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Maria Grenfell


Born: 1969 Website  


Maria Grenfell was born in Malaysia in 1969 and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, graduating with a Master of Music degree from the University of Canterbury. She completed further studies in the United States of America, gaining a Master of Arts from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and a doctorate from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she was also a lecturer. Her teachers have included Stephen Hartke, Erica Muhl, James Hopkins and Morten Lauridsen in Los Angeles, and Joseph Schwantner and Samuel Adler in New York.

Maria Grenfell’s work takes much of its influence from poetic, literary and visual sources and from non-Western music and literature. Her works are performed by musicians such as the Australia Ensemble, The Seymour Group, the Vienna Piano Trio, the New Zealand Trio, Palisades Virtuosi (New Jersey USA) and Antipoduo (Netherlands). Orchestras that have commissioned, performed or recorded her music include the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney, Tasmanian, West Australian Symphony Orchestras, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Wellington Sinfonia and the Christchurch Symphony. Maria Grenfell’s music is broadcast regularly on ABC Classic FM in Australia and Concert FM in New Zealand, and is released on Tall Poppies, Kiwi-Pacific and Trust CDs. Her works are available from the Australian Music Centre, SOUNZ, and Reed Music.

In 2017 her double concerto Spirals won the Tasmanian award for ‘Orchestral Work of the Year, and her music was commissioned for the documentary films Quoll Farm, aired in 2021 and Living with Devils in 2023.

Maria co-ordinates and teaches at the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras Australian Composers School, an annual emerging composer program. She has also been a violinist with the Christchurch Symphony and the New Zealand Youth Orchestra, and has performed bowed piano with the University of Southern California Percussion Ensemble. Her awards include the Jimmy McHugh Composition Prize and the Halsey Stevens Prize from the University of Southern California, the Composers’ Association of New Zealand Trust Fund Award and the University of Otago’s prestigious Philip Neill Memorial Prize. Maria lives in Hobart, Australia, with her husband, guitarist David Malone, and son, Alexander, and is a lecturer in music at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music.

Photo Credit: Anthony McKee

Composed (46)

...serenades and skirmishing

for chamber orchestra, 14m

A Feather of Blue

for piano trio, 9m

A Pinch of Time...

for baritone (or medium voice) and piano, 18m


for orchestra, 7m

Blue Green Red Black

for percussion ensemble of four players, 14m

Ceol na Fidhle

for violin and percussion, 9m


for string orchestra, 9m


for clarinet, cello, double bass and string orchestra

Dancing at the Camerata

for brass quintet, 10m 8s

Dancing in the Snake Pit

for oboe and piano, 10m

Dancing in the Snake Pit

for clarinet and piano

Dancing in the Snake Pit

for soprano saxophone and piano

Di Primavera

for guitar and marimba, 6m

Fanfare for a City

for orchestra, 4m

Five Years

for oboe, 10m

Four Leunig Pieces

for guitar, 12m

Four Pooh Stories

for flute, 10m


for orchestra

Hutia te rito o te harakeke

for community choir and orchestra, 10m

Maui tikitiki a Taranga

for flute and orchestra, 20m

Night Songs

for SATB choir and orchestra, 15m


for piano, 3m

Passage of Light

for flute and guitar

Perpetual Motion

for five percussionists, 3m

Poems of a Bright Moon

for flute, clarinet and piano, 11m

Prelude, Fugue and Foxtrot

for horn and piano, 12m


for six-part choir, 2m

Quintet for Brass

for brass quintet, 10m

River Mountain Sky

for orchestra, 10m

Sketches of a Land

for soprano and chamber ensemble, 8m

Soliloquy for Cello

for cello, 5m

Songs of Land and Sea

for SSAATB choir

Stealing Tutunui

for orchestra, 10m


for chamber orchestra, 6m

The Blue Suite

for guitar orchestra

The Magpies

for electric tape

These dark notes drifting

for mixed chamber quartet, 9m

Three Dances for Bassoon Duo

for two bassoons, 5m

Time Transfixed

for soprano saxophone and piano, 7m

Time Transfixed

for clarinet and piano


for orchestra, 10m

Voyage: Antarctica

for SAB choir, massed orchestra, wind, recorder and percussion ensembles, 10m

Performances (2)

Ensemble Offspring | Avant Gardens 4: Naturale

__Programme:__ Luciano Berio – Naturale __Maria Grenfell – New Work__ (World Premiere) ...

Christchurch Symphony Orchestra | Grenfell, Tchaikovsky, Bartók

**Benjamin Northey** | *Chief Conductor* **Alexander Gavrylyuk** | *Piano* **Maria Gren...