Victoria University of Wellington’s Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) has announced New Zealand artist Rob Thorne (Ngati Tumutumu, Hauraki, Tainui) as the next Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence. He will move to Wellington in July to take up residence in the former home of Douglas Lilburn. He will be NZSM’s fourteenth composer-in-residence.

Rob Thorne is a Palmerston North musician of 25 years’ experience, who has spent the last 15 of those years researching, playing and performing taonga pūoro—traditional Māori instruments. His work since 2001 with traditional Māori musical instruments has seen him recently complete a Master of Arts in Social Anthropology and in 2014 he published the album Whaia te Maramatanga with Rattle Records, a solo album of original taonga pūoro compositions.

Rob’s pūtōrino improvisations inspired Salina Fisher ’s Chamber Music New Zealand commission Tōrino , which you can view on our website, performed by New Zealand String Quartet. In his time at NZSM, Mr Thorne will work on collaborative and solo works, all involving taonga pūoro.

“The School has always had a strong focus and identifying attitude toward the New Zealand sound—something that I am passionate about. Taonga pūoro is the first music of Aotearoa, and the development and scope of it, is the development and scope of New Zealand music in itself. I look forward to having the time, space and support to concentrate on my work in a historically amazing institution.”

Rob Thorne


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