Bridging three millennia of music, Stroma ‘s own string quartet teamed up with early music specialists Kamala Bain (recorder) and Rowena Simpson (soprano) in the surroundings of Sacred Heart Basilica in Wellington.
Works by New Zealand composers were interleaved with arrangements of Medieval and Renaissance music from composers who pushed the boundaries of music, often foreshadowing twentieth-century developments. One work was even based on the earliest known notated melody dating from 1400BC. The concert also featured the premiere of a new work by Wellington composer Chris Watson.
The concert can be streamed in its entirety here.
The works by New Zealand composers can be heard below.
Jack Body (1944-2015) studied at Auckland University, in Cologne and at the Institute of Sonology, Utrecht. During 1976-77 he was a guest lecturer at the Akademi Musik Indonesia, Yogyakarta, and from 1980 to 2010 he lectured at the School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, now the New Zealand School of Music.
Jack Body specialised in cross-cultural composition, both in his own music as well as in his teaching. At Victoria University of Wellington he established a residency for traditional musicians to work collaboratively with composition staff and students. These guests included, from Indonesia, Agus Supriawan, Dody Ekagustdiman (both from West Java), Rafiloza bin Rafii (Minangkabau), Wayan Yudane (Bali), and, from Kalinga, north Philippines, Benny Sokkong. These residencies generated new compositions, recorded for broadcast and CD publication. In his own composition he integrated other musical cultures as in Campur Sari for Javanese musician and string quartet, and Polish Folk Dances , for clarinet and Javanese Gamelan.
Simon Eastwood is a composer and bass player from Wellington. Having only picked up double bass in his last year of high school, he began having lessons from New Zealand Symphony Orchestra sub-principal Vicki Jones and after three months he successfully auditioned to study performance at the Victoria University School of Music. After a year of further study with Vicki he also began studies in composition with Jack Body, John Psathas, Dugal McKinnon and later Michael Norris.
In 2005 he won first place in the NZSM Composers’ Competition with Tempest for amplified clarinet, double bass, and piano. Encouraged by this success, he went on to complete a Bmus in Performance Double Bass and Composition, and then a Bmus with first class honours in Composition. He has recently completed studying towards a Masters degree from the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Mary Binney: Enfance
Mary Binney studied composition at the University of Auckland with John Elmsly and Eve de Castro-Robinson, completing a Bachelor of Music with Honours in 2003, and later returned to complete a Masters in Music Analysis under the supervision of Dr Fiona McAlpine.
She was awarded a prize in the 2001 Lilburn Trust Composition Prize Concert, has had works performed by various local and international performers and ensembles, including Andrew Uren, Mark Menzies, Gateseven, Dylan Lardelli and Stroma, has composed music for film and live theatre. Mary was Co-convenor of the 2008, 2009 and 2012 Nelson Composers Workshop, is a current member of the CANZ Committee and has represented New Zealand as a delegate at Asian Composers League (ACL) and International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) events. Mary currently lives in Auckland.
The music of Chris Watson (PhD, VUW, 2007) has enjoyed premieres by orchestras including the Tokyo Philharmonic, the New Zealand Symphony and the West Australian, ensembles such as Stroma, the Song Company, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna and 175 East and soloists including Yuji Takahashi, Rieko Suzuki, Andrew Uren, Lars Mlekusch, Sarah Watkins and Madeleine Pierard.
He was Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago in 2008 and 2009, was the winner of the 2002 Asian Composers’ League Young Composers Competition, was the 2004 recipient of the Composers’ Association of New Zealand Trust Fund Award and won the Panel Prize in the 2006 Douglas Lilburn Prize.
Chris graduated in 2007 with a PhD in composition from Victoria University of Wellington under the supervision of Ross Harris and Dugal McKinnon. A thesis and a body of new works investigated the effects of music notation software on compositional practices and outcomes.
Rachael Morgan’s compositional interests lie in the nature of sound and timbral nuances.
Recent pieces include a new work for Ensemble Reconsil Wien, from a fixed point commissioned by 175 East, Mata[hou]rua , for bass clarinetist Richard Haynes, and lithe turning, black azure for three cellists, premiered by Okta.
In 2008– 09 Rachael was the recipient of the Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship, allowing her to further her composition studies in the UK and Europe.
She attended Gaudeamus Music Week, Strasbourg Musica, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Darmstadt International Summer School for New Music, where she had lessons with Marco Stroppa, Isabel Mundry and Misato Mochizuki.