Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.


John Rimmer

Performer, Composer

Born: 1939


John Rimmer was born in Auckland in 1939 and studied with Ronald Tremain at the University of Auckland. In 1967 he was awarded a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and studied at the University of Toronto with John Weinzweig and Gustav Ciamaga. He returned to New Zealand in 1969 and taught at the North Shore Teachers College before being appointed in 1974 to the staff of the School of Music at the University of Auckland where he taught for the next 25 years. In 1972 he was the Mozart Fellow (Composer-in-Residence) at the University of Otago. 

John Rimmer’s compositions use a wide variety of musical forces: instrumental, orchestral and choral. In 1970 he became noticed when his Symphony No 1 was performed at Carnegie Hall, New York by the National Orchestral Association conducted by John Barnett. In 1989 on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, his Symphony No 2: The Feeling of Sound was commissioned and performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and subsequently recorded in the orchestra’s CD series of New Zealand composers. 

About a fifth of his works employ electroacoustic resources and many are published and recorded. John Rimmer has received honourable mentions for his works in competitions at the prestigious electroacoustic music festival held in Bourges, France and also at the Newcomp competition in Massachusetts, USA. In 1986 his computer generated work Fleeting Images received the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music prize at Bourges. Earlier, in 1983, his De Aestibus Rerum (‘on the ebb and flow of things’) received first prize in the International Horn Composers Competition held in the United States.

John Rimmer plays the horn and is the founder of the Karlheinz Company, an ensemble for new music at the University of Auckland. In 1971 he won the Philip Neill prize awarded by the University of Otago for his Composition 2 for Wind Quintet and Electronic Sounds and again in 2003 for his string quartet Bowed Insights. In 1977 he was awarded an APRA Silver Scroll for The Ring of Fire. This work was one of the first commissions given by Chamber Music New Zealand and was composed for the London Sinfonietta’s visit to New Zealand in 1976. In 1994 John Rimmer received the KBB citation of the Composers Association of New Zealand for services to New Zealand music. In 1995 he was awarded a personal professorial chair at the University of Auckland and in 1997 a Lilburn Trust award also for services to New Zealand music. 

John Rimmer retired from his position at the University of Auckland in February 1999 in order to devote more time to composing. In 2002 and 2003 he was Composer in Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia, and in 2004 was Composer in Residence with the Dalewool Auckland Brass Band, and in 2005 and 2006 with the Manukau City Symphony. In recent years he has conducted brass bands, choirs and community orchestras as well as following a busy schedule of composing. 

John Rimmer lives at Tapu Bay, near Kaiteriteri, Nelson.

Composed (191)

A Cambridge Canzona

for brass quintet (brass band instruments), 5m

A Cambridge Canzona

for brass quintet (orchestral instruments), 5m

A dialogue of opposites

for cello solo, 13m

A Song of Humility

for solo soprano and SA choir, 3m

A Vocalise for Einstein

electroacoustic, 14m

Adieu K S

for solo violin, 3m

After the Meeting

for flute quintet, 5m 30s


for brass band, 3m


for SA choir, 3m


for SATB choir

An Inner Voice

electroacoustic work, 8m

Ancestral Voices

electroacoustic, 15m

Ancient Chemistry

electroacoustic, 8m 30s

Anzacs Remembered

for baritone and standard brass band, 4m


for flugelhorn and piano, 6m

At the Appointed Time

for orchestra, 12m

At the Base of the Whirlpool

for bass clarinet and cello, 10m

At the Base of the Whirlpool

for bass oboe and bass clarinet, 10m

At the Base of The Whirlpool

for two bass clarinets, 10m


for bass clarinet and ensemble, 13m

Autumnal Alleluias

for concert band, 6m

Autumnal Alleluias

for brass band, 8m


for solo piano, 15m

Beyond the Call

for mixed ensemble, 4m

Beyond the saying

electronic music, 21m

Bowed Insights

for string quartet, 10m


for orchestra, 7m

Brooklyn Dances

for 2 cornets, tenor horn, and either trombone, baritone or euphonium

Brooklyn Dances

for two trumpets, horn in F and trombone

Brooklyn Dances

for recorder quartet, 7m

Brooklyn Dances 2

for wind quintet, 7m

Burning the Calories

for piano trio, 5m


for piano, 10m

Cimarosa's Delight

for solo oboe, 2m

Cloud Fanfares

for orchestra, 4m

Clouds over Pirongia

for percussion quartet, 6m


for bass clarinet and marimba

Colder far than snow

electronic tape, 7m

Composition 1

for horn and electronic sounds, 5m

Composition 10

double bass and electronic sounds, 17m

Composition 2

for wind quintet and electronic sounds, 12m

Composition 3

for harp and electronic sounds, 10m

Composition 4

for flute and electronic sounds, 11m

Composition 5

for percussion and electronic sounds, 11m

Composition 6

for piano and electronic sounds, 11m

Composition 7

for bassoon, piano and electronic sounds, 10m

Composition 8

for violin and electronic sounds, 16m

Composition 9

for soprano and electronic sounds, 10m

Cosmic Dances

for recorder ensemble, 8m

Cosmic Winds

for taonga pūoro and tape, 15m

Covid and Beyond

for solo piano, 6m


for oboe and electronic sounds, 17m

De Aestibus Rerum

for chamber quintet, 14m

De Motu Naturae

electronic music, 16m

December Nights

for chamber orchestra, 12m

Dies Sanctificatus

for SATB choir, 5m


for clarinet, violin and piano, 6m


for clarinet and percussion, 12m


for solo violin, 8m


for brass band and orchestra, 25m


for horn and orchestra, 20m


for solo horn, ring modulator and tape delay, 10m

Fantasia for organ

for organ, 8m

Fifty Apples for Eve

for flute and piano, 3m

Five Anniversary Haiku

for orchestra, 13m

Flashes of Iridescence

for solo piano, 4m

Fleeting Images

for computer generated sound, 12m

For the Kokako

for piano, 10m

Fragile Earth

for oboe and string trio, 10m

From the Astrolabe

for brass band, 13m

Frozen Continent

for soprano cornet and piano, 3m


a chamber opera, 1h 30m

Gawain Suite

for soprano, alto and tenor recorders, percussion and cello, viol or guitar, 10m


for 12 solo strings, 9m


for two pianos - eight hands, 10m

Hauturu - Where the Winds Rest

for bass clarinet, 9m

Hidden Treasures

for horn and orchestra, 11m

Hokusai Reflections

electroacoustic, 6m 30s

Homage to Paganini

electronic music, 6m


for brass band, 7m

In Friendship

for SATB choir, 2m

Ingrid's Song

a microscore for alto flute

Iridescent Shells

for piano trio

It Is Well

for brass band

Kakapo Reborn

for bass clarinet, bass trombone, cello, double bass, 9m

Kimbolton Serenade

for three violins, 2m 30s

Kimbolton Serenade

for three cellos, 2m 30s

Kokako Dreams

for flute, clarinet and piano, 10m

La Voce Di Galileo



for orchestra, 7m


for orchestra, 8m

Life's Joy

for cello and piano, 2m 30s


for solo viola, 10m

Manukau Refrains

for three percussionists and orchestra, 13m


for cello and tape delay, 12m

Meeting Place

for orchestra, 14m


for two horns and tuba


for flute and piano, 8m


for brass band, 10m


for brass ensemble and percussion, 10m

Motet for Hildegard

for soprano, oboe and electronic sounds, 12m


for piano, percussion, flute, clarinet, violin and cello, 7m

Murmures 2

for clarinet trio, 10m


for soprano, flute, trumpet, cello, piano and percussion, 14m


for SATB choir

O For a Thousand Tongues

for 4 part choir and organ, 4m

O For a Thousand Tongues

for 4 part choir and brass band

O Magnum Mysterium

for SATB choir, 4m


for wind octet, 12m

Omarama - Place of Light

for trumpet, violin and piano, 15m

On the Way to the Airport

for brass quintet (brass band instruments), 9m

On the Way to the Airport

for brass quintet (orchestral brass version), 9m

On the Way to the Airport 2

for wind quintet, 9m

Pacific Soundscapes with Dancing

electroacoustic, 15m

People, Power and Pollution

electroacoustic, 8m


computer generated sounds and tapes, 5m

Preludes of Light

for piano, 15m

Projections at Dawn

for B flat clarinet and electronic sounds, 12m

Psalm of the Cosmos

for SATB choir and piano, 3m

Psalm of the Nativity

for soprano or tenor and piano, 3m


for soprano and mixed ensemble, 6m



Refrains, Cadenzas and Interludes

for string quartet, 12m

Riffs 'n Ructions

for standard brass band, 6m 42s

Sacred Murmurs

for cello quartet, 5m 30s


for trumpet and electronic sounds, 13m

Second Journey

for wind quintet and twelve solo strings, 11m


for mixed ensemble, 12m

Serenade 2

for wind quintet, 11m

Seven Character Sketches

for piano, 16m

Seven Summer Haiku

for SA choir, piano and percussion, 5m




for brass quintet and renaissance instruments, 5m

Singing Ocean

for junior wind ensemble, 5m

Smooth Surfaces

for horn and piano, 6m

Sonata a 5

for brass quintet, 7m


for trombone and electronic sounds, 14m

Southern Invention

for tuba and piano, 8m

Southern Invention

for euphonium and piano, 8m

Southern Invention

for bass clarinet and piano, 8m

Southern Invention

for bassoon and piano, 8m

Southern Invention

for cello and piano

Star Song

for soprano and tape, 15m

Stellar Meditations

for brass band and two percussionists, 6m

Streets Ahead

for tenor horn and E flat bass, 8m

Streets Ahead 2

for oboe and bassoon, 7m

String Quartet No 3

for string quartet, 13m

String Quartet No 4, "Abstract as White"

for two violins, viola and cello, 8m

String Quartet No 5

for string quartet, 13m

Suite Helen

for concert band, 14m

Summer Street

for clarinet and string quartet, 2m

Symphonic Triptych

for brass band, 15m

Symphony (1968)

for orchestra, 25m

Symphony No 1

for orchestra, 25m

Tacking Duel

for two horns and percussion, 15m


for SATB choir, 3m

The Agincourt Song

for brass band, 3m

The Broken Heart

for soprano and piano, 2m 30s

The Dance of the Sibyl

for solo violin, 10m

The Divine Secret

for SATB with solos, piano and percussion, 6m

The Exotic Circle

for 6 recorders and 2 percussion, 6m

The Moon Rises Over Tapu Bay

for four horns, 4m

The Moon Rises Over Tapu Bay

for saxophone quartet, 4m

The Record of Music

for SSAATTBB choir, 10m

The Revelation of Increasing Complexity

for bass clarinet and percussion, 11m

The Ring of Fire

for 16 players, 18m

The Ripple Effect

for mixed ensemble, 11m

Thermal Labyrinths

for brass band, 14m

Three Pieces for Double Piano Duet

for two pianos, 8 hands, 10m


for horn and electronic sounds, 11m

Transcendental Fragments

for wind trio, 5m


for horn and synth, 14m

Ubi Eum Crucifixerunt

for soprano and oboe, 4m


for concert band, 4m


for brass band, 4m

Viola Concerto

for viola and orchestra, 27m

Visions 1

for two SATB choirs, soprano and baritone soloists and electronic sounds, 15m


for recorders and electronic sounds, 10m


for orchestra, 4m

Waitaki Reflections

for orchestra, 9m


for solo treble recorder, 8m

Where Sea Meets Sky 1

electronic music, 8m

Where Sea Meets Sky 2

for chamber ensemble, 10m

White Island

electronic music, 7m

With the Current

for flute, cello, percussion and piano, 10m

Your Piano is My Forte

for piano and chamber orchestra, 15m

Arranged (2)

O For a Thousand Tongues

for 4 part choir and organ, 4m

Commissioned (1)

Six Watercolours

for voice, clarinet in B flat, cello and piano

Performances (1)

STROMA | Where Sea Meets Sky

__Hamish McKeich__ | conductor __Anna van der Zee__ | violin __Megan Molina__ | violin _...