NZSO/SOUNZ Readings 2010

I'm sitting on the plane after a fantastic two days in Wellington at the 2010 NZSO/SOUNZ Readings. It seemed very relaxed this time around as the format was slightly different. Usually the pieces are purely workshopped and are often early on in their development. This time the pieces were chosen from previous NZSO/SOUNZ Readings to be recorded properly and then released. So it was a nice relaxed atmosphere with no nervous composers, or players for that matter. Also the fact that one piece had pulled out meant all of the other pieces got extra time, which made it even more stress-free.

NZSO SOUNZ readings 2

The pieces were a nice mix from Tom McLeod's epic film work, to Claire Cowan's very clever Legend of the Trojan Bird, to the heavier pieces by Gillian Whitehead and John Rimmer. All fantastic composers, so it was great to hear their recordings being created.

My piece, Rakaia, went really well. I knew everything worked, so it was just a matter of getting a good solid recording. Well, what do you know? After rehearsing a few spots, they nailed it very early on. I was very pleased - it sounded incredible.

NZSO SOUNZ readings 1


You've got to wonder what these players, and conductor Luke Dollman, are made of, as the NZSO/Todd Young Composer Workshop was (rather ambitiously) scheduled in the two days before the SOUNZ workshop. All up, in four days they recorded fifteen pieces - pretty good effort and great to see so many New Zealand works getting workshopped and recorded.

During the trip I managed to pop in and see the new SOUNZ office. They are now nicely situated just off Cuba Street and they've got a wonderful view of Wellington City. Also great to finally meet Julie Sperring, the new Executive Director of SOUNZ, who's going to be a superstar ambassador of New Zealand music.

Another recording down, bring on the next one...

National Youth Orchestra 2006

Well tonight I went to the 2006 NYO concert (NZ National Youth Orchestra). The first of three concerts, the others in Auckland and Christchurch. It was also the premiere of Claire Cowan's new work "Trains of Thinking" (see her site here). Anyway, WOW, concert was fantastic. The highlight by far was Shostakovich's Symphony No.10. It was really well played. The strings this year are incredibly tight and are HUGE. I think I counted 12 violas. THATS AWESOME. The percussion as well was great - it's a great symphony for the percussion. Anyway Claire's piece was amazing. She's always so original and innovative - absolutely loved the piece. Make sure you visit her site here.

Of course afterwards it was fantastic to catch up with everyone from years past.