SOUNZ Commission for Orchestra and Sistema Youth Orchestra

SOUNZ and Orchestra Wellington are delighted to announce the work selected for the second SOUNZ Commission for Orchestra and Sistema Youth Orchestra: Auckland based composer and music teacher Claire Scholes will be working with Orchestra Wellington and Arohanui Strings – Sistema Hutt Valley on a new work. She is looking forward to writing a ‘children-lead’ piece, enhanced by the Orchestra Wellington musicians.

Predominantly known for her vocal writing, Claire also teaches at King’s College, Auckland, and works with the Sistema Aotearoa group at Otara, teaching singing and clarinet in addition to assisting with their string programme.

Claire said, “I am so thrilled that the opportunity to write for Arohanui Strings and the magnificent Orchestra Wellington has come my way. I can’t wait to get cracking on a vibrant work to combine the two ensembles – no spoilers just yet! I love my work as a tutor with Sistema Aotearoa in Auckland and am very much looking forward to meeting the talented tamariki and kaiako in Sistema Hutt Valley programme; and hearing their feedback, thoughts and contributions about the project. We will create something big and fabulous! Many many thanks to SOUNZ for providing this unique opportunity.”

This year, a total of ten proposals were submitted for the panel’s consideration. The project, which is now in its second year, is a collaboration between SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music, Orchestra Wellington and Arohanui Strings – Sistema Hutt Valley. Orchestra Wellington and Arohanui Strings will perform the new commission as part of their family concert at the Walter Nash Stadium in Lower Hutt in May 2019.

Conductor Marc Taddei, Music 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 Orchestra and Sistema Youth Orchestra. All musicians, young or old, beginner or virtuoso, must confront and absorb the music of today. Partnering professionals with young musicians offers them memorable experiences that can absolutely help change lives. The more of this music that is composed, the better.”

Arohanui Strings is a Sistema-inspired music education programme based in Lower Hutt. Claire will be working closely with the group throughout the rehearsal process. Alison Eldredge, Director of Arohanui Strings – Sistema Hutt Valley, is pleased to see the project happen again, “Arohanui Strings – Sistema Hutt Valley is delighted to participate once again in the project. We are excited to learn new soundscapes, work with our friends at Orchestra Wellington, meet the composer who is writing for us and play for friends and whānau at the glamorous concert in the Hutt. This time we are inviting the winning composer to teach composition at one of our 2019 Holiday Courses. Our students are lucky to have this experience.“

Last year, the first ever commission was awarded to Wellington composer Simon Eastwood and his work Infinity Mirror. The piece, inspired by the infinity mirror, was performed twice by Orchestra Wellington during the 2018 season: after the original performance at Walter Nash Stadium in Lower Hutt in May, the work was re-programmed for their concert at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre in October.

Diana Marsh, SOUNZ 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. Last year’s inaugural project with Simon Eastwood was a great success and we look forward to working with Claire for the 2019 commission.”

Claire Scholes 

Arohanui S