May, Christchurch)
Matthew Hindson: Homage to Metallica (NYO/Ben Northey – 6-7 February, Wellington & Napier only)
György Kurtág: Six moments musicaux (Kelemen Quartet – 19 March)
James MacMillan: The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (NZSO/James MacMillan – 10 May)
James MacMillan: Woman of the Apocalypse (NZSO/James MacMillan – 10 May)
Torsten Rasch: Lycanthropy Aria, from The Duchess of Malfi (Tobias Cole, CSO/Tom Woods – 21 May, Christchurch)
Peter Sculthorpe: Memento mori (NZSO/Hamish McKeich – 2 May)
John Williams: Bassoon Concerto, The Five Sacred Trees (Ingrid Hagan, APO/Tito Muñoz – 1 May)
*? Zou Hang: Shi Bian Wu Hua (Ten Changes and Five Variables) (among NZSQ, Forbidden City CO/Liu Shun, Gao Ping, Xiao Ma – 15 March)

Dead Foreign “New Music” Composers’ Music

What I most want to see: this was tricky. Lutosławski's Concerto for Orchestra was a revelation when I played it in uni orchestra, Pacific 231 will be a mean-as concert opener... but ultimately it's Leoš Janáček's Sinfonietta which will kick the most ass live.

What I most want to see: this was the trickiest to pick just one. Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra was a revelation when I played it in uni orchestra, Pacific 231 will be a mean-as concert opener… but ultimately it’s Leoš Janáček‘s Sinfonietta which will kick the most ass live. Part of the same trumpetlicious gig as the Brett Dean work.

Béla Bartók: Concerto for orchestra (CSO/Tom Woods – 18 October, Christchurch)
Béla Bartók: Sonata for two pianos and percussion (Diedre Irons, Michael Endres, Thomas Guldborg & Lenny Sakofsky – 1 September)
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No 4 (Kelemen Quartet – 9-18 March, Dun/Nsn/Wel/Nap/Ham only)
Béla Bartók: String Quartet No 5 (Kelemen Quartet – 19 March)
Alban Berg: Three Fragments from Wozzeck (Jenny Wollerman, APO/Eckehard Stier – 24 July)
Benjamin Britten: Noye’s Fludde (NZ Opera – during the New Zealand Festival, Wellington)
Benjamin Britten: Soirées musicales (after Rossini) (NZSO/Junichi Hirokami – 22 November)
George Gershwin: Preludes (Nikki Chooi & Stephen De Pledge – 9-24 June, NP/PNorth/Inv only)
Henryk Górecki: Symphony No 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (Sara Macliver, NZSO/Hamish McKeich – 2 May)
Arthur Honegger: Pacific 231 (APO/Eckehard Stier – 27 February)
Leoš Janáček: Sinfonietta (NZSO/Dmitri Slobodeniouk – 18 October)
Erich Korngold: Much Ado About Nothing Suite (NZSO/Alexander Shelley – 25 July)
Erich Korngold: String Quartet No 2 (Doric SQ – 20 July)
Erich Korngold: Violin Concerto (Mikhail Ovrutsky, NZSO/Pietari Inkinen – 4 April)
György Ligeti: String Quartet No 1, Métamorphoses nocturnes (Kelemen Quartet – 9-18 March, Ham/Nap/Wlg/Nsn/Dun only)
Witold Lutosławski: Concerto for orchestra (APO/Tito Muñoz – 1 May)
Joseph Marx: [selected songs] (Christine Brewer, APO/Leo Hussain – 28 August)
Olivier Messiaen: L’Ascension: Quatre méditations symphoniques (CSO/Tom Woods – 23 August, Christchurch)
Olivier Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques (Joanna MacGregor, APO/John Nelson – 27 March)
Nikolai Myaskovsky: String Quartet No 13 (Borodin Quartet – 22 October)
Francis Poulenc: Sinfonietta (APO/Paul Goodwin – 9 October)
Alfred Schnittke: Concerto for piano with string orchestra (Ragna Schirmer, APO/Eckehard Stier – 20 November)
Alfred Schnittke: Concerto Grosso No 2 for violin, cello and orchestra (Mark Menzies, Ashley Brown, CSO/Tom Woods – 14 June, Christchurch)
Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No 1 (Aroha SQ – 13-25 October, Nsn/Inv/PNorth/NP/Ham only)
Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No 11 (Borodin Quartet – 22 October)
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 (NZSO – 13 March, Wellington only)
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 12 (APO/Eckehard Stier – 20 November)
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 15 (NZSO/Alexander Lazarev – 24 May)
Igor Stravinsky: Petrushka [1947 version] (APO/Eckehard Stier – 20 February)
Igor Stravinsky: Petrushka (CSO/Tom Woods – 14 June, Christchurch)
Igor Stravinsky: The Soldier’s Tale Suite (APO/Eckehard Stier – 30 October)
William Walton: Henry V Suite (NZSO/Alexander Shelley – 25 July)
Anton Webern: Six Pieces for orchestra (APO/Giordano Bellincampi – 5 June)

Also:

The Adults meet the APO (Jon Toogood, Julia Deans, Shayne Carter, Steve Bremner, Ladi6, Anika Moa, APO/Hamish McKeich – 30 January)
Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular (heaps of guests, choirs, NZSO – 21 & 22 February, Wellington only)
Serj Tankian’s Orca and Elect the Dead symphonies (CSO/Hamish McKeich – 29 March, Christchurch)
The Golden Age of Broadway (Tim Beveridge, Julia Booth, Juliet Reynolds-Midgley, Tainui Kuru, Christchurch Pops Choir, CSO/Luke Di Somma – 11-12 April, Christchurch & Timaru)
Traditional Chinese works (Aroha SQ – 13-25 October, Nsn/Inv/PNorth/NP/Ham only)
Settling the Score Live – an opportunity for you to nominate some “new music” (APO – 28 November)

Haven’t published anything in a while.

21 Aug

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-themed long form directed by David Innes from Melbourne. I’m borrowing synths from Wellington people.
Dunedin (24 September to, uh, something). Song Sale! University Lunchtime Concert! Dunedin Youth Orchestra! Improsaurus (I hope)! All in one week.

Usually I find a picture for posts, so I googled-imaged-searched “most random image on the internet”. This is what arrived.

Happy Wednesday.

Chewbacca wielding a crossbow astride a giant squirrel fighting a regiment of Nazis.

Now this is a story all about how

6 May

Yo quiero Liberty Bell.

Yo quiero Liberty Bell.

I’m in Philadelphia. I’m so near the end of my travels. There’s an organ concert on in two weeks’ time in Auckland, which contains my piece Relish in Immature Bombast. I made a video, because I’m staying just a few blocks away from the biggest (working) organ in the world.

This was made at the request of SOUNZ – The Centre for New Zealand Music. They do great things – music retail (scores, CDs, DVDs, books), reference library services, music promotion – for New Zealand art music. Normally they’d send someone with a camera to get me to answer questions, but last time I checked they didn’t have a branch office here… or anywhere outside Wellington.

If you haven’t booked your tickets for Organ Spectacular, this whole paragraph is a link to the event page on the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s website. The APO has a Buy Tickets link and tickets are only $15 for students and $25 for real humans. You really should buy said tickets and come to this concert on Thursday 23 May.

And there’s a Facebook event too.

Now ONTO THE VIDEO! You can hear four tiny bits of my piece scattered throughout the four-minute span. And you should go to SOUNZ’s transcript which has linky links to information and stuff.

And thanks to my improviser friend and Philadelphia native Bobbi Block for doing some of the videoing.

Only because someone blogged about me.

31 Mar

Right now I’m ensconced in Chicago. The change in climate from Austin’s glorious spring sun to the Lake Effect has been shocking – far worse than when I made a similar transition from Guadalajara to Seattle in mid-February. Last week I bought my first ever pair of gloves, for instance.

I designed my trip so that I’d be able to catch up on projects now, instead of constantly travelling. With three weeks in Chicago, I have no pressure to see all the sights in a short time, and I’ve been able to spend lots of time in the public library and a café being a creative.

First I had to edit my 15-minute segment about SXSW for Music 101 on Radio New Zealand National. Embedding is disabled for this piece of audio, but you listen to it here. Then the deadline approached for show and workshop submissions for Improvention 2013 – that had to be adhered to.

Since that time, I’ve been flitting from project to project. Arrangements for a band I want to form when I get back? 15% complete, then BAM I hear about Short+Sweet Song, a festival/competition of 10-minute musicals happening in Auckland a few weeks after I get back. I buckle down, attempting to transform a Thomas Sainsbury playscript into a singable libretto, but that’s haaaaaaaard.

Then Jess Rodda tweets me out of the blue asking for a short piece for her horn, trombone and tuba trio. Why not procrastinate on a new creative project? I write 95 seconds of fiddly ragtime music in just under four hours.

I first call it Rag to a Bull (geddit? geddit?), then Trolling the Trio. I settle on Trolling the Tuba because it’s an inherently funnier word.

Two days ago I got “commissioned” and wrote the notes, yesterday I revised and tidied up the score and parts, last night Jess blogged about it (complete with my programme note) and today I complete the blogging echo chamber. All within 46 hours.

trollingthetuba


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