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Ross Harris Piece Features At Intl. Conf In Sweden

A work by New Zealand composer Ross Harris will be the only piece from outside Northern Europe to be performed at an international conference in Sweden in June.

Works by a Pole, a Dane, an Icelander, and two Dutch composers are the other pieces on the programme for a major international music conference in Göteborg [Gottenburg] Sweden. Delegates from more than 60 countries representing Europe, the Americas, South Africa, Asia and Australasia are expected to attend attend the combined conference of IAMIC (International Assocaiation of Music Information Centres), IAML (International Association of Music Libraries) and the IMS (International Musicological Society).

“Each of the Music Centres who are members of IAMIC have nominated a work for the concert,” Scilla Askew, Executive Director of SOUNZ comments. “To have a work included is a prestigious honour for New Zealand and deservedly recognizes Ross’ stature as a composer.”

At the Edge of Silence, a single movement quintet scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano will be performed by the Ensemble Gageego. The players of this ensemble come from the Göteborg Symphony and Opera orchestras, as well as freelance musicians. They all profess a passion for ‘new music’ – a theme for the conference.

“I was commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand in 2003 to write the piece for the New Zealand contemporary music ensemble Stroma,” explains composer Ross Harris. “I was inspired by the virtuosity of the group. As the title suggests, the work hovers on the edge of audibility but it is also about memory – memories half forgotten – distorted over time. Stroma performed the piece in nine centres as part of a CMNZ tour and it was a finalist in the 2004 SOUNZ Contemporary Award at the APRA Silver Scrolls Awards.”

Harris enjoys a high profile as a composer. His works cover a wide range of genres from piano pieces, songs, chamber music, electroacoustic pieces, operas, orchestral works, and jazz. Formerly a French horn player in the NZSO, he taught at Victoria University’s School of Music for many years before taking “early retirement” in order to concentrate on his composition. He won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award at the APRA Silver Scrolls Awards in both 2002 AND 2005, the latter for his Labyrinth for Tuba and Orchestra, a commission from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The NZSO took his very popular Music for Jonny with them on their tour to the UK, Europe and Japan last year. This work also featured in the recent New Zealand International Arts Festival and reportedly the conductor James MacMillan from Scotland described it as possibly the best string orchestra work to have been written in the last century. Harris’ as though there were no god featured in the same concert and his Blood Red Roses was performed in the Festival by the New Zealand String Quartet. Currently Harris is Composer in Residence for the Auckland Philharmonia and they will premiere his second symphony, featuring Lexus Award winning soprano Madeleine Pierard, in June.

ENDS

About SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music
Vision Statement
SOUNZ: created in New Zealand, heard around the world!
Toi Te Arapuoru – tipua i Aotearoa, rangona e te ao!

Statement of Purpose
To provide, foster and promote music by New Zealand composers to enhance the mana of all New Zealanders and our sense of turangawaewae.
This is achieved through services and projects which:
o encourage the creation, performance, publication, recording and broadcast of music by New Zealand composers
o ensure a comprehensive collection of information and music resources are developed and maintained and made available for loan, perusal and purchase
o embrace the roles of advocate, facilitator and partner in national and international contexts.
The Centre is a not-for-profit organisation which is registered as a charitable trust.
SOUNZ maintains an on-line searchable database of composers and their works at www.sounz.org.nz

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