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Craig Utting was born in Wellington where he attended Onslow and Tawa Colleges. At Auckland University he studied Composition with Douglas Mews, John Rimmer and John Elmsly, completing an M.Mus. degree with 1st class Honours in 1987. From 1988-9 he was a violist in the Schola Musica of the NZSO, and since then has been a member of the Wellington Sinfonia. He was also employed for many years as a ballet pianist in various studios around Wellington.

Currently Craig works as a composer and arranger. He is also a specialised music-typesetter (using the Sibelius software), for local musicians and organisations, as well as for various European publishers through an agency in Freiburg.

Craig believes that music is written to be played! As a perfomer himself, he insists that the musicians’ enjoyment of the music is of crucial importance – when the performers are themselves excited or moved by the music they will convey it far more convincingly to an audience. He thinks that ‘cleverness’ for its own sake has little merit, and that any musical device or technique should only be used if it contributes to the overall atmosphere or emotion of a composition.

His orchestral works “Spirals”, “Cirrus” and “Lahar” have all been finalists in the NZSO/Radio New Zealand Concert Douglas Lilburn Prize, in 2000, 2003 and 2006 respectively. Tower NZ Youth Choir is singing a commissioned work “Voices of Aotearoa” on their 2007 European tour.

Craig and his wife Elizabeth Sneyd run a music school from their home in Tawa, Wellington (, where he teaches piano and Elizabeth teaches violin and preschool music classes. They have six children of their own, all of whom (naturally!) have shown early interest and talent in music!

Source: Craig Utting, June 2007

Selected Works

Adrift for four cellos  
Chestnuts on a Mantlepiece for SSAA and piano duet  
Collages for twelve violas  
Covenant for piano  
Everyone Suddenly Burst Out Singing for unaccompanied SSAA choir  
Four Poems for String Orchestra for string orchestra  
Gunfighter for SSAA and piano  
Kapiti for baritone and chamber ensemble  
Monument for SATB choir and organ or piano  
Monument for SSAA choir and piano or organ  


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