NZTrio Composing Competition overview

In 2015 we kicked off our first NZTrio Composing Competition for tertiary students across five main universities in New Zealand: Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury, and Dunedin. Students, ranging from first year to post-grad levels, are asked to respond to a brief and submit a short work to begin the workshopping process. The works that make it to the next stage are workshopped live as a group in each centre with NZTrio and handed back for re-working and final submission. A total of 9 or 10 works are selected for a final Winners concert performed live to the public and professionally recorded with the help of SOUNZ and participating universities.


NZTrio Composing Competition 2021

Theme: AudioVisualise

Brief: This year NZTrio challenged tertiary composition students to create a new work (up to 10mins in length) inspired by a New Zealand artist or specific artwork that ‘speaks’ to them as a composer.

Our fourth NZTrio Composing Competition came face to face with the Covid-19 pandemic, however we received entries from around Aotearoa, 15 of which progressed to the workshop round. Due to travel restrictions, three feedback/workshop sessions were held online with Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago students. With the help of guest judge Alex Taylor, 6 winners were selected to be performed by NZTrio in Auckland at the Winners’ Concert.

We would like to congratulate all entrants on their submissions this year, and particularly acknowledge the following entries:

2021 Winners:

Scarlett Peckham (NZSM): Black Paintings (inspired by Ralph Hotere’s “Black Paintings”)

Ben Daley (University of Auckland): Ocean’s Turning (inspired by Jim Tannock’s “I would have protected you”)

Ewan Collins (University of Auckland): The Other Half (inspired by Fiona Clark’s “The Other Half”)

Jessie Leov (University of Auckland): Convergency (inspired by Lee Woodman’s “Meditations on Hundertwasser”)

Rosa Elliott (University of Auckland): Small Holes in the Silence (inspired by Ralph Hotere’s “Rain”)

Thomas Bedgood (University of Canterbury): The Golden Tinted (inspired by Bill Hammond’s bird art)

The 2021 NZTrio Composing Competition was generously supported by the Freemasons Foundation.


NZTrio Composing Competition 2019

Theme: Impetus
Brief: Write a composition no longer than 10 minutes in length inspired by the issues you feel would benefit from more public awareness.
A total of 31 scores were submitted from around the country to our third NZTrio Composing Competition. 15 entries were chosen to progress to the workshop rounds held in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. 9 finalists were selected with the help of Dame Gillian Whitehead to perform in Auckland at the Winners Concert.
Our warm congratulations go to the finalists and all the composers, teachers, and mentors who participated.

2019 Finalists:
Robert William Bryce  (University of Canterbury): Caillte
Ewan Collins (University of Auckland): Tinnitus of a City
Rakuto Kurano (University of Canterbury): Fantail in Tokyo
Ihlara McIndoe (University of Otago): (ir)rationality
Ming Shi (NZSM): Villager’s Whisper
Nathaniel Otley(University of Otago): … dimension of loss
Liam Pram (University of Auckland): Auckland Housing
Joshua Taylor(University of Auckland): quirkdale
Kassandra Wang (NZSM): Matakite for the Microbiome

NZTrio Composing Competition 2017:

Title: Turn a Phrase
Brief: find a New Zealand author or poet whose carefully crafted words inspire a musical work of no more than 10 minutes in length.
A total of 23 scores were submitted from around the country, 17 entries were chosen to progress to the workshop rounds, and 9 winners selected with the help of composer Juliet Palmer.

2017 Finalists:

Riley Cahill: Territory of the Heart
Josiah Carr: Time and Glue
Rosa Elliott: Voices of the Air
Richard Francis: Reflections
Marcus Jackson: when where
Lily James: Charcoal on White Snow
Callum Mallett: Departure, at the Going Tide
Abby Pinkerton: Whispers and Echoes
Xu Tang: One Two Three

NZTrio Composing Competition 2015: Celebrating Lilburn

Title: Celebrating Lilburn
Brief: write a new work for Piano Trio that references, or responds to, Douglas Lilburn’s life and work.
A total of 41 scores were submitted from around the country, 18 compositions selected for workshops, and 10 finalists chosen with the help of composer Ken Young.

2015 Finalists:

Click on each winner to watch NZTrio’s Wellington performance of their work, or click the link at the bottom to watch the full unedited concert.
Zac Johns: Snap 
Josiah Carr: still: waiting
Reuben Jelleyman: Analysis/Synthesis
Isaac Shatford: Aeroplanes Over Aotearoa
Matthew Everingham: A Search for a Language
Trevor Coleman: Lilburn Blue 
Glen Downie: Extrapolation
Alex van den Broek: View from Mt Peel
Caitlin Morris: The Song of Cloudy Bay/Te Koko-o-Kupe
Jeremy Mayall: Fourteen moments for three

Click here to watch the complete Winners’ Concert in Wellington

All Video filmed and edited by Chris Watson from SOUNZ, and sound-recorded by NZSM.