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Red Contributor


Claire Cowan

Composer

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Born: 1983

Biography

Claire Cowan is a composer and performer based in Auckland. She studied composition at Auckland University and since graduating with Honours in 2006, has pursued a career in music for concert, film and theatre. Claire is an experienced orchestrator and symphonic writer, having worked with many of New Zealand’s leading orchestras.

Cowan has collaborated on scores for Red leap theatre, the Auckland Theatre Company, Touch Compass, and Thread Theatre’s debut production of ‘The Keepers’ where her composition was nominated for a Chapman Trip award for best original music. Her TV Scoring credits include “What Really Happened: Waitangi”, “Billy” and “What Really Happened: The Women’s Vote.” In 2015 Claire completed a 6 part mini-series score “Hillary” for TVNZ screened mid 2016 and continues work on the NZ animated feature “Shirley and the Hungary Bear” (Yukfoo.)

Cowan’s music has been performed by soloists and ensembles throughout the USA, New Zealand, Europe, Japan and Australia. Her film music has been heard in the New Zealand International Film Festival and many overseas festivals. Her piano trio ‘Subtle Dances’ co-commissioned by NZTrio and Chamber Music NZ, remains their most performed NZ Commission. She has a special interest in flamenco music and dance, and has twice collaborated with the Spanish Flamenco artist Isabel Rivera Cuenca, for performances throughout NZ.

As an orchestral arranger she has worked with many of NZ’s leading pop talent including Julia Deans, Anna Coddington, Anika Moa, Dave Dobbyn, The Modern Maori Quartet, Tama Waipara, The Adults, Jon Toogood, Ria Hall, and Bic Runga.

Her own performance project, ‘The Blackbird Ensemble’ (25 piece orchestra) have performed to sold out crowds since its inception in 2010, covering rarely performed classical and popular music by living composers. In 2014 the ensemble received a grant to develop a groundbreaking new show ‘The Afterlife’ which combines devised physical theatre with experimental music and classical musicians. In 2015 she joined the band SJD as its keyboard player and backing vocalist. In 2015-2016 Claire was Composer-in-Residence with Orchestra Wellington, and created a new Violin concerto for Amalia Hall. In 2017 she is working on three new Blackbird Ensemble productions, and a new telefeature score for Great Southern Pictures.

Claire is represented by Native Tongue Publishing.

I like to collaborate with other artists so that I may be musically inspired by their creative vision, and in turn they may become inspired by mine. In music and art I admire simplicity, emotion and originality.


Composed (16)

'Whetu-Rere' - The Sea Lion and the Comet

for voice and mixed chamber sextet with taonga puoro, 22m


Bus Stop

for six percussionists, 6m


Here at this quiet limit of the world

for full orchestra, 10m


Incantations

for orchestra, 6m 30s


legend of the trojan bird

for full orchestra


My Alphabet of Light

for orchestra, 6m


Opito

for orchestra, 6m


Paper dragonfly

for piano


Shadow Hands

for solo piano, 7m


Skip

for two percussion, 5m


Stark

violin concerto, 28m


Subtle Dances

for piano trio


Trains of Thinking

for orchestra, 8m


Ultra Violet

for violin, cello and piano


Whaler

short evocative work for solo cello, 1m


wood : strings : hammers : flesh

for violin, cello and piano, 10m



Recordings (3)

Helen Webby: Pluck

Not applicable


NZTrio: Lightbox

Not applicable


NZTrio: Sway

Not applicable