28 May 2024

Fergus Byett: composing for choirs

From Three to Seven, 4:15 pm on 28 May 2024

Choirs Aotearoa is calling for entries for its annual choral composing quest, Compose Aotearoa!

Hamilton-based Fergus Byett won the Under 25 Category with Make a Joyful Noise. Fergus was also awarded $1000 residency to follow the national choirs in concert next year and develop future collaborations with them.

Fergus Byett Photo: Jeremy Tritt

Fergus Byett was the winner of the Under-25 category in the 2023 competition, and also awarded the Choirs Aotearoa Composer-in-Residence position for 2024.

He spoke with Three to Seven host Bryan Crump about what he’s currently working on, and what it was like to have his winning composition ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ workshopped by members of the world-class national chamber choir, Voices New Zealand.

Although he has written some instrumental music, it's composing music where there are words involved that really inspires Fergus.

"I struggle a lot, actually, with writing music that doesn't have some kind of text with it. I think for me, text is really what gets me engaged in, and thinking about, different musical possibilities."

"For me, that's where the inspiration tends to start."