String Taxonomy, written for Piano Trio and Guzheng (2016)

Onaia (2014) – c. 15′

String Taxonomy

Dorothy writes: “A sonic alchemy amongst the four instruments emerges through shared gestures, so that bowing, plucking, striking and bending are no longer what distinguishes them. Research for the piece has taken place in collaboration with Dr Shu Jiang, a guzheng player based at Sheffield University.”

Performed in collaboration with Chinese guzheng master, Xia Jing.



Dorothy writes: “Onaia stream (near Rotorua/Te Puke) passes through a narrow gully, where it is possible to wade barefoot through the shallow waters, going deeper and deeper into the high banks and ancient foliage, for several hours. Onaia is not a depiction of that place (nor a journey through it) but a translation of its energies. The sounds are not from there but make a visceral connection to it, playing with patterns and resonances, and with various qualities of surface and touch. The piece falls in pitch from extreme height to the deepest available pitch, a musical journey that might be understood as the unravelling of a single, stratified, spectrum of texture and resonance.”

Onaia was co-commissioned by the Fidelio Trio and NZTrio, with funding provided by Creative New Zealand. It was composed while Dorothy was in residence at the Lilburn House in Wellington, NZ, while on Study Leave from the University from Sheffield in 2013-2014. In 2015 she was awarded the Composers Association of NZ Trust Fund Award for her contribution to New Zealand music.


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