In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Andrew Stopps.
Please tell us about yourself and what you do.
I have taught for over 25 years in Australia, UK and New Zealand. My teaching experience ranges from a woodwind instrumental teacher and band director in rural South Australia to Head of Music at the Australian International Performing Arts High School in Sydney. In 2009 I moved to New Zealand and in 2012 I was a finalist for the NEITA Excellence in Teaching Award.
I am the founder of the Wellington City Concert Band, NZ Youth Symphonic Winds and the Wellington Band and Orchestra Festival and the GleeNZ Showchoir. I am also the founder and President of the Association of Band and Orchestra Director Aotearoa (NZ) and of the Hoa Project that provides support and mentoring to music teachers around New Zealand. I hold a Bachelor of Music Education from Adelaide University and undertook Postgraduate studies in Conducting and Musical Direction at WAAPA in Perth. I am currently undertaking pre-Doctoral studies in Music Education.
I have been a composer and arranger since High School and my arrangements are performed by ensembles around the world. I travelled this year to Washington DC for the World Premiere of my work “Welcome to Aotearoa” for concert band.
I have also just been appointed Director of the Chilton Music School, New Zealand’s first specialist music high school based in Lower Hutt, Wellington.
Please choose 2-3 of your works and tell us about them.
‘Welcome to Aotearoa’ was premiered in Washington DC in May 2019. The piece started as a fanfare and flourish for a combined 300 piece massed concert band featuring the Narashino High Concert Band from Japan on their New Zealand tour. Since that performance, it has been reworked to take the listener on a listening tour of the country. The piece has the following sections, the opening Kia Ora fanfare, The Great Lake (Taupo), The Misty Mountains (Mt Ruapehu), Hobbitses, Welcome Fanfare.
‘Hithaeglir: The Misty Mountains’ was also premiered in 2019 in Auckland and is written for orchestra and piano. It was inspired by the Tongariro National Park and uses colours and textures to paint a picture of the volcanic mountains. The piece started life as a short piano solo that was composed for my Father’s memorial service.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on the “Middle Earth Suite” which is a symphonic audio journey around New Zealand/ Aotearoa based on my own travels and inspired by photographs taken by my husband Sean Cole.
The movements include “Choral and Fugue to Middle Earth”, “Hobbits Dance”, “Return to Rivendell”, “The Misty Mountains” and “The Pillars of Kings”.
Would you like to tell us anything else?I also produce music educational materials for the NZSO and APO and have a large catalogue of teaching resources available here: https://forms.gle/a7zFJKwGe6GuJnuU7
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