Performance next week with Te Kōkī Orchestra

Over the last few months, I have had the great pleasure of working together with Dr Kira Omelchenko and the Te Kōkī Orchestra, developing a new work for large ensemble. We started with a melodic outline, and a few harmonic suggestions, and we have devised a short performance for the whole orchestra. It’s been exciting to hear the contributions of the players, and I’m honoured to share the creative ownership of this performance with them.

The piece is called E Toru Ngā Karakia, three movements addressed to Ranginui, Tangaroa, and Papatūānuku. It takes on the function of a karakia at the beginning of the concert, bringing the performers together with each other, and with the audience, to a place of focus for the music which follows.

The concert is in the Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University of Wellington, Thursday 23 May, 7pm.

Booking details are here.

Adam Chamber Music Festival

The annual Adam Chamber Music Festival is on in Whakatū. Yesterday, the New Zealand String Quartet performed Manaaki – co-composed with Ariana Tikao – with Bob Bickerton playing the taonga puoro part. Bob was a significant contributor to the process of making this piece, and was scheduled to perform the premiere at the same Festival in 2022 (cancelled due to COVID), so we’re thrilled to have him play it this year.

Tomorrow, 8 February, Justin DeHart plays the premiere if Catchpool valley, early autumn, for vibraphone and environmental sound. It’s been a great pleasure to work closely with Justin on this piece, and I’m looking forward to further performances, and a recording later this year.

Justin’s concert is at 2pm, Thursday 8 February, at Nelson Centre of Musical Arts. Bookings on the Festival’s website.

NZSQ on tour with Manaaki

New Zealand String Quartet, Woven Pathways, National Tour 2023

New Zealand String Quartet’s current tour includes Manaaki in one of its programmes, with Horomona Horo playing taonga puoro.

Concerts are in Rotorua on Friday 1 September, and Kirikiriroa on Saturday 2 September.

Details are on NZSQ’s website.

The programme also includes Gillian Whitehead’s Hine-pū-te-hue, which was commissioned for Richard Nunns with NZSQ in 2001, and Schubert’s quartet D804 “Rosamunde”.

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra perform Manaaki

Ariana Tikao, performing with Dunedin Symphony Orchestra

This week, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s concert, Celebrating Matariki – Whakanuia Matariki, includes a performance of Manaaki, which I co-wrote with Ariana Tikao. This version is adapted for orchestral strings from the original quartet, and features Ariana playing taonga puoro. The conductor is Brent Stewart.

The image is Ariana performing with DSO last year, in Ko te tātai whetū, with Alistair Fraser and Marc Taddei.

The concert also includes music by Larry Pruden, Brigid Bisley, a new commission from Gillian Whitehead, and Mozart.

There are two performances: Saturday 22 July 5pm, and Sunday 23 July, 3pm, both at King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre, Ōtepoti, Aotearoa.

Details and booking information are here.

Two premieres next week

Next week, I’m thrilled to have two premieres coming up.

On Wednesday 17 May, Nathaniel Otley and Tom McGraw are presenting the New Zealand premiere of Pariwhero, for violin and piano, in Ōtepoti. The concert is in Marama Hall, at the University of Otage, at 1pm.

Dr. Jacqueline Wilson, bassoon
Dr. Jacqueline Wilson, bassoon
Then, on Friday in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, there is a concert by bassoonist Dr. Jacqueline Wilson. She will be presenting an ongoing project of commissioning and collaboration with indigenous composers in the United States (including herself). I’ve really enjoyed working together, as she expands the project into an international kōrero. Jacqui will play the premiere of our new piece The Habits of Leaves, and I’m really looking forward to hearing it.

The concert is in the Adam Concert Room, at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University, at 12:10pm.

Neither university has especially detailed events pages, but here are Facebook events for both concerts:


Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Manaaki nominated for Te Tohu Auaha

I’m very happy to announce that Manaaki, for taonga puoro and string quartet, is a finalist for this year’s Te Tohu Auaha/SOUNZ Contemporary award. Here is the announcement.

The work is co-composed with Ariana Tikao, and it’s been fantastic to extend and deepen that creative relationship. We’re very grateful to the New Zealand String Quartet for their support, and to Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts for financial backing, and providing an online platform for the premiere under difficult conditions. Thanks also to Horomona Horo for subsequent performances, and to Bob Bickerton for his assistance in the development process.

And congratulations to the other finalists, Reuben Jelleyman and Neville Hall.

Ko te tātai whetū in Ōtepoti

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s concert, Celebrating Matariki – Whakanuia Matariki, includes a performance of Ko te tātai whetū, with Ariana Tikao and Alistair Fraser as soloists.

The concert is on Saturday 2 July, at 7:30pm, in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Ariana and I are really happy that our collaborative work has an ongoing life, and we’re really looking forward to working with the orchestra, and conductor Marc Taddei.

Details are here.