Stephen de Pledge (piano). Recorded by RNZ Concert, 13 August 2016.
Arts laureate Ross Harris is one of New Zealand’s leading composers. He has written more than two hundred compositions including opera, symphonic music, chamber music, klezmer and electronic music. He has won the prestigious SOUNZ Contemporary Award more times than any other New Zealand composer. Harris received a QSM in 1985 for his opera Waituhi with libretto by Witi Ihimaera and the CANZ Citation for Services to New Zealand Music in 1990. His major works include five string quartets, five symphonies, a violin concerto (premiered by Anthony Marwood in 2010) and a cello concerto (premiered by Li-Wei Qin in 2012). His collaborations with poet Vincent O’Sullivan have produced two operas, a symphony, three song cycles and Requiem for the Fallen.
Ngā Manu is a series of short movements written in 2012, in response to the arrival of a blackbird nest right outside the composer’s kitchen window. Even the last chick to leave the nest (the runt) is celebrated in the final stumbling piece. They might have been written for young performers but none have emerged so far!