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NZ Composer Competition Reaches The Final Stage

6 December 2002



The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Concert FM have announced the four finalists for the Douglas Lilburn Prize Competition. This competition, which is dedicated to the memory of the composer known as the 'father of New Zealand Music', results in four innovative New Zealand compositions being performed throughout the country as part of the NZSO's Concert Season 2003.

Thirty-one New Zealand composers entered a new eight-to-twelve minute symphonic scores in the competition. From these, four finalists have been selected: Lucy Mulgan - Cape Reinga, Craig Utting - Cirrus, Anthony Young - Mamaku and Michael Norris - Rays of the Sun, Shards of the Moon.

The composers will speak briefly about their works at their premiere performances.

NZSO C.E.O Peter Walls said that he was delighted to see the strong interest in the competition amongst New Zealand composers. 'I am sure that our audiences will enjoy hearing-and discussing-the four very different and interesting works that have made it trough to the final.'

Lucy Mulgan has been working as a composer in the UK since 1996 while completing her doctorate in composition at the University of York. Dunedin-born Lucy has recently had works performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Before moving to England, Lucy worked extensively as both a performer and writer for Saxcess, The Virgin Marys and The Rattlin' Roarin' Willies.

Wellington-born Craig Utting completed a Master of Music degree at Auckland University in 1987. He was a violist in the Schola Musica and for the last decade has played with the Wellington Sinfonia. He spends much of his time composing and arranging music and also works as a music copyist and typesetter for various European publishers. Craig was a finalist in the Music Prize 2000.

Anthony Young is currently studying towards a Masters in Composition at the University of Auckland, where he received a University Cultural Blue for composition. He has two works played through by the Auckland Philharmonia.

After graduating from Victoria University, Dunedin-born Michael Norris won a Commonwealth Scholarship to the City University, London where he completed an MA in Electroacoustic Composition with distinction. His music has received performances in London, Birmingham, Wales, France and Montreal as well as in New Zealand. Michael was a finalist in the Music Prize 2000. In 2001, Michael was Composer-in-Residence with the Southern Sinfonia in Dunedin and in 2002, was awarded the Mozart Fellowship at the University of Otago.

The four finalists were selected by a judging panel made up of both Concert FM and NZSO music staff (including the NZSO's Music Director, James Judd). The panel will participate in the selection of the winner, but NZSO concertgoers and Concert FM listeners and the orchestral players will also have their say.

Concert FM Manager, Kate Mead said, "We believe it is important for voters to familiarize themselves with the distinctive language of each of the works; also to be able to judge comparatively rather than grade each work in isolation. This will be made possible by daily broadcasts of all the finalists' works during a five day period on Concert FM."

The winner of the inaugural competition, Music Prize 2000, Penny Axtens' part the second was performed as part of the NZSO's Season 2002 in October.

For further information please contact Hannah Evans on (04) 801 3833/025 300 680

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