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08 NZ School of Music composer residency announced


14 January 2008

NZ School of Music composer residency announced for 2008

A former Victoria University graduate and important composer has been appointed to the Creative New Zealand/ Jack C. Richards Composer Residency at the NZ School of Music.

“Helen Bowater is an outstanding composer – she has one of the most original voices and her music is always very strong. We are delighted to have her taking up the residency this coming June,” says New Zealand School of Music Associate Professor Jack Body.

“The residency will provide a very stimulating context for a composer like Helen. She’ll have the opportunity to interact with not only our staff and students but also with many of the Wellington-based performing groups such as the New Zealand String Quartet,” he says.

“This NZ School of Music position is very significant because although there are numerous residencies for NZ writers that are hosted by tertiary institutions, there are only two such residencies for composers. It will be great to have such an imaginative and active composer as Helen shifting down from Waiheke Island to work here with us.”

Ms Bowater says the appointment is a huge honour. “I am very excited about this and I thank the School of Music for their vote of confidence. It’s fantastic that Creative New Zealand and Jack Richards have made this residency possible. I look forward to challenging myself further in that solitary realm of music composition, and to reconnecting with the School from whence I sprang originally with a zest for composition.”

Since graduating from Victoria University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Music (Hons), composing music has been the primary focus of Ms Bowater’s life. Her works include orchestral and chamber music, as well as installations, multimedia and electroacoustic compostions – some as collaborations. She has received prestigious commissions from groups such as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Hebrides Ensemble, and as previously been the recipient of three residencies: Nelson School of Music (1992), the Mozart Fellowship at Otago University (1993), and with the Auckland Philharmonia (1994).

The residency was established in 2004 with partial funding from Creative New Zealand. In 2005, this funding was matched by a private benefactor, Dr Jack Richards, who has generously pledged his continued sponsorship up until 2011.

Ms Bowater will reside in the Thorndon home of former New Zealand composer and Victoria staff member, the late Douglas Lilburn. The house and property was bought by the Lilburn Residence Trust in 2005, specifically for the use of resident composers.

The residency will run from June 2008 until July 2009.


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