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Sounz Contemporary Award Finalists Announced

4 October 2004

Sounz Contemporary Award Finalists Announced

Four composers have been named finalists in the SOUNZ Contemporary Award this year.

The SOUNZ Contemporary Award is the major prize celebrating creative excellence by a New Zealand composer.

"To have four finalists is unprecedented", says APRA¹s Director of NZ Operations Anthony Healey, "but quite simply each of these nominated finalists deserved this recognition".

The finalists are Ross Harris, Michael Norris and John Psathas, all from Wellington and Christchurch based composer, John Cousins.

"This is an outstanding group of New Zealand composers and each has achieved wonderful success this year" says SOUNZ Executive Director, Scilla Askew.

Ross Harris has just been announced Composer in Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia for 2005, Michael Norris was the winner of the 2003 Douglas Lilburn Prize, John Psathas wrote music for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and won classical album of the year at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards and John Cousins has received acclaim for his latest major installation work Cinema for the Ears.

The four judges, professional composers and performers from around New Zealand, were overwhelmed by not only the high standard of works entered, but also the sheer variety of musical styles represented.

"They are works that advance the dialogue in music", was one judge¹s comment. ³They¹re all superbly crafted works²

Ross Harris¹ At the Edge of Silence was commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand and performed by leading contemporary music ensemble Stroma on their inaugural tour of New Zealand.

As a finalist in the Douglas Lilburn Prize, Michael Norris' Rays of the Sun, Shards of the Moon was performed by the NZSO and broadcast by Concert FM several times last year.

John Psathas¹ Piano Concerto was premiered by New York pianist Stephen Gosling with the NZSO in April.

While it is only the musical content of any work that is judged, the music from John Cousins' multimedia work Say, blew the judges away. "Even without visuals it¹s still amazing".

The winner will be announced at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards Ceremony in Wellington on 26 October. The four other awards presented on the night are the APRA Silver Scroll Award, the APRA Maioha Award, the Most Performed Work Overseas and the Most Performed Work in New Zealand.

The SOUNZ Contemporary Award is a project of both APRA and SOUNZ (the Centre for New Zealand Music). SOUNZ administers the award and convenes a jury of four to judge the entries.

The Centre for New Zealand Music (SOUNZ) is a charitable trust which promotes the music of New Zealand's composers through a range of services and projects. It receives major funding from Creative New Zealand, APRA and through PPNZ (Phonographic Performances New Zealand Ltd).


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