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Music News - 2008 SOUNZ Contemporary Award Finalists Announced

2008 SOUNZ Contemporary Award Finalists Announced

14 August 2008 - 0 Comments

The annual SOUNZ Contemporary Award recognises creativity and inspiration in composition by a New Zealander and this year the three finalist works are Remote Presence for solo piano by Chris Cree Brown, Wax Lyrical by Chris Gendall for chamber octet and Requiem Concerto by Peter Scholes for chamber ensemble, solo violin and voices.

The SOUNZ Contemporary Award is New Zealand’s premier composition award attracting a prize of $3000 and a trophy designed and made by Auckland sculptor Sarah Smuts Kennedy. It is a collaborative project of both SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music and APRA, the Australasian Performing Right Association.

Chris Cree Brown’s Remote Presence was first performed by outstanding Hungarian pianist Peter Nagy in August 2007 in Christchurch. “The work explores the full range of the piano,” Chris notes, “and employs dense chords to produce a harmonic language that creates a predominantly wistful work. At times, however, explosive or more playful sections interrupt the reflective contemplation.” Chris is a senior lecturer in composition at the University of Canterbury’s School of Music and one New Zealand’s well-established composers with works across all genres from orchestral to theatrical, electroacoustic to sonic art.

Chris Gendall, on the other hand, is one of our emerging composers. He was the inaugural winner of the Todd Foundation–NZSO Young Composer award in 2005 and is currently completing a doctorate in composition from Cornell University, USA. “The entire experience has been great,” he confirmed. “Working intensely on my music; teaching and studying for greater academic rigour; and living in the northeast USA – an education in itself!”

His Wax Lyrical for an octet of flute, clarinet, harp, piano, and string quartet was commissioned by American ensemble Brave New Works with funding from the Mellon Foundation. Brave New Works first performed the work in a series of concerts across New York State in April this year.

Requiem Concerto by Peter Scholes is a major work for chamber orchestra with solo violin, treble voice, mezzo-soprano and two sopranos. It was written in memory of his first wife Katherine Harris, a violinist with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Of the work, Scholes says that “the violinist is the protagonist whose melodies, rhythms and wide ranging emotions counterpoint the voices whose music is always lyrical and simple.” The Requiem Concerto is in eight sections and was first performed by the Auckland Chamber Orchestra conducted by the composer with Dimitri Atanassov (violin), Patricia Wright, Morag Atchison (sopranos), Carmel Carroll (mezzo) and Wilson Downes (treble).

“The jury were impressed by both the diversity and emotional range shown among the 18 works submitted this year,” said Scilla Askew, Executive Director of SOUNZ. “There was a great deal of lively debate before they were able to settle on these three finalists: three works which are so very different from each other. It once again demonstrates the depth of talent amongst our composers.”

The winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award will be announced at a special APRA-hosted event in Auckland on Wednesday, 10 September along with the winners of the 2008 Maioha and 2008 APRA Silver Scroll Awards.

Thanks to www.sounz.org.nz for this story.

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