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  • David Griffiths

  • Born: 1950
  • Fully Represented SOUNZ Composer


David Griffiths (born 1950, Auckland, New Zealand) is a composer, baritone and music educator. Griffiths has gained national and international recognition as a composer, opera singer and recital soloist. His choral compositions are particularly popular in the United States of America and have, in recent years, been recorded by several choirs while many works have been included on various record labels including Naxos Records, Kiwi Pacific and Atoll.

David has published scores for a wide range of performers including choral music, song cycles, songs, opera, piano music and chamber music for a variety of instruments. He has written commissions for numerous musicians and groups including the Karlheinz Company and the New Zealand Chamber Soloists and has received official support for compositional projects through Creative New Zealand.

Griffiths has gained a particular reputation as a choral composer with choral works being performed by choirs around the world and several recordings made by choirs in the United States of America. Te Deum Laudamus was commissioned by award winning, Seattle based vocal ensemble, Opus 7 for their 10th anniversary celebrations in 2002. Other notable works include, The Servant, for choir, soloist and two string quartets, and operas, The Woman from Moab, based on the biblical book of Ruth and The White Lady.

Griffiths frequently draws on existing texts for his songs. Many of these have been of an original New Zealand setting, such as Six Watercolours. This work, originally commissioned by John Rimmer, consists of six art songs with poetry inspired by the paintings of Doris Lusk. They describe some of the untouched landscapes along the New Zealand coast. Other texts are drawn from original traditional Latin liturgical texts and a variety of sources as exhibited in the collected CD of his early art songs, “Charms and Knots”.

As a baritone Griffiths has performed as a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, all major choral societies in New Zealand and regularly with NBR New Zealand Opera. He has also performed as a recital soloist, representing New Zealand in Taiwan, the US, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Griffiths works as a freelance composer and was previously a senior lecturer at Waikato University’s Music Department. He has held positions of lecturer and senior lecturer in voice at universities throughout New Zealand and as such has trained singers who have gone on to perform with distinguished companies such as the Cologne Opera and The Bayreuth Chorus.

Source: David Griffiths, June 2007. Updated by SOUNZ, April 2017.

Selected Works

Beata Virgo for 12 part (SSSAAATTTBBB) choir  
Cosmic Praise for SATB choir and SATB soloists  
Dormi Jesu for SATB choir  
Five Landscapes for SATB choir  
Five Love Songs for tenor and piano  
Four Tudor Anthems for SATB choir  
Lie Deep, My Love a cycle of three settings of poems by James K. Baxter for SATB choir and soloists  
Salve Regina for double SATB choir  
Six Legs or More For piano  
Sonata for horn and piano  


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