The winning project for this year’s SOUNZ Community Commission will see composer Riki Gooch (Ngāti Wai/Patuharakeke/Ngāti Māhanga Hourua) create Te Hou Nui a composition for mass musical performances at Wellington’s CubaDupa arts festival in March 2022.

The anonymous project donor selected the winning proposal by Riki, who said:

“The grant from SOUNZ has made a huge difference in the writing process, as it has allowed me the time to focus on the music; to research and explore different large ensemble concepts.  I’m hoping to create a score that is not a bore to play for experienced musicians, but accessible enough for anyone to jump into the music, whatever level they are with their instrument.  Ka nui te mihi ki te whānau SOUNZ!”

 The creative kaupapa around this composition is the idea of musical ‘smoke signals’ – a concept inspired by the Māori method of lighting a fire to create musical ‘smoke signals’ to communicate with each other (call and response, starting/stopping, musical responses).

Te Hou Nui will be composed for a large ensemble of 200+ musicians, from all backgrounds and stages of musical development.  The overall large ensemble will be made up of four separate ensembles of 50+ players. Ensemble members will come from the Wellington City Concert Band, Te Ahi a Tahurangi Kapa Haka, Wellington Batucada, Wellington Community Choir, the NZSM Big Band, The Glorious Ssendam Rawkustra Band, Ngā Taonga Pūoro o te Ūpoko o te Ika, and members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

 The SOUNZ Community Commission brings together New Zealand professional composers and community groups to create and perform a new work. It was established in 1999 and has resulted in works for diverse groups and ensembles such as a community group for young people with learning disabilities, community choirs, experimental sound artists, youth orchestras and children’s theatre.

Photo credit: Celeste Fontein