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Arts Board grants support spread of NZ music

Arts Board grants support spread of New Zealand music

Workshops, national tours and new work commissions feature among the grants offered to music projects in the latest funding round of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

Among the grants is $10,000 for the professional orchestration of the New Zealand stage musical Rush!, which is set in the Otago goldfields and which premiered in Dunedin in 1998 to popular acclaim. According to writer David John and composer Kevin Lynch of Arrowtown, the grant means that Rush! will be marketed both nationally and internationally.

“We have great ambitions for this project. It has the potential to be New Zealand’s first exported musical and the CD of the orchestrations will be a crucial part of this,” Kevin Lynch said.

Arts Board Chair Christopher Finlayson said a number of the projects offered grants were for touring music to other parts of New Zealand, or for workshops facilitating the sharing of New Zealand music.

“Clearly, there is a great desire among professional musicians to share their knowledge with a wider community,” he said.

Auckland singer/songwriter Mahinarangi Tocker was offered $25,450 for a programme of workshops aimed at young people and Maori. She will work through a wide range of community group to develop performance skills and creativity.

“I see music as a creative source for learning and self-esteem,” Mahinarangi Tocker said.

Nelson musician Richard Nunns was offered $8,000 towards the consultation and recording costs involved in producing a book and CD about traditional Maori musical instruments. Nunns is working on this project with Hirini Melbourne, a Waikato University senior lecturer.

The International School in Choral Conducting was offered $14,000 towards its tenth summer school, to be held in Auckland in January 2001. Organisers plan to bring tutors from the United States, Sweden, Britain and Australia for the six-day event.

A $10,000 grant has been offered to Wellington singer/songwriter Dallas Tamaira and The Drop for the Dallas Tour to Auckland, Hamilton, Taupo, Napier, Gisborne, Nelson, Tasman, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.

Jeffrey Henderson of Wellington was offered $16,000 to rework an improvisational composition, Urban Taniwha, and present it in Wellington, Hamilton, Auckland and New Plymouth.

And an Auckland kapa haka group, Te Waka Huia, will perform a new work at the Youth Arts Festival 2000 (in Wellington in August) with the New Zealand National Youth Choir. Te Waka Huia was offered $23,000 towards its performance involving a collaborative style of waiata, haka, chant and Western choral music.

Te Waka Huia was also offered $5000 to participate in Sing Aotearoa 2000, a celebration of music to be held at Ohakune over Queen’s Birthday Weekend in June.

“Innovative music commissions across the country were also a feature of this round,” Mr Finlayson said.

Grants supporting new work include:

 $4250 to 175 East of Auckland to commission a 10-minute work by Lisa Meridan-Skipp
 $1200 to the Christchurch Youth Orchestra to commission a cello concerto by Patrick Shepherd
 $2500 to Danny Poynton of Wellington commission a piano-electronic media work by David Downes
 $10,000 to Sea of Serendipity, a sound sculpture involving Waiheke Island composer Helen Bowater, sculptor Kazu Nakagawa and sound engineer David Bowater.

Popular music also featured strongly in this grants round. “It is clear that the popular music industry has much to offer New Zealand, as evidenced by the Prime Minister’s support for the new Music Commission,” Mr Finlayson said.

Grants offered to pop/rock music projects include:

 $6000 to Flax Records of Wellington towards the production of an EP by the Dub Connection
 $4942 to Bevan Smith of Wellington towards the production of a CD by Aspen
 $6155 to Sean Donnelly of Auckland to produce a new electronic music album
 $11,610 to Brendan Moran towards the production of a CD by Auckland group The Subliminals
 $20,000 to Wellington-based Ian Seumanu for a recording by DJ Raw

A number of grants were offered to support international tours. Wellington percussion group Strike, including Gareth Farr, will visit Paris and England in November 2000 to perform and give workshops on Cook Islands drumming with drummer George Upu. Strike was offered $30,000 for its tour.

The Arts Board received a total of 639 applications for grants requesting more than $9.5 million in the second funding round for 1999/2000. In the end, the Board offered 216 grants totalling $2.45 million.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of extra funding for the arts, detailed announcements of Creative New Zealand’s Future Strengths and Seriously Maori strategies, plus new initiatives supporting individual artists, will be made in mid-June.

A complete list of the grants (Arts Board, Te Waka Toi and Pacific Islands Arts Committee) will be available on Creative New Zealand’s website ( by mid-June. The list will also be published with the next issue of the magazine On Arts.


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