Now this is a story all about how

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. read more

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Only because someone blogged about me.

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. read more

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Tele-spruiking

Looking east onto North Pender Island from the Gulf of Georgia.

Looking east onto North Pender Island from the Gulf of Georgia, taken as I write this post.

I write from the ferry between Victoria and Vancouver, in the territorial waters of British Columbia/Washington State/British Columbia. It’s Wednesday 20 February here in North America, but en Nouvelle-Zélande it’s a Thursday at a particular time of the month. This means Song Sale is on in Dunedin!

Now, it is a little odd and a little superfluous for me still to be spruiking for this monthly gig. Yes, I founded it in Dunedin and it was my baby, but now that Daddy has moved to a new city some foster parents have taken responsibility for the rambunctious toddler. Or something. I’m not good at parent-and-guardian analogies. read more

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Postcard piece

Juliet Palmer, a New Zealand-born Toronto-based composer, alerted me to Redshift Music Society the other day.

This Vancouver new music outfit has put out a call for scores, with a deadline of 1 March. Basically:

The idea is simple: the entire score, musical concept or set of instructions for the piece has to fit on a postcard.

Also:

Please submit by REGULAR MAIL only! (not email)

As I was coming to the end of my travels in Spanish-speaking countries (Cuba and Mexico), I figured I was finished hearing a particular type of sound: the pregón. The dictionary definition of the word is ‘proclamation’ or ‘announcement’, but more typically it refers to the repetitive patter of street vendors, market stall-holders, touts, jineteros, etc. read more

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#llamadrama

This afternoon, Buz Bryant-Greene gives the première performance of my solo piano piece #llamadrama. That’s right, I’m so social media my composition is a hashtag.

Buz first played my music in May 2009, specifically the Sonatina for clarinet and piano with Anna McGregor. Before long, he followed it with Seven Banana Songs for soprano & piano, Maeve for piano & tape, and a silly little microscore called Drying Music.

However, still by then I had written no substantial solo piano piece for anybody, so Buz applied to Creative New Zealand in August 2010 for funds to commission me for a 10-12 minuter. Six weeks later we were granted success. I even got paid up-front! read more

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Upbeat on Upbeat

Just had an interview with Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand Concert’s Upbeat programme. I talk about:

In meinem letzten Leiden for Auckland Youth Orchestra (tomorrow in Whangarei, Sunday in Helensville, Friday 5 October in the Auckland Town Hall); Relish in Immature Bombast for Tim Noon, Jono Sawyer and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Thu 23 May 2013 in the Auckland Town Hall); The Piano Tuner’s Performance Appraisal for

Estrella read more

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When plans change.

I'm probably not supposed to do this to the logo.A month ago I was informed that my application for the 2013 University of Otago Mozart Fellowship was unsuccessful.

Given the largely consistent pattern in the last decade of Mozart Fellows having two years on the trot, I was under the illusion that a second term was assured as long as you were doing good work and got your application in on time.

Obviously I was wrong – all applications are assessed against each other fairly and without favouritism. Consequently I offer my congratulations to composer Samuel Holloway and the four other fellows just announced. read more

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LEN LYE a review

I’m in Auckland until this afternoon. I came up on Wednesday to see my former composition lecturer’s new piece LEN LYE the opera, and to review it for Theatreview. (Actually there are more like four of my old teachers among the core creative team…)

It’s “a major statement of advocacy for the overlooked genius and forward-thinking artistry of Len Lye”. My review’s here. The NBR and the Herald carry shorter write-ups.

Today I meet with Penny Ashton, Thomas Sainsbury and James Wenley about musicals in various stages of development. read more

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Leaps & Sounds

The Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have just announced Leaps & Sounds, and it’s a bloody great idea.

Since 2005, the NZSO has held an annual Young Composers Award, supported by the Todd Corporation. After a call for scores, the orchestra chooses a dozen or so pieces to be rehearsed and recorded. All the composers come to Wellington and get to work with the orchestra and a conductor, and Radio New Zealand Concert makes a programme of them as well.

For many of the composers, it’s the first time their works are played by a professional orchestra. It’s a chance to learn how to maximise limited rehearsal time – an essential skill in working with orchestras. read more

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