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  • Gillian Bibby

  • Born: 1945
  • Fully Represented SOUNZ Composer

“Silence is given to us so that we may draw sustenance from it” – Arvo Part


Gillian Bibby is one of New Zealand’s foremost piano teachers, a pianist, composer and writer on music. She studied at the University of Otago, then for several years each at the Berlin Academy for Music and Performance Arts, The Free University of Berlin and the Cologne Conservatorium of Music.

She was a winner of the Philip Neill prize in composition, the Kranichsteiner prize in composition, the Darmstadt prize for new music, was Mozart Fellow at Otago for 2 years, and a Churchill Fellowship took her for 4 months of research in the United States of America.

She was president of CANZ for two terms, president of the Wellington Gifted Children’s Association, chairman of the Suzuki Teacher Trainers’ committee and on the Executive Board of the NZ Suzuki Institute for many years, examiner in piano for the Australian Music Examinations Board and is currently examiner for the new NZ Music Examinations Board. She has been on the National Council of the IRMT, a member of the Wellington IRMT committee, and has worked with the WPIG organisation for a score of years.

She has been very active as a pianist, performing widely in Europe and in New Zealand as a national recording artist, her CDs including Life, Love and Death; The Songs of the Morning: a story of music in early Antarctica; and she appeared on the recent Douglas Lilburn: Salutes to Poets. She has become one of the busiest and most successful piano teachers in the country, her former students now studying in universities around the world. She has also lectured at several universities on composition and musicology, and wrote music columns for 10 years for the NZ Listener, the Evening Post, Music in NZ and other journals.

For the last eleven years she has administered the CHAMPS Trust, a body she set up dedicated to offering professional training in chamber music to young students in the Wellington area.

Her compositions cover most genres, but those of the past few years have been written primarily for her students. A number of these works have been published in Sunrise, a volume of New Zealand piano music that she edited for the Wellington Piano and Instrumental group.

Source: Gillian Bibby, September 2009

Selected Works

Aie! A Conversation Piece for tape  
Eleven Characters in Search of a Composer or The Triumph of Black Paris over the Cuckoo Clock for orchestra or military band  
Musik für drei Hörer (Music for 3 Listeners) for clavichord, voice, and percussion  
Sanctuary of Spirits children's opera  
The Beasts song cycle of 6 songs and 5 snatches  
You can't kiss the Tummy of a Caged Lion: Pavane pour un genre defunt for voices and chamber ensemble  


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