22 Aug 2018
SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music, with APRA AMCOS NZ, is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2018 SOUNZ Contemporary Award, celebrating excellence in contemporary composition:
Leonie Holmes for Dance of the Wintersmith
Rosie Langabeer for Occulmente
Michael Norris for Sygyt
The finalists were selected by a judging panel of independent industry representatives, including an international composer representative Annea Lockwood (USA/NZ):
“The submitted works were really compelling, stylistically broad in range and fascinating to dig into. It was not so easy to select only three pieces but I felt that those we chose were exciting, very strong choices.”
The panel, which included New Zealanders Justine Cormack, Bridget Douglas, Ronan Tighe and Kenneth Young commented on the very high quality of the submissions this year, demonstrated in the 51 works entered by 37 composers.
“Coming to a decision was certainly not easy. Part of the challenge in picking the selection from such a diverse pool of entrants is that you must assess, for example, a big orchestral score alongside an intimate chamber work.”
This is the second time Auckland composer Leonie Holmes has been nominated for the Award (Aquae Sulis 2014). Leonie is currently a Senior Lecturer in Composition and Music studies at the School of Music, University of Auckland. The nominated work, Dance of the Wintersmith for violin and piano, was inspired by Terry Pratchett’s book of the same name and was written for Andrew Beer and Sarah Watson.
“I’m really delighted that ‘Dance of the Wintersmith’ has been nominated for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award. I was gifted with fantastic performers, who commissioned the work and then played it with such integrity. I’m also delighted that the comparatively intimate canvas of a duo has been recognised in this way, and has managed to communicate and touch listeners.”
This is Rosie Langabeer’s first nomination for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award. Now based in Auckland, she lived and worked in performing arts in Philadelphia, USA, for many years. Her nominated work, Occulmente for string quartet, was written for Friction Quartet (USA) and explores the sounds of the composer’s subconscious mind.
“To be nominated was a most wonderful surprise. This was my first time entering a piece, in fact this was the first piece I wrote that obviously fits into the category, so I wasn't expecting to go through to the finals. This definitely feels like a kind of validation, it's given me a real boost of confidence to write more for classical performers, without worrying about whether or not I know what I am doing in what seems to me to be a particularly austere art-form. I almost didn't enter, I am so glad I did.”
Wellington composer Michael Norris, who won the Award in 2014 with Inner Phases, is nominated for the fifth time (Rays of the Sun, Shards of the Moon 2004, Volti 2009, TIMEDANCE 2013). Michael teaches composition, sonic arts and post-tonal music theory at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music and is editor of Wai-te-ata Music Press and Co-Director of Stroma New Music Ensemble. His nominated work Sygyt for throat singer, ensemble and live electronics, was commissioned by Stroma and written for Jonny Marks, and it explores and imitates the two styles of Tuvan throat singing.
“I’m absolutely over the moon to be nominated for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award. ‘Sygyt’ was one of the ‘funnest’ pieces I’ve ever written, thanks primarily to my wonderful collaborator (and extraordinary human being) Mr. Jonny Marks, not to mention the virtuosi of Stroma who brought the score to life in the resonant surroundings of the City Gallery Wellington. -- I would like to thank SOUNZ and APRA for the nomination, that means a lot to me and is great encouragement."
The winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award will be announced at the 2018 APRA Silver Scroll Awards held at Spark Arena in Auckland on Thursday 4 October.
The SOUNZ Contemporary Award, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, recognises New Zealand compositions demonstrating outstanding levels of creativity and inspiration and has been presented in collaboration with APRA AMCOS NZ since 1998. Read more about the opportunity, past winners and finalists with their works here.
APRA AMCOS NZ has also announced the finalists for the awards for the Best Original Music in a Feature Film and in a Series. The finalists for the APRA Maioha Award will be announced on 27 August and the Top 5 for the Silver Scroll Award on 30 August. APRA will also be inducting a songwriter/s into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. Radio New Zealand will broadcast and live video stream the APRA Silver Scroll Awards ceremony on RNZ National, and online at www.rnz.co.nz/music.