Year 2023 in Review

This year the TAVAC held its second music composition competition.
It was a privilege for TAVAC to host some experienced composers and some composers who will likely be of note in the future. The examiners who kindly volunteered were Lee Cameron (Concert Pianist, Music Teacher), Simon Eastwood (Composers Association of NZ CANZ) and Kassandra Wang (CANZ, Music Teacher).
The winners of the competition were in order: Tie First Place Luke (YuYang) Ding and Chris Artley, Second Place Andrew Perkins and Third Place James Burt. The descriptions of the composers and their compositions, in their own words, follow.

First Place Tie: Luke (YuYang) Ding with 'Bagatelle Opus 10 No.1 '

Yu yang Ding I'm Luke (YuYang) Ding, currently a 15 year old student at Westlake Boys Highschool. Music has always been a strong interest for me ever since starting the piano at a young age. I enjoy improvising, which led me to write them down as my first compositions. Some of my musical achievements include winning third place at the international Chopin Avenue Piano Competition and being awarded an outstanding NCEA music scholarship last year, being the first year 10 at Westlake Boys to achieve an outstanding scholarship. This year, I have also won the NZCT Chamber Music composition competition with my Fantasy for Piano Trio op.7. I am wishing to continue developing my musical skills and take on composing professionally in the future. This piece starts off my set of Bagatelles, a collection of 8 pieces for the piano with contrasting moods. The piece is vibrant and energetic, but still contains more thoughtful moments. As usual with my compositional style, I draw many inspiration from French composers such as Ravel but in this particular piece I also wanted to experiment with traditional Chinese folk music.

First Place Tie: Chris Artley with 'Scherzo Seven'

Chris Artley Chris Artley is a multi award winning composer based in Auckland and is largely known for his choral works. Originally from the UK, Chris has been based in Auckland for the last twenty years, where he teaches music at King’s College. He is classically trained on piano with a degree in Music from Bristol University. He also has a Grad DipMus focusing on jazz and composition from Auckland University. Scherzo Seven combines Chris’ love of classical and jazz music to produce a lighthearted and cheerful piano piece.

Video: Scherzo Seven by Chris Artley, performed with Jeremy Woodside at the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts

Second Place: Andrew Perkins with 'Choreography of Birds'

Andrew Perkins Andrew Perkins was born in Warkworth, New Zealand. 1992 he was appointed Auckland Philharmonia’s third Composer In Residence, and completed his PhD Music at Melbourne University, graduating in 2013. He now resides in Dunedin, NZ. Andrew has had a number of significant works recorded and performed in New Zealand and internationally. These include Waltz-Fantasia for orchestra (2012), Vespers for Pentecost for soprano, choir, tambura, and orchestra (2012), The Radish and the Shoe for narrator and orchestra, Three Spanish Songs for mezzo and orchestra, Concerto Grosso for flute, harpsichord and strings (2015), and Nga Manu O Te Ngahere (2022) which was commissioned by NZ Forest and Bird.   Choreography of Birds is an instrumental fugue depicting the joyful flight of birds in the composer’s garden in Saint Leonards, Dunedin.

Third Place: James Burt - 'The Old Master of Tongue-in-Cheek'

James Burt I am 17 years old, live in Christchurch and am currently a year 12 at Christ’s College. I play Tenor and Soprano Saxophone in the school’s Big Band and Jazz Combo and have done a few arrangements for these groups. I also sing in the school chior and for the vocal charts in Big Band. I mostly write for the school orchestra and am preparing to sit Scholarship Music for composition this year. Outside of music I enjoy drama and was in the Luminaries Charitable Trust’s production of Heathers. I also dabble in directing my scene one best Fight Scene in the Shielah Winn Shakespeare competition. ‘The Old Master of Tongue-in-Cheek’ is my second attempt at writing jazz. The first being a sax quartet piece called Blind Mice Blues. This piece is somewhat inspired by Fagin from the musical OLIVER! I wrote the bass opening not knowing where it was going but once I added the Trombone swells I felt that it was reminiscent of a film noir cop show. From then on I tried to capture the sort the playful yet experienced feel of Fagin as a character. The title reflects those two key character traits and the tempo change demonstrates the seriousness he gets near the end of OLIVER!