24 May 2023

This content is tagged as Music .


Jazz musician Callum Allardice sits on a chair, with headphones on and holding a guitar, clearly focused in rehearsal for his new musical piece.
Callum Allardice in rehearsal for his new piece, to be previewed at the Loemis Festival. Photo by Rory and Jade Media (image supplied).

Callum was the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM)’s first ever jazz composer-in-residence in 2022. Now he’s putting the finishing touches on his new project, ‘Callum Allardice’s Cinematic Light Orchestra’.

Motueka-born, now Wellington-based, Callum is a well-known jazz guitarist and composer. The NZSM’s Jazz composer residency will culminate in his debut recording – the first time he will have released anything under his own name.

Callum Allardice’s Cinematic Light Orchestra, the main focus of his time during the residency, involved creating and recording music for a 17+ person ensemble, plus a string section.

Callum describes it as “film music, that’s orchestrated for a large jazz ensemble with strings.”

“I wanted to incorporate strings – which has now become a big part of the sound,” he says, “because it wasn't difficult enough, recording with 17 people!”

This residency is hosted at Victoria University in Wellington, with support from Creative New Zealand.

“The focus of the residency was jazz,” Callum says, “but some of the real value of the experience was bringing together different people with different experiences.”

NZSM Senior Lecturer and producer of Callum's album Dr Dave Wilson says the kaupapa of the residency is not only to showcase the jazz music community, but also how it engages with people at a wide range of career stages and music genres.

“Throughout the project there has been this very real, supportive spirit. It’s been really focused on both relationships and the music – together. Not one or the other,” he says.

“This has been about community and building skills – mine included,” Callum adds. “I’d never written for strings before and seeing how it was presented at the beginning versus at the end was just so different.”

A preview of Cinematic Light Orchestra is coming during the Loemis Festival. Held on 15 June at the Roxy Cinema in Wellington, the show will be accompanied by curated cinematic visuals on the big screen by Lee Gingold.

A few weeks ago, Umar Zakaria was announced as the NZSM Jazz Composer-in-Residence for 2023.

“The residency is a platform for me to lead the way, briefly, in representing the story of jazz and improvised music in Aotearoa — before passing the torch to the next composer-in-residence to add another chapter to that story,” Umar says.

“At the same time, I hope to explore how a ‘Composer-In-Residence' can play a meaningful role in as a ‘resident’ of the local community.”

Umar’s music brings together a number of diverse musical traditions. His proposed project will involve collaborations with performers of taonga pūoro.

Residencies like this are valuable for the development of the arts in New Zealand, says Hayley Dingwall, Arts Practice Director, Music & Opera at Creative New Zealand.

“Residencies allow artists dedicated space and time to focus on their craft and artistic direction while also being fairly remunerated for their creative work,” she says.

 “There are very few opportunities like this for musicians here, especially for jazz practitioners. I am excited by the work that Callum has, and Umar will produce during this residency and for the impact this initiative could have for jazz from Aotearoa.”