11 Apr 2011

Gillian Whitehead (b. 1941)

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 11 April 2011
Dame Gillian Whitehead

Dame Gillian Whitehead Photo: Gareth Watkins / Lilburn Trust / Wallace Arts Trust

2011 marked the 70th birthday of Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead, one of our most distinctive composers, with a body of work that ranges from solo pieces, chamber music and songs to choral and orchestral works, opera, and cross-cultural collaborations, including most notably the taonga puoro (Maori traditional instruments).

She is also one of our most travelled composers, from beginnings in Whangarei, to study in Auckland and Sydney and then going on to base herself for 15 years in Europe and the UK. She returned to this side of the world to take up a post at the Sydney Conservatory, ending up as head of composition there.

And finally she returned to NZ in the mid-90s, holding numerous residencies and positions including President of CANZ (the Composers’ Association of NZ). Gillian Whitehead is also a governor of the Arts Foundation after having been one of their inaugural Artist Laureates, and she was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008.

Music Details:

WHITEHEAD: Moon tides and Shoreline – Waiteata WTA003

WHITEHEAD: Missa Brevis - Waiteata WTA003

WHITEHEAD: Fantasia on 3 notes - Kiwi SLD 19

WHITEHEAD: Tristan and Iseult - RNZ

WHITEHEAD: Stump, from Camelot – ISBN 978-1-877577-04-8

WHITEHEAD: River, from Camelot – ISBN 978-1-877577-04-8

WHITEHEAD: Resurgences - RNZC

WHITEHEAD: Napier’s Bones - RNZ

WHITEHEAD: Hine Raukatauri - Atoll ACD 107

WHITEHEAD: Taiohi Taiao - Trust MMT 2065

WHITEHEAD: Bright Silence - Waiteata WTA 011

WHITEHEAD: The Improbable Ordered Dance - RNZ

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