SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand MusicSt Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra (SMCO) and Composers Association of New Zealand (CANZ) are delighted to announce the works selected for the SMCO Composer Project this year. The following works were chosen by a panel consisting of representatives of the SMCO and CANZ, and will be workshopped by the orchestra in March and performed in a concert on 30 July at St Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland:

Postcards from Eden – Chris Adams (Auckland)
Prelude in D minor – Matthew Beardsworth (Auckland)
Dance Class – Graham Parsons (Palmerston North)
Waiting for Hercules – Patrick Shepherd (Christchurch)

Selected composer Matthew Beardsworth, is a 17 year old student from Auckland. “It is a huge honour for me to have my composition selected for the 2017 SMCO Composer Project. As a young composer having ‘Prelude in D Minor’ performed by an accomplished orchestra in a fantastic venue will be a very special achievement for me. I hope this opportunity will open the doors for more of my works to be performed by professional groups.”

SMCO Composer Project

The SMCO Composer Project is a collaboration between the Orchestra, CANZ and SOUNZ, aiming to create a collection of high quality resources for composers, non-professional orchestras and orchestra directors, and to enable future collaborations on new commissions. As part of the project, composer mentors from CANZ will give guidance to early career composers.

Graham Parsons, from Palmerston North, recognises the value of getting compositions performed as part of the project, “A composer’s work can only become alive when it is performed. I am therefore most grateful for this rare opportunity to have my orchestral piece, ‘Dance Class’, tested in performance by the St Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra.”

London-based New Zealand conductor, and Musical Director of the SMCO, Michael Joel , said, “I’m delighted that SOUNZ, CANZ and SMCO are teaming up again to encourage composers to write for SMCO. It’s always such a thrill to discover new pieces in rehearsal and to hear them in the flesh for the first time and I know our audience loves joining us on the journey!”

Diana Marsh, SOUNZ Executive Director, is pleased to see the project come to fruition again, “One of our key responsibilities is to connect composers with performers and presenters, to provide continuous opportunities for New Zealand music to be heard. Through activities like the SMCO Composer Project, SOUNZ enables engagement with performers and composers at all levels of experience.”

This is the second time the organisations have collaborated on the project. “The SMCO Composer Project is a wonderful opportunity for composers to develop their skills writing for non-professional orchestras. The chance to revise one’s work after a workshop and prior to a public performance is incredibly rewarding, providing composers with the opportunity to take creative risks while also ensuring that the end result will be a well considered piece and high quality performance. The Composers Association of NZ is delighted to collaborate with SOUNZ and the St Matthews Chamber Orchestra in this project,” said Dr Glenda Keam, CANZ President.


SOUNZ blog is designed for expressive discussion and debate amongst the arts and broader community. This is intended to be a safe space so please remember to keep comments respectful and avoid personal attacks, criticisms of specific organisations and defamatory language. Comments are moderated to ensure that they comply with SOUNZ’s Community guidelines.