SOUNZ Contemporary Award 2008
SOUNZ Contemporary Award 2008
Wax Lyrical, a work written by young New Zealand composer Chris Gendall for an octet of flute, clarinet, harp, piano, and string quartet, has won the 2008 SOUNZ Contemporary Award, the most prestigious annual award for ‘contemporary classical’ composition in New Zealand.
Chris is the youngest composer to win the prestigious award since it was instituted in 1998. The announcement was made and award presented to the composer as part of the APRA-hosted event in Auckland Town Hall which included announcement of the 2008 Maioha and 2008 APRA Silver Scroll Awards.
He was commissioned to write Wax Lyrical by American ensemble Brave New Works with funding from the Mellon Foundation and it was first performed by the ensemble in a series of concerts across New York State in April this year. "The title 'wax lyrical' refers to an exuberant and energetic sensibility in the work," Chris told us.
Gendall returned from his studies in the United States for the Auckland occasion. He is currently completing a DMA at Cornell University, New York. “A DMA is essentially a PhD but specific to practical musicians. It has allowed me to balance composerly pursuits with academic ones. The entire experience has been great: working intensely on my music; teaching and studying for greater academic rigour; and living in the northeast USA – which has been an education in itself! I think I'm yet to become an 'ex-pat' composer, although my international experience has certainly broadened my concept of who I am as a musician.”
Gendall has already gathered an impressive number of awards in his burgeoning career: including being the inaugural winner of the Todd Foundation–NZSO Young Composer award in 2005 with So It Goes and winning an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for Moto Perpetuo. He has been involved with three Asian Composers League Festivals, including being the New Zealand entrant and prizewinner for the Young Composers Competition in Israel. As well as prizes in 2001 and 2002 he was placed first in the 2003 Lilburn Trust Awards, and was awarded the 2002 Wellington City Council Prize for Music.
The other two works selected as finalists for the 2008 SOUNZ Contemporary Award were Remote Presence for solo piano by Chris Cree Brown and Requiem Concerto by Peter Scholes for chamber ensemble, solo violin and voices.
SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music (Toi te Arapuoru) is a national charitable trust committed to promoting, fostering and providing the music of New Zealand composers. It receives major funding from Creative New Zealand, APRA and through PPNZ. Its vision is: Created in New Zealand, heard around the world!
The SOUNZ Contemporary Award , established in 1998, is a project of APRA , Australasian Performing Right Association and SOUNZ and is awarded to a work written by New Zealand composers who are members of APRA which have been premiered in the previous year. The works can be for solo, chamber, ensemble, choral, opera, orchestral, electro-acoustic or any combination of these. The Centre for NZ Music convenes a jury to judge the entries on creative and artistic criteria including compositional excellence and inspiration. The annual award consists of a cash prize (currently $3,000) and a trophy designed and made by Auckland sculptor Sarah Smuts Kennedy.