Composer - Cowan, Claire

Ultraviolet (CMNZ commission for NZTrio) – 8′

Subtle Dances (NZTrio/CMNZ Co-commission) – 10′

wood : strings : hammers : flesh – 10′

Claire Cowan is a composer and performer based in Auckland. She studied composition at Auckland University and since graduating with Honours in 2006, has pursued a career in music for concert, film and theatre. Claire is an experienced orchestrator and symphonic writer, having worked with many of New Zealand’s leading orchestras. Cowan has collaborated on scores for Red leap theatre, the Auckland Theatre Company, Touch Compass, and Thread Theatre’s debut production of ‘The Keepers’ which was nominated for a Chapman Trip award for best original music. Her TV Scoring credits include “Waitangi”, “Billy” and “The Women’s Vote.” In 2015 Claire completed a 6 part mini-series score “Hillary” for TVNZ. As an orchestral arranger she has worked with many of NZ’s leading pop talent including Julia Deans, Anna Coddington, Anika Moa, Dave Dobbyn, The Modern Maori Quartet, Tama Waipara, The Adults, Jon Toogood and Bic Runga. Her own performance project, ‘The Blackbird Ensemble’ (25 piece orchestra) have performed to sold out crowds in since it’s inception in 2010, covering rarely performed classical and popular music by living composers.

 

Ultra Violet:

Claire writes: “I learned that the mantis shrimp (which is the most lusciously hued crustaecean in the world) can see more colours than any creature on earth. Ultra Violet vision (at one far end of the colour spectrum) is only known to a few humans on Earth. But many birds and insects possess this quality.  It is innate to their survival and navigation systems. This piece explores my continued fascination with the seemingly simple yet endlessly complex, through the growth and development of a single musical statement. What does it need to survive? How must it adapt to move forward? How will it change colour and mood with the simple addition of a non-related pitch? I think of myself as a bird, navigating through a musical landscape guided by intuition, and on a journey to create and discover colours beyond the edges of our visible spectrum.”

 

Subtle Dances:

Subtle Dances

Be Slow and Lie Low

Nerve Lines  

Claire writes: “Subtle Dances is a set of three short moods for Piano Trio. Each work features one instrument more prominently: firstly cello; then piano; then violin. The music explores my ongoing fascination with the creation of space within music. Hypnotic and meditative, the pieces present themselves as a contrasting set of interior landscapes –– passing thoughts, memories, unsolvable problems, and explorations of headspace.

It begins with a dance: a rhythmical and passionate interlocking of playful lines, but not without an element of danger and risk. Next, an elegy: the body in its slowest state. Finally, struggle: an unanswered question, a cycle, and ultimately, transition –bursting through into a new light.”

 

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