23 Feb 2018

CSO Composer Commissions

From Upbeat, 4:21 pm on 23 February 2018

The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra has been commissioning works by New Zealand composers for over three decades now. This relationship has meant the creation of over thirty diverse and colourful works. Here's a look at a some of them.

Philip Brownlee and Ariana Tikau Ko te tātai whetū for taonga pūoro and orchestra (2015)

In 2015 the CSO commissioned Philip Brownlee to compose a Concerto for Taonga Puoro and orchestra. The result was the beautifully haunting Ko te tatai whetu written in collaboration with the vocalist and taonga puoro player Ariana Tikao. It’s an artful blend of traditional Maori and Western instruments. The concerto is dedicated to taonga puoro master Richard Nunns.

Eva Radich talks to Phil and Ariana about creating Ko te tātai whetū.

Gao Ping The Mountain (2013)

Gao Ping was born in China and now teaches in Beijing, but was living in New Zealand when he completed this commission. Gao Ping’s music often draws its inspiration from his native home of Sichuan and The Mountain recalls the expressive and humorous melodic inflection of the local dialect.

Kenneth Young Symphony No,3 for the Woolston Brass Band and the CSO (2013)

Kenneth’s connection with the CSO goes back long before this commission. In 1973, the CSO was the first professional orchestra he ever played with. He played percussion and, when required, a bit of brass. At that time he was also a member of the Woolston Brass Band.
Since then he’d always had a nagging thought at the back of his mind about how great it would be to combine the two ensembles in a large scale work. Over forty years later, in 2014 he was finally given the opportunity to do exactly that. His Symphony No 3 was a CSO commission that he calls a compositional dream come true. He also conducted the CSO and the Woolston Brass Band in this premiere  performance.

Chris Cree Brown Icescape (2002)

Freshly back in Christchurch after a trip to Antarctica, Chris Cree Brown set out on another journey - to create the first New Zealand orchestral work to celebrate a passionate engagement with the unforgiving natural world of the Antarctic continent. He says that Icescape is his attempt to reveal some of the various moods of Antarctica - the diverse ice forms as well as his personal impressions of being on the precious continent… “It’s a place of immense beauty” he says “ and is strikingly different – almost like another planet.”

John Ritchie Pisces: Partita Concertante (1984)

This was the very first CSO commission. It contains a jazz movement and an incredible drum solo designed to liven up the concert at which the premiere took place.