Season 1, Episode 3

Moments in time

Cries of Auckland: Eve de Castro-Robinson

A composer’s response to critical moments in time: The moments when time pivots and history changes course. Tau’ili’ili Alpha Maiava & Charlotte Wilson host this series about the music of Aotearoa New Zealand that follows moments in our history that have had an impact on us and changed or altered who we are.

“Solidarity is a hugely important thing, in life, particularly in this period of ghastly late capitalism. If you don’t have solidarity within the cornerstones of justice and what’s right for people and workers, you don’t have very much to base a society on. So I think that’s the root of what I enjoy about protests. It’s the people, where everyone is feeling as one, and marching with a purpose. There’s something very powerful about that to me as a creative individual.”

New Zealand’s biggest city has seen its fair share of protests and noise. And who better to capture the voice of that city than a composer who has never been shy of politics, who has a deep fascination with soundscapes and colours, textures, and the possibilities of the human voice. She is Eve de Castro-Robinson, and in ‘Cries of Auckland’, she begins with the cries that punctuated her childhood — the cries of the ‘Star’ newspaper boys on Queen Street — as a springboard for the cries that she herself has chanted in protest marches through the streets of Auckland through the decades.

In this programme, Eve talks about her relationship with Auckland, protests, sonic art, graphic design, her composing philosophy, and her development of a creative persona and voice that is always arresting — beautiful, colourful, thought-provoking, and above all, rooted in the real world.

Host: Charlotte Wilson
Guests: Eve de Castro-Robinson

Links & Resources

More details on the composer and the associated work here.
Link to the film of Cries of Auckland

This episode was brought to you by SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music.

Production team

  • Executive Producer: Diana Marsh
  • Producer: Charlotte Wilson
  • Sound Engineer: Phil Brownlee

Special thanks to RNZ Concert for providing the audio of Cries of Auckland performed by the Karlheinz Company

Moments in time

A composer’s response to critical moments in time: The moments when time pivots and history changes course. Tau’ili’ili Alpha Maiava & Charlotte Wilson host this series about the music of Aotearoa New Zealand that follows moments in our history that have had an impact on us and changed or altered who we are.


Charlotte Wilson

Charlotte Wilson​ is a radio presenter and producer who began her career with Radio NZ, and spent a number of years as a presenter for RNZ Concert, including the arts interview show ‘Upbeat’ and the contemporary music show ‘Sound Lounge’. She has also worked as an announcer for BBC Radio 3 and is currently one of the hosts for KBAQ in the USA.


Eve de Castro-Robinson

Eve de Castro-Robinson has been commissioned and performed by a wide variety of performers, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, with whom she was Composer-in-Residence in 1991, Chamber Music New Zealand, the New Zealand String Quartet, NZ Trio, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, the Nash Ensemble of London and many soloists including Alexander Ivashkin, Jane Manning, Nicholas Isherwood and Stephen De Pledge. Her output ranges from large orchestral to vocal, chamber and electroacoustic works which are performed in NZ and internationally.

In 1986 Pierre Boulez conducted her Interpolations for orchestra in open rehearsal in Wellington. Her Triple Clarinet Concerto was the 1992 NZ entry in the International Rostrum of Composers, Paris and she is twice winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award (for Chaos of Delight III in 1998 and These arms to hold you in 2007) and a finalist in 2006. She is also twice winner of the Philip Neill Memorial Prize in Music from the University of Otago. She was the first person to graduate DMus in Composition from the University of Auckland in 1991 and is currently Associate-Professor in Composition there.

de Castro-Robinson is Co-Chair | Toihau Matarua of the SOUNZ Board of Trustees. She has been Secretary of the Composers’ Association of New Zealand, Convenor of the Nelson Composers’ Workshop, awarded the CANZ Trust Fund Award 2000 and was co-founder of CadeNZa, New Zealand Contemporary Music Ensemble. She had held residencies at the Atlantic Centre for the Arts, Florida, and at the Banff Centre. de Castro-Robinson has often been an adjudicator, speaker, writer, reviewer and broadcaster on musical topics, and is a trained graphic designer.

She has three solo CDs on the Atoll label: Releasing the angel (2011), five orchestral works recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Other echoes (2001), works for orchestra and Chaos of Delight (1998), chamber works by various performers. There are works on many other CDs and many of her scores are published by Waiteata Press, Wellington. In 2004 she was awarded a ‘de Castro-Robinson Portrait’ concert in the NZ International Festival of the Arts in Wellington. 2006 saw a special 50th birthday concert mounted in her honour by the Karlheinz Company, University of Auckland and in 2009 the Auckland Chamber Orchestra staged a de Castro-Robinson portrait concert A Resonance of Emerald.

Her LEN LYE the opera, a 90-minute five-act multi-media chamber opera, to a libretto by Roger Horrocks, ran a sold-out season at the Maidment Theatre, Auckland, in September 2012. Her large-scale commission for the NZSO The glittering hosts of heaven, was premiered in June 2013. In 2015 Host was commissioned for the Auckland Chamber Choir, and No.3 was commissioned as part of Stroma’s Nine Echoes project. 2016 saw the premiere of the sea-eye flashes by the Aotea Flute Quartet, as well as quiet at her window commissioned by Aventa Ensemble. 2018 saw her win Best Classical Artist at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards for her Rattle album The Gristle of Knuckles and she is twice winner of both the SOUNZ Contemporary Award and the Philip Neill Prize.

Eve de Castro-Robinson has recently retired as Associate Professor in Composition from the University of Auckland, after 25 years, and now works as a freelance composer, music consultant and writer.