2010 through the eyes of a blog

monkey-thinkingIt is December 31 and I just wondered "what exactly has happened this year?" So through the eyes of this blog, let's have a look. We'll start with January and the tail end of our South America trip, along with the workshopping and recording of my music in Brazil.

January 4th Leg Four – Argentina to Paraguay to Brazil January 11th Leg Five – Rio de Janeiro to Paraty to Auckland January 12th A day with Sphaera

After spending too many hours hunting down good repertoire for my school orchestras, in February I explored the efforts of conducting. I also set up my newsletter with MailChimp.

February 20th Conducting – 90% perspiration, 10% exhilaration February 26th Automating the monthly issue

It was a plentiful month of posts in March, many on great discoveries I recently made but also highlighted a new piece, Picture for Emily, for my niece.

March 14th Sibelius First – if you’re so inclined March 15th Moana Ataahua programme launched March 16th Picture for Emily – aiming for the small market March 16th Scoring Avatar March 18th My indispensables March 19th If Lake Taupo was a piece of music, what would it sound like?

In April it was all about preparing Moana Ataahua for its massive premiere at the ERUPT Lake Taupo Festival.

April 24th Moana Ataahua set to ERUPT in May (article from SOUNZ) April 28th Moana Ataahua, the rehearsals begin

I explored digital music stands in May, how they compare and how I wanted one. Do I still want one now? That is another post!

May 15th Digital music stands, hook me up – Music Pad, Music Reader, eStand

I summed up the Moana Ataahua premiere in June and did a very popular post on music apps for your iOS devices.

June 1st Moana Ataahua, the premiere June 2nd iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad apps for the music professional

It was great to see plenty of music getting performed through July.

July 12th Wild Daisies premiere July 18th Breathe In, Breathe Out – a concert of overtures and finales July 27th SoundCloud, move your music July 29th Three pieces performed by Brazil’s Sphaera Ensemble

The Auckland schools orchestra festival happened in August, so did some pondering on music theory.

August 27th Sounds great! I want it, I want it now August 30th KBB Music Festival 2010, thumbs up August 31st Music theory, do we need it or not?

Spent a fantastic few days in Wellington in September recording Rakaia with the NZSO. Also, Rhian Sheehan's amazing score for The Cult, which I helped out with, won best score!

September 9th More iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad apps for the music professional September 20th The Cult wins at Qantas Film and Television Awards September 23rd NZSO/SOUNZ Readings 2010

In November I did a three part post looking at music printing, engravers, copyists and how things are changing. I also hooked up Sibelius users with some great resources!

November 29th So, you’re a Sibelius user? November 30th Music printing, a journey for engravers (part 1 of 3) November 30th Music copying and confusion (part 2 of 3) November 30th Changing times for music preparers (part 3 of 3)

As you would expect, I got festive in December but also looked at a new feature for sounz.org.nz.

December 7th A Christmas wish list for composer-musicians December 24th SOUNZ moves forward, again December 24th Merry Christmas and very best wishes for the New Year

Happy New Year everyone!!

Three pieces performed by Brazil's Sphaera Ensemble

On July 9, the Sphaera Ensemble performed three of my pieces, The Attic, Reclusion and In Their Light, in a concert at the Sesi Theatre, Santos, São Paulo, Brazil. I conducted these three and other pieces with the ensemble while I was there in December/January. They first performed The Attic in 2008. Reclusion and In Their Light have been added to their repertoire this year. Here are some photos of the concert and a video of The Attic performance (taken by Laira Dalileia):

Sphaera Santos Brazil 6

Sphaera Santos Brazil 12

Sphaera Santos Brazil 5

Sphaera Santos Brazil 4

Sphaera Santos Brazil 1

A day with Sphaera

Recently in São Paulo, Brazil, I had a great time working with the very fine Sphaera Ensemble and writing with their conductor and arranger Alexey Kurkdjian. I got to know these guys a few years ago and since then have done several arrangements for them and in 2009 they had two of my pieces in their repertoire, giving several performances. Initial plans were made to have a concert together, but early on we decided to take a different path. We decided to get together for a day and rehearse my music, introduce some NZ classics and then make a recording of our work together. This I was very happy with. The Sphaera Ensemble consists of:

  • Bebel Ribeiro - Flute
  • Will Tomao - Clarinet
  • Alexey Kurkdjian - Violin I
  • Luiz Cadorin - Violin I
  • Mariana Ribeiro - Violin II
  • Wagner de Souza - Viola
  • Pablo de Moraes - Violoncello
  • Douglas de Freitas - Double Bass

The music we worked together on was:

  • Reclusion (2005, revised 2009)
  • In Their Light (2008)
  • The Attic (2005, revised 2009)
  • Pokarekare Ana (arr. Ryan Youens 2009) - classic, they loved it.
  • Te Haranui (arr. Ryan Youens 2009) - it was Christmas after all, went down a treat.

It was wonderful to meet the players and have a very productive and rewarding afternoon. They will perform my three pieces as part of their 2010 repertoire. During the afternoon I even managed to get a new piece requested by Will Tomao and his clarinet and double bass duo, Sopro do Contra.

The second project for the trip was a collaboration between Alexey Kurkdjian and myself. The piece is to be premiered at the major New Music Festival in Brazil during August/September 2010, and is for solo violin, flute, clarinet, two violins, viola, cello, contrabass, electric guitar and drums. Fun! Over the week I was there we worked on the piece most days and it shaped up extremely well. It's a wild fusion between Brazilian and New Zealand rhythms and harmonies. Stay tuned for more on this project.

Some photos from our day together (for the full album visit here):

20091220 Sphaera W-2

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20091220 Sphaera WL-4

20091220 Sphaera L-2

20091220 Sphaera W-25

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20091220 Sphaera W-126 copy

Sphaera Ensemble, conductor Ryan Youens, 20th December 2009, São Paulo, Brazil. Photos by Laira Dalileia and Wendy Youens.

January update

Hey everyone, well it's been AGES since my last post so this is a little update on what has been going on. I just noticed the last post I did actually, the one about the recording with four bass clarinets and four contrabass clarinets. Well a few weeks later the composer Austin emailed with some recordings which I said I'd love to hear in the blog. So thanks for that Austin.

Had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, if you missed our Christmas video, check it out here. Have been back working long days for two weeks now as have a lot of work to get through which is fantastic. Of course I have my wedding approaching fast so want to clear as much work as I can before then. To save waffling on too much, here is a list of what's been going on:


  • Have been typesetting two works for New Zealand composer Anthony Ritchie. Have completed his Flute Concerto and am working through a choral work.
  • I wrote "This Day", a new piano work. This is for the "entry of the bride" at my wedding. Have also been preparing some other backing tracks for use at the wedding.
  • Have been MIDI orchestrating some tracks for Alexandros Pappas in Greece.
  • Am writing a new choral work for the "Souls of the Righteous" for premiere next month I think.
  • Next week I'm conducting at the Opononi Summer school up north. Should be great fun, and I'll be sure to post a blog following that.
  • Have been discussing several exciting projects with Alexey Kurkdjian and his Sphaera Ensemble in Brazil. Stay tuned for info here.
  • Have been MIDI orchestrating a track for Vladimir Krasojevic also.


So it's a good start to the year so far and of course expecting it to only get busier from here. By the way I got the video from "In Their Light" premiere in Athens last November. I've added the video below:


Speaking of YouTube, I'm planning to get a bit more modern this year, so am starting my video blog. More details soon, but it will be all linked into this blog so can just see it all here.

Alright well that's all for now. Stay well and make some AMAZING music for the world!!

Film score and Brazil

Ok well I’m working on this film score at the moment, orchestrating it and a bit of arranging. Lol it is very ... interesting. I’ve seen different scenes, heard stuff from the composer and seen the teaser website (www.chickencargo.com) – and after all of that I’m completely confused other than knowing it’s a sci-fi comedy. lol Anyway it's going great and deadline now is January 2008 so things are going to step up a bit. Stay tuned.

 I’ve just confirmed the premiere of “Mei Speroâ€? in Brazil early next year by the Sphera Ensemble. A specific date and venue is still being finalised but it should be a fantastic event. I’m adjusting the instrumentation slightly to suit the ensemble a little better. The original instrumentation of cor anglais, clarinet, horn, trombone, percussion, harp, viola, cello and double bass will now include some violins. Anyway, will post more details as soon as they are available.