SOUNZ and Orchestra Wellington are delighted to announce the work selected for the first ever Commission for Emerging Players: Simon Eastwood’s Infinity Mirror.

SOUNZ Commission for Emerging Players is a new collaboration with SOUNZ and Orchestra Wellington with Arohanui Strings, who will perform the commission in a concert at the Walter Nash Stadium in Lower Hutt in May 2018.

Simon Eastwood is a composer and bass player, originally from Wellington. He is currently studying towards a Doctorate of Musical Arts at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music. “I’m extremely excited to be offered this commission, this is a great chance to showcase the students’ abilities and the amazing work being done by Alison and the rest of the team. I’ve been working with Arohanui Strings myself as a bass teacher for some time now, so I’m also looking forward to displaying another side of my musicianship which the students won’t have seen before, and maybe even presenting some new and stimulating ideas as to what music can be in the 21st century. Orchestra Wellington seems to be going from strength to strength every year, their consistent commitment in supporting both the Arohanui Strings programme, and the music of New Zealand composers, has been fantastic, and I know they’ll do a great job with whatever I present them.”

Simon’s work is inspired by the infinity mirror, which is created when two reflective surfaces are placed side by side. As well as being a powerful visual image, the infinity mirror serves as a metaphor for the inter-generational exchange which will be seen on stage with this commission.

Diana MarshSOUNZ Executive Director, said, “We are delighted to be able to work with Orchestra Wellington and the Arohanui Strings. At SOUNZ we want to offer the opportunity for everyone to enjoy New Zealand music and what better way to do this than engaging one of our composers to write for the combined forces of an orchestra with these young musicians. This is the first time we’re running a project like this and we look forward to similar collaborations in the future.”

Conductor Marc TaddeiMusic Director of Orchestra Wellington, said, “I cherish the connection that has developed between Orchestra Wellington and the Arohanui Strings. Using the power of music to effect social change and positively impact on people’s lives underlines everything that is great about our art. I couldn’t be more pleased about SOUNZ Commission for Emerging Players. All musicians, young or old, beginner or virtuoso, must confront and absorb the music of today. Partnering professionals with young musicians offers young musicians memorable experiences that can absolutely help change lives. The more of this music that is composed, the better.”

Simon Eastwood
About Infinity Mirror:
The work takes its inspiration from the infinity mirror, which is created when two reflective surfaces are placed side by side. This effect is often seen in dressing rooms, elevators, or in a hall of mirrors, where each mirror is reflected in the other, creating a series of gradually diminishing reflections which appear to recede infinitely into the distance. As well as being a powerful visual image, the infinity mirror serves as a metaphor for the inter-generational exchange which we will see on stage with this commission. The younger generation learns from the old, and then hopefully passes that knowledge on again when they grow up. Each generation is therefore a reflection of the previous one. As a bass teacher at Arohanui Strings I can already see this process in action, with some of the older students coming back to teach our beginners. Add Orchestra Wellington into this picture and the metaphor becomes even larger, if we were to trace each player’s musical ‘lineage’ from mentor to mentor we would probably find a number of paths which lead to somewhere in Europe in the distant past.

From a musical point of view, the idea of the infinity mirror metaphor will be reflected in the relationship between the orchestras. The Arohanui Strings play a fairly simple melody, which is then picked up, reflected, and transformed by the larger orchestra. Successive repetitions of the melody become more and more distorted, similar to the way in which reflections in the infinity mirror become gradually less distinct.