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Red Contributor

Philip Norman

Composer, Arranger

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Born: 1953


Composer, conductor, author, speaker, educator and publisher Philip Norman has been presenting work to New Zealand audiences for forty-five years. His output of over 250 compositions ranges from orchestral, chamber music and opera (A Christmas Carol), through secular and sacred choral and vocal works, to musicals with playwright Roger Hall (including Love Off the Shelf and Footrot Flats – still New Zealand’s best selling musical), and ballets for the Royal New Ballet such as the highly successful Peter Pan. His music has been performed in many countries, by organisations as diverse as The Vienna Boys Choir, The Kemerovo Philharmonic Orchestra (Siberia), The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough UK directed by playwright Alan Ayckbourn, and The West Australian Ballet, Perth.

Recent compositions include work commissioned by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (a commemorative fanfare to open its 25th Masterwork Series, 2017), the IFAC Handa New Zealand Singing School (as composer-in-residence, 2017), and the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival Association (The Imaginary Menagerie – fun with tongue twisters – for massed childrens’ choir).

Philip is a past president of the Composers Association of New Zealand, a founder trustee of Christchurch’s The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts (opened in August 2016), the current chairman of the Christchurch City Choir, and conductor of the Risingholme Orchestra. He holds a PhD in musicology and is the award-winning author of Douglas Lilburn: His Life and Music as well as the compiler and publisher of John Ritchie at Ninety: a festschrift. He was the inaugural Lilburn research fellow at the Alexander Turnbull Library in 2013 continuing writing a history of composition in New Zealand, a project still in progress. He was awarded a CNZM for services to music and music theatre in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

For further information and samples of his music visit

[Philip was the recipient of a grant from Adrienne, Lady Stewart as a result of her 2009 Arts Foundation Award for Patronage. More information about Philip Norman is available on the Arts Foundation website.]

Composed (120)

A Christmas Carol

ballet music for orchestra, 1h 40m

A Christmas Carol

three act ballet with music for computer controlled keyboards, 1h 41m

A Christmas Carol

an opera for an ensemble of principals, chorus, dancers and orchestra, 1h 45m

A Factory Opera

a chamber opera for 6 principals, SATB chorus and 2 pianos, 30m

A Lion in the Meadow

for narrator and orchestra

A Man Who is Fifty

for TTBB choir and piano, 5m

A New Sky

a song cycle for TTBB choir

A Padre's Story

theme and incidental music for a TVNZ documentary, for computer-controlled keyboards

A Short Suite

for saxophone quartet, 10m

A Simpleton's Peace

a cycle of six piano pieces, 8m

A Stab In The Dark

a comic operetta, 2h

And soon it will be dawn

for brass and percussion

Another Beatles Medley

for orchestra, 10m

Apple Crumble

a medley of Beatles tunes for orchestra, 12m

At the Lighting of the Lamps

for SATB choir and full orchestra, 13m

Barbershop Quartet Arrangements

For TTBB vocal quartet, 7m


a wedding piece for congregation and organ, 2m

Between the Rivers

for youth orchestra, 9m

Birthday Music

for solo flute, 7m 30s

Bridgewater Quartet

for flute, clarinet, violin and piano, 14m 30s

Canterbury Rhythms

for orchestra, 12m

Carol of the (New Zealand) Birds

for treble voices with piano accompaniment

Carol of the (New Zealand) Birds

for a capella SATB choir

Changing Lanes

for piano


arranged for unaccompanied SATB choir, 3m

Collection of Jazz-Like Arrangements for Choir

for various combinations of SSATB voices

Concerto No.2 For Twenty Car Horns

for 20 cars and a motorbike, 6m

Deck the Bells (with yuletide folly)

for one piano - eight hands, 6m

Dirty Weekends

a gardening musical for 8 singer-actors, piano and/or backing tape, 2h

Does No-One Care?

anthem for SA choir (with soprano and alto solos) and piano, 3m

Dudelsack Medley

for small orchestra with solo dudelsack, 3m 15s

Earthquake: 22.2.11

a single movement work for narrator and orchestra, 6m

Evening Romance

For piano, 3m

Fanfare for Dame Silvia Cartwright

for 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones and tuba, 1m 10s

Fanfare on Personent Hodie

for orchestra with optional choir and optional brass band, 1m 30s

Fanfare on Star-Spangled Banner

for brass and percussion, 1m

Flingamango Tango

for orchestra

Footrot Flats

a musical based on the cartoon of the same name, 2h

Fresh Revolving Pleasures

a chamber musical, 2h

Friendship Haiku

for orchestra, 10m

House of Awa

piano music for dance-theatre piece, 15m

Hunger Songs

for unaccompanied SSA choir, 7m

Inception to Infinity

for solo guitar and string orchestra, 15m

Interface 640

for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, 4m

Jazz Bites

A song recycle for flute, violin, piano and optional double bass, 10m

Jazz Nibbles (son of 'Jazz Bites')

A song recycle for flute, alto saxophone (or viola or clarinet), piano and double bass, 12m


a musical for three actor-singers (Soprano, alto, baritone) and piano, 2h

Joy to the World

arrangement for orchestra

Little Jack Horner

for SSA choir and piano

Love off the Shelf

a musical, 55m

Love Song

for unaccompanied TTBB choir

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis

for SATB choir and organ, 5m 30s

Making It Big

a musical, 2h

Measured Mass

for TTBB choir and organ, 10m


for orchestra, 2m

Morton's Fork

for violin and piano, 2m

Mr Fezziwig's Dance Party

from 'A Christmas Carol' for solo violin or flute and string orchestra, 5m

Murphy's Law

for clarinet and piano

Murphy's Law

for soprano saxophone and piano, 11m

New Chums and the Old Identity

an entertainment for SAB choir, soloists, speakers and orchestra, 1h 10m

New Zealand Made

a dance interlude for theatre production directed by Mark Prain, with choreography by Marion Lyftogt, 16m

O Holy Night

arrangement of carol by Adolphe Adam for solo soprano, choir and orchestra, 6m

On Entering the Temple of Hymen

a wedding piece for trumpet and organ, 4m

One In Five

a road safety musical, 20m


for viola and bassoon, 9m

Our Christmas

for 2-part or 3-part voice with string orchestra, 2m


for orchestra, 6m

Parliament of Women

for piano duet - songs and dances, 19m


arrangement of a traditional French carol for for orchestra and singer, 2m

Peter Pan

music for orchestra for a 3-act ballet, 1h 27m


a song cycle for unaccompanied SATB choir, 12m

Proud to call New Zealand Home

for barbershop quartet - TTBB, 2m

Proud to call New Zealand Home

arranged for SATB choir

Psalm 150

for SA choir, organ and optional cymbals, 3m

Psalm 150

for SATB choir, organ and optional cymbals, 3m

Psalm CL

for SATB choir and organ, 4m

Ravenous Uncles (and Many Thin Greedy Aunts)

four songs for children's choir with piano, 10m


for TTBB choir and piano, 12m


for SATB choir, brass, piano and percussion, 12m


for SATB choir and orchestra, 12m


for SATB choir and piano, 11m 45s


for piano, 10m

Songs of the Wild

for massed choir

Sounds, Symbols and Snippets

vocalises ('Snippets') to accompany a book by Lois M. Clausen, 1m

Stiff Luck For The Undertaker

a comic operetta, 2h

Suite from 'Peter Pan'

for orchestra, 19m

Suite from A Christmas Carol

suite for orchestra, 18m

Te Maia and the Sea-Devil

music for a ballet, 1h

Tense Melodies

for flute and guitar, 6m

Terrible Tom

music for a ballet, 55m

The 'I Am Show'

a health musical, 14m

The Ballad of Settler McGee

for choir, orchestra, jazz orchestra, rock group Maori ensemble and audience, 18m

The Ballad of Settler McGee

arranged for symphonic band, 16m

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

for solo soprano, SATB choir and orchestra, 4m

The Castaway Sailor

for narrator and orchestra, 25m

The Cat Who Became a Poet

for narrator and orchestra

The Dress-Up Box

An arrangement of forty songs by Felicity Williams for a children's television series, 2h 40m

The Earth We Share

easy arrangement for SATB choir and piano, 2m

The Earth We Share

for unison voice(s) and piano, 3m

The Juggler

for orchestra, 5m

The Park

a suite for orchestra, 20m

The Pleasure Garden

chamber opera for three principals, SATB chorus with solos from chorus and 2 pianos, 20m

The Song of the Pioneer

for TTBB choir and piano, 2m

Thog Thaga

a musical for children, 25m

Transports of Delight

for for piano and massed choir with SA harmony, 3m 15s

Tui Trio

for tenor saxophone, viola and piano, 7m

Two Anthems

for full orchestra

Two Brunnei Folksongs

For SSA choir and piano, 6m

Waiting for Caroline

for viola and piano

Waiting for Caroline

sonata for horn and piano, 15m


for orchestra and SA choir with optional TB parts


a Christmas cantata for unison treble choir and orchestra, 13m

When Gravity Fails

for viola and piano, 14m

When Gravity Fails

for viola and orchestra

Where would a songwriter be without love?

compilation musical based on a selection of the composer's songs, 2h

Witches, Clowns, Promises

A cycle of five songs for children's voices and orchestra, 10m

Witches, Clowns, Promises

a cycle of five songs for voice (or unison voices) and piano, 10m

Wonderful Me

For voice(s) and piano with optional harmony

Arranged (3)

Joy to the World

arrangement for orchestra


arrangement of a traditional French carol for for orchestra and singer, 2m

Te Harinui

arranged for orchestra by Philip Norman