Auckland-born composer John Rimmer studied composition with Ronald Tremain at the University of Auckland, and went on to study electronic music, analysis and composition at the University of Toronto. His compositions use a wide variety of musical forces: instrumental, orchestral and choral. About a quarter of his works employ electroacoustic resources and many works are published and recorded. He is the founder of the Karlheinz Company, an ensemble for new music at the University of Auckland, and played horn with them for many years.
New Zealand lies on one of the most volatile regions of the Earth, the so called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. This fanfare reminds us of the way in which the cultures of the Pacific have been shaped by powerful and often destructive natural forces. Aucklanders in particular see volcanic hills every day and should know that more will appear as they have in the past albeit at several thousand year intervals. The music of Vulcan is thus explosive in nature. However the musical material goes beyond its volcanic inspiration and enters a sound world of drama and fantasy. Vulcan was commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and was completed on 5 February 1999, the composer’s sixtieth birthday.