Wax Lyrical wins SOUNZ Contemporary Award10 Sep 2008 20:45
Chris Gendall's Wax Lyrical for an octet of flute, clarinet, harp, piano, and string quartet has been adjudged winner of the 2008 SOUNZ Contemporary Award. The announcement was made and award presented to the composer as part of the APRA-hosted event in Auckland Town Hall which included announcement of the 2008 Maioha and 2008 APRA Silver Scroll Awards.
The Awards evening began with a moving tribute to the late Mahinarangi Tocker. Ruia Aperahama's Rere Reta Rere Reta was winner of the of the 2008 Maioha Award and Opshop won both the 2008 APRA Silver Scroll Award and the honour of having the most performed song for One Fine Day. In addition Kiwi-icons The Topp Twins were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, and New Zealand Musician magazine was honoured for its 20 years of sterling service to the New Zealand music industry.
Chris was commissioned to write Wax Lyrical by American ensemble Brave New Works with funding from the Mellon Foundation. Brave New Works first performed the work in a series of concerts across New York State in April this year. "The title 'wax lyrical' refers to an exuberant and energetic sensibility in the work," Chris told us. He was in Auckland for the occasion but is currently living in the USA as he completes a DMA at Cornell University, New York. “A DMA is essentially a PhD but specific to practical musicians. It has allowed me to balance composerly pursuits with academic ones. The entire experience has been great: working intensely on my music; teaching and studying for greater academic rigour; and living in the northeast USA – which has been an education in itself! I think I'm yet to become an 'ex-pat' composer, although my international experience has certainly broadened my concept of who I am as a musician.”
Chris is the youngest composer to win the prestigious award since it was instituted in 1998. He has already gathered several other honours in his burgeoning career: including being the inaugural winner of the Todd Foundation–NZSO Young Composer award in 2005 with So It Goes and winning an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for Moto Perpetuo . He has been involved with three Asian Composers League Festivals, including being the New Zealand entrant and prizewinner for the Young Composers Competition in Israel. As well as prizes in 2001 and 2002 he was placed first in the 2003 Lilburn Trust Awards, and was awarded the 2002 Wellington City Council Prize for Music.
The other two works selected as finalists for the 2008 SOUNZ Contemporary Award were Remote Presence for solo piano by Chris Cree Brown and Requiem Concerto by Peter Scholes for chamber ensemble, solo violin and voices.
The SOUNZ Contemporary Award , established in 1998, is a project of APRA , Australasian Performing Right Association and SOUNZ and is awarded to a work written by New Zealand composers who are members of APRA which have been premiered in the previous year. The works can be for solo, chamber, ensemble, choral, opera, orchestral, electro-acoustic or any combination of these. The Centre for NZ Music convenes a jury to judge the entries on creative and artistic criteria including compositional excellence and inspiration.The annual award consists of a cash prize (currently $3,000) and a trophy designed and made by Auckland sculptor Sarah Smuts Kennedy.