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Craig Utting


Born: 1965


Craig Utting was born in Wellington, where he attended Onslow and Tawa Colleges. At Auckland University, he studied Composition with Douglas Mews, John Rimmer and John Elmsly, completing an M.Mus. degree with 1st class Honours in 1987. From 1988-9 he was a violist in the Schola Musica of the NZSO, and since then has been a member of the Wellington Sinfonia. He was also employed for many years as a ballet pianist in various studios around Wellington.

Currently Craig works as a composer and arranger. He is also a specialised music-typesetter for local musicians and organisations, as well as for various European publishers through an agency in Freiburg.

Craig believes that music is written to be played! As a perfomer himself, he insists that the musicians' enjoyment of the music is of crucial importance - when the performers are themselves excited or moved by the music they will convey it far more convincingly to an audience. He thinks that 'cleverness' for its own sake has little merit, and that any musical device or technique should only be used if it contributes to the overall atmosphere or emotion of a composition.

His orchestral works Spirals, Cirrus and Lahar have all been finalists in the NZSO/Radio New Zealand Concert Douglas Lilburn Prize, in 2000, 2003 and 2006 respectively. Tower NZ Youth Choir is singing a commissioned work Voices of Aotearoa on their 2007 European tour.

Craig and his wife Liz Sneyd run the Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust, which provides free music lessons to students in low-decile schools in East Porirua. They also run the three Virtuoso Strings Orchestras, for which Craig writes and arranges most of the music. In 2015 the couple received Queen's Birthday Honours for the countless hours and resources they’re donated to the project. The incredibly high level of natural talent in the Pasifica kids has blown Liz and Craig away! Their recent performance at Aotea College in Porirua demonstrated the dedication and talent of all involved.

Liz and Craig have five kids at home, all of whom also participate in music. Their son Benjamin Sneyd-Utting won the Senior Composition Prize for Chamber Music NZ in both 2017 and 2018, having already won the Junior Prize in 2015. Liz and Craig also run a Music School from their home in Tawa, Wellington, called The Music Learning Centre, which teaches strings and piano.

Composed (71)

A Celebration

for large orchestra, 7m


for four cellos, 15m

Agnus Dei

for SATB choir, 2m


for bass singer and chamber ensemble, 15m

Birds at Sea

for three treble recorders, 1m

Black Cat Rag

for violin and piano

Bon Voyage

for unspecified voice and piano

Chestnuts on a Mantelpiece

for SSAA and piano duet, 6m


for orchestra, 10m


for twelve violas, 13m

Confessio of St. Patrick

for choir, 10m

Conversation Piece

for violin and piano


for piano, 4m


by Alexander Sneyd and Craig Utting for piano

Eight Short Pieces

for violin and piano

Eight Short Pieces

for cello and piano


arranged for six celli


for treble recorder and piano, 4m

Everyone Suddenly Burst Out Singing

for unaccompanied SSATBB choir, 4m

Everyone Suddenly Burst Out Singing

for unaccompanied SSAA choir, 4m

Five Campbell Songs

for choir, viola and piano, 10m

Five Campbell Songs

for voice, piano and viola, 10m

Four Poems for String Orchestra

for string orchestra, 9m

Fourth Trimester

for soprano and string quartet


for piano, 45s


for SATB choir and piano


for SSAA and piano

Horn Concerto

for horn and orchestra

It Is Spring

for soprano, alto, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, 17m


for baritone and chamber ensemble, 12m


for violin and piano


for orchestra, 10m

Lazy Cat

for piano, 1m 30s

Lighthouses in the Dark

for violin and piano

Little Fantasy

for flute, horn and percussion, 5m


for six violas

Mad Hair Day

for piano

Moa and her Chick

for piano, 1m 15s


for SATB choir and organ or piano, 2m


for SSAA choir and piano or organ, 2m

Morning's mist

composed by Benjamin Sneyd-Utting and Craig Utting for piano

Moth Blues

for solo treble recorder with recorder ensemble (3), 1m

My Nightmare is a Train

for piano, 45s

On the Run

for solo piano

Onslow College Suite

for 2 pianos - 6 hands, 10m

Pachelbel Canon and Gig Music

for string quartet


for organ


for violin and piano, 3m

Sabre Dance

arranged for five cellos

Soliloquy II

for solo flute, 4m


for cello and piano, 12m

Sonate for Trombone and Piano ("Trennung")

for trombone and piano, 9m

Song for Jessie

for piano, 5m


for orchestra, 9m


for trumpet and piano, 3m

String Quartet

for string quartet, 9m

String Sonnet

for string orchestra, 9m

The Final Chapter

for piano

The Kiss

for voice and piano, 3m

To Pray for an Easy Heart

for unaccompanied SATB choir

Trio McGechie

for string trio

Two Old French Songs

for voice and guitar, 2m

Variation Suite

for string orchestra, 9m


arranged for five cellos

Voices of Aotearoa

for unaccompanied SSAATTBB choir

Performances (1)

Sinfonia for Hope with Jonathan Lemalu | O Matou Malaga – Our Voyage

Drawn from musicians of __New Zealand School of Music__, __Orchestra Wellington__ and __New Zeala...