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Composer

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  • Brigid Ursula Bisley

  • Fully Represented SOUNZ Composer

Biography

Brigid Ursula Bisley (B.Mus., LTCL, founder of Waitakere City Orchestra) was in born in 1961 in Hamilton. She came from a musical family and displayed exceptional musical ability from an early age. Beginning with the piano at age 5 and the violin at age 7, her background since then has been diverse and has also included training in choral singing, vocal technique, composition, orchestration, and conducting.

While attending high school she was very active musically, giving violin and piano recitals, singing in school and church choirs, and conducting school music.

She was then educated at Auckland University School of Music, where she studied performance in violin, and then went on to major in composition, under John Rimmer and John Elmsly. She also visited Freiburg in Germany, where she attended tutorials, masterclasses and concerts, under the guidance of Brian Ferneyhough. Since graduating from AUSOM in 1986, she has worked as a professional composer writing for voice, piano, cello, chamber ensembles and orchestra, and has also written music for contemporary dance.

She now receives regular commissions and her work has been performed in New Zealand, Europe and England, and broadcast in New Zealand. She was a finalist in the 1999 SOUNZ Contemporary Award for her song cycle Come Back Safely for soprano, string quintet and percussion. In 2003 her orchestral work Illuminations was recorded as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ readings. In 2004 In Memoriam was premièred by Stroma with Richard Nunns. 2011 saw the première of Unbound for string quartet by the New Zealand String Quartet at the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson. Brigid composed the scores for the 2008 feature film ‘Jinx Sister’ and the 2010 short film ‘Appetite’.

Since 1994 she has also been pursuing conducting as a second career, and studied privately for 4 years with the late maestro Eliano Mattiozzi Petralia, learning the Viennese School of Conducting. She has worked in Auckland as a freelance conductor and is the founder and conductor of the Waitakere City Orchestra, West Auckland, a part-time professional/semi-professional classical sized orchestra that brings live music to the community, appears at Civic events, and offers playing opportunities to good amateurs and advanced students, and performance opportunities of works by local composers. Her other musical accomplishments include running a private music teaching practice, teaching music in schools, improvisation workshops for children, and successfully organizing concerts.

Brigid is married, with 3 daughters.

Source: Brigid Bisley, May 2007. Updated by SOUNZ, April 2017.

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