General Update

A generic travel-related icon.

A generic travel-related icon.

There are a whole lot of things that I should have written about, but haven’t. It’s been a while since an update.

In the last month I’ve moved cities from Dunedin to Auckland. Over my last week down south (10-17 December), I had a whole lot of stuff to finish off: my last Song Sale, recording the tracks for Promise & Promiscuity, recording further vocals of songs with other Song Salers, and producing a live radio broadcast from Albany Street Studios. And of course there was the simple fact that I was leaving Dunedin after my one year as Mozart Fellow, a damn significant time in my life… maybe I should blog about these things when they come to fruition. read more

Read more

The red piano.

Last week I was in Wellington and I had the opportunity to play He Kōrero Pūrākau mo te Awanui o Te Motu, that bright red piano ornately carved by Michael Parekowhai. I had a friend video some of the performances at Te Papa.

Here’s the YouTube playlist. It contains attempted Maori strum in Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi (yes, bajingajink on piano), a singalong on Poi E, a New Zealand music lesson on Pōkarekare Ana, the Split Enz classic Message to My Girl, and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.

And as a bonus, here’s Trubie-Dylan Smith’s Das kraftwerkische Blenderlied performed at the last Song Sale: read more

Read more

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

Read more

Instant Songwriting – now in dead tree form!

Dear world,

A while ago I contributed some backing tracks to a book project. Instant Songwriting is written by Chicago actor/teacher Nancy Howland Walker. It’s a series of exercises designed for improvisers who want to acquire that magic skill of song construction in the moment.

Through the first half of this year, its four parts (Dunce, Decent, Distinguished and Diva) were published as individual ebooks on Smashwords. Now the whole thing has been printed in paperback.

BUY IT FROM AMAZON NOW NOW NOW! It’s US$15.95 and eligible for free Super Saver Shipping, as they say. read more

Read more

City of the Future

Hamiltron - City of the Future

(Design thiefed from mrvintage.co.nz)

The programme for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival has been released. The whole festival runs from 17 February to 1 March 2012, and it’s held within the grounds of the best thing Hamilton has to offer. There are so many beautiful areas, especially the themed gardens (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, American modernist, etc), and many of the shows take advantage of those onnections.

For instance, in 2010 I performed inside the Victorian Garden Conservatory as the pianist in Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen – a slight anachronism in name (Jane Austen being from the Regency period some decades earlier), but very similar in culture and setting. read more

Read more

Austen Found – Zombie Time

Pride and Pestilence.

Pride and Pestilence.

I should blog about Austen Found – Zombie Time.

The short of it: I have played pianoforte for 31 public performances of Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen. We debuted it at the 2008 New Zealand Improv Festival in Wellington, sold out our drama school rehearsal room at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe, and were extremely well received in October last year as part of the STAMP Programme in Auckland.

Penny Ashton has more background on her own blog.

This new show, well, it’s a bit of a twist. I won’t have workshopped exactly this format with the cast before I get there, but all of us have improvised together before so I’m sure it’ll be just cooking. It is my first gig under the brand new Instant Kiwis banner – quite exciting. read more

Read more

New Zealand Improv Festival – systems go!

A lightbulb moment.So I missed the first night of the New Zealand Improv Festival in Wellington. I was filling in for Kate Mead on Sound Lounge. And I’ll miss the second night too. I’m filling in for Kate Mead on Nights with Bryan Crump. (See what happens when people take leave from work?!)

But I’ll be there the third, fourth and fifth nights, playing musical accompaniment for ten different shows. You should come. Book at BATS Theatre.

Two in particular leap out at me as being very exciting:

The Long Weekend. I blogged about this a few weeks ago but since then I’ve actually workshopped it with the players! The ideas they have will make for some emotionally honest improv – the disconnect between idealised memories of uni days and the reality of late-20s-hood / early-30s-hood is perfect fodder for interpersonal relationships to laugh and cry over. Thu 13 October, 9:30pm. read more

Read more

New Zealand Improv Festival

The cast of The Long Weekend, a brand new show from WIT debuting at the New Zealand Improv Festival.

The cast of The Long Weekend, a brand new show from WIT debuting at the New Zealand Improv Festival.

Just announced is the programme for the 2011 New Zealand Improv Festival, being held at BATS Theatre in Wellington from 11 to 15 October.

There are guests from Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Christchurch. I’ll be playing music for a significant number of the 18 shows.

Tickets can be booked through BATS Theatre, and there are multi-show deals too.

In other news, this website (robbie.co.nz) is still under construction. Had to have a WordPress reinstall a few days ago too. This weekend is the time to work on it. read more

Read more

Welcome to pressWord construction under still

It was about time for me to upgrade my website – a single HTML page was always just a bit manky. This’ll look a bit transitional for a while as I figure out how to properly customise WordPress, which I’ve never used before.

In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up in the next couple of months, mostly in Wellington but not exclusively:

Works with Words – this event at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival was recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert. Six works by New Zealand composers, including The Lover’s Knot, text by Renee Liang and music by me. Actor Stuart Devenie, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Kenneth Young. (Radio New Zealand Concert, Tue 20 September, 9pm.)
Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh in The First Asian A* B*

Paul Fagamalo & Benjamin Teh in The First Asian A* B* (13-18 Sept Auckland; 22 Sept-1 Oct Wellington)

The First Asian A* B* by Renee Liang – it’s a two-hander play which, for trademark reasons, is not called The First Asian All Black. There’s a season in Auckland first (Basement, 13-18 September) and Andrew Corrêa is doing the live music there. I go up to Auckland for the last two shows to see how he does it, then I’ll be taking over his duties for the Wellington season (BATS Theatre, 22 September to 1 October, 6pm).

  • Zomburlesque – I’ll be doin’ some old-time rag-time out-of-time trombone playing as part of Right Reverend Dr Splitfoot’s Goodtime Brimstone Band. If you didn’t pick it up, the title is a portmanteau of zombies and burlesque. (Bodega, 2, 3, 5 & 6 October, 8:30pm.)
  • The 2011 New Zealand Improv Festival – it’s back at BATS! The programme will be released shortly. (11-15 October.)
  • Austen Found: Zombie Time. I go up to Auckland to perform at the brand new Q Theatre with Instant Kiwis – they’re a group of performers who’ll be doing late-night improv every Friday night at Q. This’ll be my 78th improvised musical, a bit of a mashup along the lines of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. (Fri 21 October, 9pm.)
  • Now, back to finding a decent events listing for WordPress… read more

    Read more