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Wellington student wins national contest

Wellington student wins national contest for composition

Tabea Squire

A Wellington student from Onslo College, Tabea Squire, has won the SOUNZ prize for Original Composition in the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest.

Entries were received from young composers around the country as part of the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest held during June. Prominent New Zealand School of Music Lecturer in Composition, Michael Norris, adjudicated the entries and judged Tabea's piece Random Berg 7, to be the most outstanding work in the competition.

"Random Berg 7 is a most impressive exploration of colours, ideas, rhythms, textures, and all sorts of other musical parameters," said Norris.

Tabea is a Year 13 at Onslow College. She has played in various orchestras, from the Wellington Youth Sinfonietta to the National Youth Orchestra. Some of her compositions have already been performed by the Youth Sinfonietta. Tabea is now part of the Junior Academy at Victoria University where she divides her time between studying as a string player and composition. "It was only this year that I started doing half of the composition stream. I turned up on my first day as half a composer with Random Berg 7 already finished."

Tabea's piece was inspired by a range of influences including Bach, Australian composer Graeme Koehne, and "folky-gypsy" elements. "Random Berg 7 is a bit of a strange title. But there's a reason for this," explains Tabea. "I am a Bach addict, admirer and lover. He wrote six 'Brandenburg' concertos. This was my initial inspiration for my second movement 'Interlude'. The first movement, 'Fire-music', is influenced by various gypsy-folky elements while the third, 'Rowdy Rant', is inspired by Australian composer Graeme Koehne. The baselines have Scottish influences in them, but basically I've had a heap of fun with open strings and dotted rhythms."

With parents who work as professional musicians, music is in Tabea's blood. "I was hearing music before I was born: both my parents, Greg Squire and Katrin Eickhorst-Squire, are musicians. I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I got my earliest musical influences in the form of my parents playing baroque music on period instruments, and dancing about to CDs of Scottish folk music. My family moved to New Zealand when I was nine.

When I was about twelve, I discovered klezmer music, another one of the influences which have come through in my music. I got my first violin at four, having been shouting for it since I was about two and have been playing the violin since I was six. Nowadays I also sing and attempt to play piano."

Tabea's piece will be performed alongside competing groups at the National Final in Wellington, Saturday 5 August when she will receive the Centre for NZ Music (SOUNZ) prize of $500.

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest is the longest running youth music competition in New Zealand and is the only national chamber music competition for young musicians and composers in the country. This year 538 chamber music groups made up of 2,033 students competed in the competition this year.

In presenting the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest, Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledge funding from the New Zealand Community Trust, Creative New Zealand, The James Wallace Trust and SOUNZ.


DIVERSITY ABOUNZ! Divertissement
touring nz may-june 06

NZ's finest team-up to perform rarely heard music
treats for bassoon, string quartet and double bass.

Also touring, NZ's best young concert pianist... JOHN CHEN
For full programme and bio, visit


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