SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music is delighted to announce that Auckland-based composer Victoria Kelly has won the 2023 SOUNZ Contemporary Award | Te Tohu Auaha with Requiem for soprano, tenor, orchestra and choir.
Victoria Kelly says, “Writing Requiem and sending it into the world has been a transformational experience and something I couldn’t possibly have done on my own. I’m incredibly grateful to the many people who offered me their expertise, their voices, their championship, and their patience as it came to fruition. Sending music into the world is always terrifying – and this piece was particularly terrifying because it’s so very personal. Knowing that Requiem has resonated and connected with people is the most I could ever have hoped for. I’m deeply honoured by this award and so thankful to be part of the community of people that Te Tohu Auaha represents.”
Victoria Kelly was presented with the Award at the 2023 APRA Silver Scroll Awards held at the Spark Arena on Wednesday, 4 October.
SOUNZ Chief Executive Diana Marsh says, “Victoria Kelly’s ‘Requiem’ is a stunning composition that represents the high quality of works being produced in New Zealand. It is a considerable work, which deftly and sensitively sets the works of New Zealand poets. This artistry is acknowledged by The SOUNZ Contemporary Award, which has now been running for over two decades. Victoria’s poignant exposition of life, in all its hues, is certainly a Requiem to remember. Congratulations to Victoria on this very significant accomplishment!”
The SOUNZ Contemporary Award | Te Tohu Auaha, now in its 26th year, recognises New Zealand compositions demonstrating outstanding levels of creativity and inspiration and has been presented in collaboration with APRA AMCOS NZ since 1998.
This was Victoria Kelly’s first nomination for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award | Te Tohu Auaha. The award-winning composer works across a variety of musical genres including contemporary classical, film and popular music.
Requiem is a work that has been contemplated for 30 years by the composer. It exists as a reflection of the profound events that served as its inspiration — as Victoria describes, “the death of my parents; the loss of friends; the experiencing, witnessing and sharing of grief; the advent of love; the birth of children; the beauty and hostility of the world; and the wonder of the universe.” Requiem was composed with the support of Creative New Zealand.
Victoria Kelly says, “The music of ‘Requiem’ ebbs and flows around the poetry. Tides are generated by simple melodic shapes that rise and fall. As the melodies reach for each other they create harmony. The tenor, far beyond his natural register, represents our vulnerability, our hope and fear. The soprano, with her austere purity, is something immutable and beyond us.”
The winning work was selected through an anonymous process by a judging panel of independent industry representatives including international judge, David Pay (Canada), and New Zealanders Anthony Ritchie, Justine Cormack, Sonya Waters and Somi Kim. This year, 78 works were entered by 74 composers, demonstrating the high quality of New Zealand composition through a wide variety of outstanding works.