SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music, with APRA AMCOS NZ, is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2017 SOUNZ Contemporary Award, celebrating excellence in contemporary composition.
A judging panel of independent industry representatives was convened by SOUNZ and included an international composer representative Gao Ping (China/NZ) and New Zealanders Chris Cree Brown, Stephen de Pledge, Bridget Douglas and Marc Taddei.
The panel commented on the diverse range of styles and approaches to the art of composition demonstrated in the 34 works entered in this year’s competition, exhibiting New Zealand’s vibrant and highly creative music scene.
“Based on this year’s works entered into the SOUNZ Contemporary Award, New Zealand contemporary classical music is in a particularly vibrant place. The wealth of styles on display, the extraordinary craftsmanship of the finest works, and the real sense of music that speaks to our culture was inspiring to absorb.”
Last year’s winner, and second time finalist, Salina Fisher, is the youngest ever winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award. She said, “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be nominated for this year’s SOUNZ Contemporary Award. It’s particularly exciting to be recognised for what I feel is a new direction in my creative path.” Salina was the 2015 NZSO National Youth Orchestra Composer-in-Residence, and the 2014-2015 Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s ‘Rising Star’ Young Composer-in-Residence. Her SOUNZ Contemporary Award winning work, Rainphase, was also selected for the 2016 NZSO-RNZ Concert-SOUNZ Recordings. Tōrino was commissioned in 2016 by Chamber Music New Zealand for performance by the New Zealand String Quartet, and it will represent New Zealand at the ISCM World New Music Days 2017.
“What I like about the SOUNZ Contemporary Award is that it puts our composers in the spotlight. It’s amazing to be able to celebrate our work, and I am delighted to be a finalist, alongside two composers whom I greatly respect. I’ve admired Jeroen’s music since I was a kid, and Salina’s from when she was a kid! I feel honoured to be able to represent contemporary music at the Silver Scrolls,” said Chris Gendall, who won the Award in 2008 with Wax Lyrical and is now nominated for the fifth time. Chris has held residencies at Orchestra Wellington and at the New Zealand School of Music, and he is the Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago for 2016 and 2017. Incident Tableaux was premiered last year at the Asia-Europe New Music Festival and Asian Composers League Festival.
Second time finalist Jeroen Speak is based in the UK and has been working internationally for over twenty years. “It is very inspiring seeing the high quality of new music being composed by New Zealand’s younger generation today. Salina Fisher and Chris Gendall are both remarkable composers, with unique voices, I congratulate them both,” he said. Jeroen was the Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music and Orchestra Wellington Composer-in-Residence in 2013. Serendipity Fields was premiered by NZTrio last year.
The winner of the 2017 SOUNZ Contemporary Award will be announced at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards held at the Dunedin Town Hall on Thursday 28 September.
APRA AMCOS NZ has also announced the finalists for the Maioha Award and the awards for the Best Original Music in a Film and in a Series. The finalists for the annual APRA Silver Scroll Award will be announced on Thursday 24 August. APRA will also be inducting a songwriter/s into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.
The SOUNZ Contemporary Award, presented in collaboration with APRA AMCOS NZ, has been awarded since 1998, recognising New Zealand compositions that demonstrate outstanding levels of creativity and inspiration.