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David Griffiths


Born: 1950


David is a New Zealander, born and brought up in Auckland.  He gained his Bachelor of Music in 1971 and left for England to further his studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London. On his return to New Zealand he completed his Master of Music 1st class Hons. in 1973. Early successes came with winning the John Cowie Reid competition for a composition in 1973 with Improperia for 8 part choir and tenor soloist, and a tour made by the Dorian choir under Peter Godfrey with performances of Five Credo Extracts throughout Europe. The Dorian choir again toured in 1975 and presented David’s Salve Regina for 16 part choir at the London Proms series and Beata Virgo for 12 part choir at the Three Choirs Festival in Chichester.

While in England in 1980 David wrote The Discovery for up to 16 voice parts and four soloists. This work was presented that year at the Paris International Rostrum of Composers. Under the baton of Karen Grylls, the New Zealand National Youth Choir made several tours and often performed Griffiths’ works.  His Lie Deep my Love cycle was included as part of their winning the Choir of the World award in Wales 1999. His Beata Virgo has become internationally popular.

Further international successes included a tour by Bach Musica in 2000 when his Stabat Mater for choir, soloists and string orchestra was performed throughout Germany. In May 2002 his commissioned work, Te Deum for 12 part choir was premiered by Opus & Choral Ensemble in Seattle USA under the direction of Loren Poten.

Since this time Griffiths has had a steady list of commissions from schools and has had many pieces performed in the Big Sing Choral Festival. Included in the early part of the new millennia are The Servant for choir, soloists and two string quartets and five Operas for the University of Waikato. The Woman from MoabThree FranksThe White LadyMary Müller – The Secret Suffragist and The Walls of Troy.

A CD of Griffiths song cycles was launched in July 2008 on the Atoll Label including Five Love SongsShoriken and Charms and Knots sung by the composer.  An earlier CD, Ahi, also released by Atoll, included his Six Watercolours.

In 2011 and 2012 Griffiths wrote a number of pieces for the Italian group, Associazione Culturale Colle Ionci. Hymn for the Music on Volcanic Lakes Festival, Pane Vero for the Infiorata Festival in Genzano di Roma, Cantico del SoleGorgon for saxophone quartet and Lo Nemi for the Italian choir Chantharmony.  Two other works with Italian connections ensued – Coquettes for piano duo, written for Sara and Massimo Perciacante, and Kapowairua, an extended piece in four movements for soprano saxophone and piano for the Italian duo ‘Colorduo’.

In February 2013 Griffiths completed his opera in Italian, Il Coligola Riflesso for wind septet, brass quintet, percussion and strings.  The libretto was by Maria Lanciotti and describes Caligula’s torturous descent into insanity.

Recent works include Sonata for cello and piano, Sonata for violin and pianoWhakaaraara-pa for 8 part men’s choir and piano, 21 short pieces for pianoTwo Sonatinas for piano, a setting of the 23 Psalm for SATB choir and piano and Tsuru No Ongaeshi for flute, harp and guiro commissioned by Adrianna Lis, now based in Poland for performance in Krakow, Poland 2020.

Composed (91)

3 Franks


A Child is Born

for SAB choir

A More Excellent Way

for SSSAA choir and piano

A Soli Ortus Cardine

for SATB choir and organ, 4m

A View of Rangitoto

for SSAA choir and piano

Ad Cenam Agni

for school orchestra, 9m


for SSATB choir, 4m

Answer Me, O Lord

for SATB choir and organ

Beata Virgo

for 12-part choir, 4m

Blessed Jesu at Thy Word

for SATB choir and soprano soloist

Blessed Jesus

for SATB choir, 3m

Bold Sir Brian Botany

for SSA choir and piano

Charms and Knots

for baritone and piano, 13m

Concert Mass

for ATTBB vocal ensemble, 11m


for two SATB choirs, two horns and organ with baritone and soprano soloists, 12m

Cosmic Praise

for SATB choir and SATB soloists, 8m

Dead on the Tree

for SATB choir, 3m

Dormi Jesu

for SATB choir, 3m

Dwell in Unity

for SATB choir


for cello, 6m


for flute and piano, 4m 30s


for piano, 2m


for flute, 6m

Five Credo Extracts

for three 4-part choirs, 13m

Five Frozen Pieces

for piano

Five Landscapes

for SATB choir

Five Love Songs

for tenor and piano, 11m

Five Pieces for Pierrot

for solo piano

Five Songs from Titoki

for soprano and piano, 8m

For My Children

for soprano and piano, 3m

Four Tudor Anthems

for SATB choir, 13m

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

for SSAA choir and piano

I will lift mine eyes

for SSAA choir and flute


for eight-part choir with soprano or tenor soloist, 9m

Jesus the First Born of Creation

for SATB choir with soprano and baritone soloists


for SSAA choir and piano, 4m

Lie Deep, My Love

for SATB choir and soloists, 11m

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis

for SATB choir, 7m

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis

for SATB with soprano and alto solos, 8m

Make a Joyful Noise

for SSAA choir and piano


for SATB choir, 10m

O Magnum Mysterium

for twelve-part choir, 15m

O Sacred Convivium

for SATB choir with four soloists, 8m

O Vos Omnes

for twelve-part choir, 7m

Oreti Beach

for ATTBB vocal ensemble, 9m


for small orchestra, 13m

Parable of the Vineyard

for baritone and orchestra, 12m

Pedrolino's Pieces

for solo piano

Praise the Lord

for SATB choir, 2m

Praise the Lord

for SATB choir, 2m

Psalm 133

for SATB choir, 2m

Psalm of Trust

for SATB choir and orchestra, 9m

Puer Natus

for four-part women's choir, 3m


for chamber orchestra, 9m

Salve Regina

for double SATB choir, 7m

Selwyn Centenary Commissions

for SATB choir, 32m

Seven Miniatures

for four-part girls' choir

Seven Pieces for piano

for piano, 12m


for tenor and piano, 18m


for baritone and piano

Sing to the Lord a New Song

for SATB choir and percussion, 3m

Six Legs or More

for piano, 10m

Six Watercolours

for voice, clarinet in B flat, cello and piano

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano

for clarinet and piano, 10m

Sonata for horn and piano

for horn and piano, 20m

Sonata in C

for piano, 9m

St Barnabas Liturgy

for choir and ensemble, 10m

Stabat Mater

for SATB choir and organ, 12m

Summer, Pelorus Sound

for two-part choir and piano

Tantum Ergo

for ATTB vocal ensemble, 4m

Te Deum Laudamus

for twelve-part SATB choir

The Beatitudes

for boys' choir, baritone and organ, 9m

The Discovery

for SATB choir with soloists, 9m

The Girl who Stayed at Home

for soprano and piano, 3m

The Spirit of God

for SATB choir and baritone soloist, 3m

Three Canons

for piano

Three Festival Excursions

for solo piano

Three Pieces

for flute and piano, 8m

Variations for Organ

for organ, 12m


for SATB choir and organ, 8m

Vexilla Regis

for flute, 8m

Views of the Inlet

for solo piano