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Judith Clark Memorial

Picture Judith Clark, much loved teacher whose influence reached generations of New Zealand pianists, passed away in February 2014. One of her protégés, Nicola Melville, is now Associate Professor at Minnesota's Carleton College.

Nicola returned to New Zealand for the 2015 Adam Chamber Music Festival, performing a concert that included commissions written in memory of Judith by Eve de Castro-Robinson , Ross Harris , and Gareth Farr . The commissions were funded by Creative New Zealand.

These Resound films were made by Chris Watson and the audio was engineered and produced by RNZ Concert.


 Eve de Castro-Robinson: Chat


Whenever I ran into Judith over the years at some music event or other in Wellington, I was touched by the way her face would light up. Our exchanges were always light and cheery but I was struck by the deep wisdom etched on that marvellous face and the richness of her contralto tone. The little tribute I’ve written is marked Free, capricious, whimsical and comprises a series of conversational gestures, like a chat between friends.

Eve de Castro-Robinson has been commissioned and performed by a wide variety of performers, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, with whom she was Composer-in-Residence in 1991, Chamber Music New Zealand, the New Zealand String Quartet, NZ Trio, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, the Nash Ensemble of London and many soloists including Alexander Ivashkin, Jane Manning and Stephen De Pledge. She was the first person to graduate DMus in Composition from the University of Auckland in 1991 and is currently Associate-Professor in Composition there.


Ross Harris: In Memory - Judith Clark


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, five 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, a symphony, 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.”

Below is an introduction to the work by Ross Harris

Gareth Farr: Gem

Picture Gareth Farr (b.1968) began his studies in composition and percussion performance at the University of Auckland. The experience of hearing a visiting gamelan orchestra prompted his return to Wellington to attend Victoria University, where the characteristic rhythms and textures of the Indonesian gamelan rapidly became hallmarks of his own composition. Farr continued with postgraduate study in composition and percussion at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where his teachers included Samuel Adler and Christopher Rouse. In 1993, at the age of 25, Farr was appointed composer-in-residence by Chamber Music New Zealand, the youngest-ever composer to hold that position.

Since then, his music has been heard at, or especially commissioned for high-profile events including the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (the 25-minute From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs ), the opening of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa , for orchestra with soprano, tenor and kaikaranga (indigenous New Zealand Maori chant), a work hailed as ‘music with a powerful and moving impact that transcends idiom and individual taste’), and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney (Hikoi , a concerto for percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the NZSO).
 Below is a tribute to Judith Clark from Christine Argyle