Dana Parkhill (fl), Michael Norris (tape realisation). Recorded by RNZ Concert, 15 November 1996.

JACK SPEIRS: Symphony: The Islands

Introduced by Kenneth Young.

JACK SPEIRS: Symphony: The Islands

David Griffiths (bar), New Zealand SO/Luke Dollman. Recorded by RNZ Concert, 22 September 2010.

RACHAEL MORGAN: From a Fixed Point

175 East/Hamish McKeich. Recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert, 15 August 2009.


Jan Tawroszewicz (vln), Diedre Irons (pno). Recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert, 2 August 1992.

Michael Norris: Chrysalis

Michael Norris

Michael Norris

Photo: supplied

Wellington-based composer, software programmer and music theorist Michael Norris holds composition degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and City University, London. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Composition at Te Kōkī, New Zealand School of Music.

Performers of Michael’s work include the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Roberto Fabbriciani, Michael Houstoun, the New Zealand String Quartet, NZTrio, Richard Haynes, the Viennese Saxophonic Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring, Stroma, the Israel Contemporary Players and the Ensemble Pierrot Lunaire Wien. Michael is also co-founder and co-director of Stroma New Music Ensemble, Executive Committee Member of the Asian Composers League, and is the editor of Wai-te-ata Music Press.

Chrysalis was originally written for flutist, Dana Parkhill. It is a work which explores the interaction between live flute and electronic sounds.

Jack Speirs: The Islands

Jack Speirs

Jack Speirs

Photo: Supplied

Jack Speirs spent his formative years in the UK. He studied at Edinburgh University from 1959-1963: composition with Kenneth Leighton and history and theory with Hans Gal. In 1965 he was appointed as Lecturer in Music at the University of Otago, where he remained until his death in 2000. Speirs was also the musical director of Schola Cantorum in Dunedin, principal conductor of Dunedin Sinfonia, and musical director of the Southern Consort of Voices for about 20 years.

Before he died Speirs had begun work on his Symphony: The Islands, and composer Gillian Whitehead completed the work at Speirs' friend Peter Platt and widow Ann's request.

Rachael Morgan: from a fixed point

Rachael Morgan

Rachael Morgan

Photo: SOUNZ

Rachael Morgan’s compositional interests lie in the nature of sound and timbral nuances. She completed a BMus in Composition at Waikato University, and received an MMus (Distinction) at Victoria University under the tutelage of Michael Norris. In 2008/09 Rachael was the recipient of the Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship, allowing her to further her composition studies in the UK and Europe. Her works have been performed in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe by groups including 175 East, SMP Ensemble, Okta, GateSeven, and have been workshopped by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Stroma, and the Nelson Composers Workshop.

In her piece from a fixed point, the composer has explored the concept of vibration and movement around a fixed point. Fixed points appear in many guises throughout the work, at times they are explicit, other times more implied, particularly later on in the piece. In all cases the focus is on timbre and movement within a sound. Distortion and interference of both sound waves and textures are also important elements of the work. These become stronger features as the material begins to destruct in a gradual shift towards instability. This move from stasis and stability, to instability and fragility is also highlighted by an evolution of instrumental techniques.

from a fixed point was commissioned by 175 East with funding from Creative New Zealand in 2009.

Dorothy Buchanan: From the Spring

Dorothy Buchanan

Dorothy Buchanan

Photo: SOUNZ

Dorothy Buchanan is a pioneering figure in New Zealand composition. She was New Zealand’s first composer-in-schools, and in 1979 she became president of the Composers’ Association of New Zealand and was the first woman to join the Musicians’ Union. In the same year she founded the Christchurch Music Workshops, and co-founded the music publishing co-operative Nota Bene.

Dorothy has been commissioned by organisations as diverse as school choirs, string quartets, dance and theatre companies and symphony orchestras to compose songs, operas, incidental music and film and television scores. She has received a CANZ Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2001 she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for a lifetime’s involvement in music.

From the Spring was commissioned by Isidor and Ann Saslav in 1991 and is based on the following poem by Thomas Nashe:

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!