kiwi compositions

The NZCT Chamber Music Contest is the longest running youth music competition in New Zealand and is the only nationwide chamber music competition for young secondary school musicians and composers in the country. Two new compositions have been written for two ensembles on different journeys through the Contest: Auckland’s Diocesan School Chamber Ensemble and Virtuoso Strings from Porirua.

New NZ composition: Aquarelle I & II
Ben Hoadley

This year, Ben Hoadley, who teaches bassoon at Diocesan School for Girls, was approached to compose a work for the NZCT Chamber Music Contest. Apart from being one of the best bassoonists in Australasia, he is also a very talented pianist, composer and teacher.

These two vignettes were written for the Diocesan School Chamber Ensemble in 2019 and can be performed in any order. Inspired by the beautiful transparent watercolours of NZ artist Carol Readman, who creates delicate yet vivid works, this ancient technique of aquarelle painting is often realised in only one short sitting – this was both an inspiration and a challenge for me as a composer.” – Composer, Ben Hoadley

The piece was awarded the SOUNZ Best Performance of the New Zealand work in the Auckland District Round, and was performed a second time ahead of CMNZ’s Francesco Turrisi concert in Auckland.

New NZ composition: Goodnight Kiwi
Craig Utting

“It’s very exciting presenting secondary school students to contemporary music, and the wealth of talent that exists amongst our NZ composers. The students always end up saying these pieces have been their favourites and they love the challenge!” – Shelagh Thomson, Performing Arts Director at Diocesan School for Girls

“Goodnight Kiwi” was composed by Craig Utting especially for the Virtuoso Strings Octet to perform in the 2019 NZCT Chamber Music Contest. It was written in memory of Cedric Doak. Cedric found companionship and a sense of belonging in the Porirua-based Virtuoso Strings Orchestra.

Virtuoso Strings, established in 2012 runs a comprehensive, holistic, free music scheme, including a community orchestra, based in Cannons Creek Porirua. They believe that music education has far reaching impacts and should be accessible for all. Through providing music tuition and opportunities to engage cooperatively as an orchestra, they equip their students with real skills for life.

Goodnight Kiwi consists of variations on the Māori waiata “Hine e Hine” which was shared by a short animation from Sam Harvey that wished viewers goodnight once the day’s broadcasting ended in the days before 24-hour television. Each night the plucky Kiwi shut up shop at the TV station, put out the milk, and caught the lift up to sleep in a satellite dish with The Cat. For a generation of kids, Goodnight Kiwi became a much-loved symbol of staying up well past your bedtime. Mysteriously, viewers never questioned why our nocturnal national icon was going to bed at night or sharing a bed with a cat.

Each year the NZCT Chamber Music Contest attracts over 400 groups from 15 districts across Aotearoa in June. This year 1,500 secondary school students took to the stage to compete for 6 places in the National Final held in Auckland on Saturday the 3rd of August.

in this issue…

Sounds of Colour

Taonga Puoro


Creative New Zealand | Toi Aotearoa