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Arts laureate Ross Harris is one of New Zealand’s leading composers. He has written more than two hundred compositions including opera, symphonic music, chamber music, klezmer and electronic music. He has won the prestigious SOUNZ Contemporary Award more times than any other New Zealand composer.

Harris received a QSM in 1985 for his opera Waituhi with libretto by Witi Ihimaera and the CANZ Citation for Services to New Zealand Music in 1990. His major works include five string quartets, six symphonies, a violin concerto (premiered by Anthony Marwood in 2010) and a cello concerto (premiered by Li-Wei Qin in 2012).

His collaborations with poet Vincent O’Sullivan have produced two operas, two symphonies, three song cycles and Requiem for the Fallen. One of the song cycles The Abiding Tides (for soprano Jenny Wollerman and the New Zealand String Quartet was described by music critic Rod Biss as “…a work that instantly enriched our heritage of New Zealand music”. His Requiem for the Fallen (2014) has been described as “a devastating commentary on the ravages of war.” and “This was a never-to-be-forgotten experience for all who attended.”

Recent premieres include Aria for Solo Viola and String Orchestra (2014) by Robert Ashworth and Auckland Philharmonia, Piano Quintet (2015) by the New Zealand String Quartet and Stephen de Pledge, There May Be Light (2016) by Julian Bliss and NZTrio, Symphony No. 6 (words by Vincent O’Sullivan) by Auckland Philharmonia, and Brass Poppies (2016), a chamber opera with libretto by Vincent O’Sullivan at the Wellington International Festival.

Source: Ross Harris. Updated by SOUNZ, February 2017.

Selected Works

...the beginning of a new story... for full orchestra  
Dreams, Yellow Lions for baritone and chamber ensemble  
Echo for trumpet and tape delay system  
Fanitullen (the devil's song) for solo violin  
Koan an electroacoustic work  
Labyrinth for Tuba and Orchestra  
Symphony No. 2 for mezzo-soprano and orchestra  
The Sleep of Reason.... for mixed chamber sextet  
To the memory of I.S. Totzka for soprano soloist with chamber nonet  
Variation for solo piano  


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