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Pedal Harp Winners Announced

The winners of a competition for new music for pedal harp have been announced.

In 2013, the University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music collaborated with the Harp Society of New Zealand to run a competition for new compositions for harp. Any New Zealand resident was eligible to enter.

Convenor and chair of the international judging panel was Associate Professor Martin Lodge, composer and Head of Music at the University of Waikato. It was a very experienced panel, he says, which was just as well because the judication was challenging due to the high quality of many of the entries.

Composers from around the country submitted new works in a wide variety of styles and approaches.

The winner is David Hamilton, an experienced professional composer based in Auckland. His work Wairua for solo harp was praised by the judging panel for its skilful composition and imaginative use of the resources of the concert harp, while also opening up a very engaging sound world for listeners. David
Hamilton wins prize money of $1000 and will have his winning composition premiered at the World Harp congress in Sydney this year by one of New Zealand’s leading harpists.

Young composer Blas Gonzalez was awarded a merit prize for his composition In the Threshold of Definition. The merit award carries prize money of $500.

The competition revealed once again the rich pool of creative musical talent in New Zealand, from seasoned professionals through to students, says Martin Lodge. As well as the winners, several other entries are likely to find concert performances over time, so the repertoire of New Zealand composed works for harp has been substantially increased. It was a very successful event, arising from combined work by the University’s Conservatorium of Music and the NZ Harp Society. Martin pays tribute to international harpist Brynmor Williams, currently working in Oman, who initiated the collaboration.

The first New Zealand performance of David Hamilton’s prize winning work will be given at the University of Waikato later this year.


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