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Ivan Zagni


Born: 1942


Ivan Zagni is a New Zealand-based musician and composer who has been a member of bands such as Jody Grind, Big Sideways and Avant Garage, and has recorded albums with Aynsley Dunbar, Elton Dean, Don McGlashan and Peter Scholes.

From the mid-1980s Zagni received a succession of orchestral commissions. In 1986 Zagni and Peter Scholes' work together was the subject of the Radio New Zealand Concert programme Music on the Wall. He composed Migration Nos 1 and 2 (1988) for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In 1989, while he was the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's first composer in residence, a position funded by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, he was commissioned to compose Breath of Hope, which is notable for its references to New Zealand nature. Critic William Dart described Breath of Hope as "a historical and spiritual journey down the Waikato." The Cospatrick Tragedy, commissioned for New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, was recorded at a live concert at the Auckland Town Hall in 1993 by Radio New Zealand, one of many Zagni performances recorded by the national broadcaster.

Zagni's String Quartet No.1 (1992), A View from my Window, was composed in Wellington during his residency with Chamber Music NZ, and premiered by the New Zealand String Quartet. Quartet No.1 was also performed by the Mosaic Quartet in 1995 for Auckland City's Arts Alive programme. Devonport, his third string quartet, was commissioned for the Devonport Arts Festival on Auckland's North Shore, and premiered in 1994 – it was described by Dart as having "a cluster of minor tonalities" at its core. In the mid-1990s he withdrew from public life for a period of recuperation.

In 2003 Zagni was reunited with members of Blam Blam Blam/Big Sideways/Avant Garage to record with Tim Mahon's The Moth on the album Music From A Lightbulb.[17] That year he was also the focus of a Radio New Zealand 'Musical Chairs' documentary.[18] Several compositions were featured in the Auckland Chamber Orchestra's 2005 season, including his clarinet concerto 'The Koeakoea',[19] performed in full for the first time after the 1987 Wellington premiere left out the violins.[20] His graphic scores featured in exhibitions at the Audio Foundation in 2011 and the Gus Fisher Gallery in 2012, both accompanied by low-key performances.

Zagni was Composer in Residence at Glenfield College for six months in 1986. He was inaugural Composer in Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 1989–90 and Composer in Residence with Chamber Music New Zealand in 1992. Awards include major grants from QEII Arts Council in 1984, 1988, and 1990.

Composed (62)

3 Blind Mice

Three pieces for piano, 3m 7s

A Childs Game

Eight short pieces for piano, 5m 10s


2m 17s

Breath of Hope

for SATB choir and orchestra, 30m

Brian Tries

2m 23s

Broken Pieces

for solo piano, 5m 10s

Cat and Mouse

2m 43s


graphic score for piano

Conquer Conviscate

for solo piano, 8m 10s

Double Circle

5m 45s

Dreams of Freedom

for oboe and string orchestra, 16m


6m 40s

Elbow Room

3m 46s

Emotional Diversions Nos. 1, 2 and 3

for solo piano, 7m 30s

Forbidden Island

for solo piano and sound design, 10m 30s

Fragmentation No 1

for solo piano, 3m 20s

Fragmentation No 2

for solo piano, 3m 10s

Fragmentation No 3

for solo piano, 4m 50s

Going to the Movies

graphic score for unspecified one line instrument

Images of War

for piano, flute, violin, cello and marimba, 8m 30s

In Stumona Kwae

for voices, recorders and percussion

Ivory Hunters

Sound Design, 7m 20s

Journey to Nowhere

for orchestra, 18m 10s

Lament for Piano and Flute

for flute and piano, 6m

Looking for Higgs Boson

digital electronic, 6m 40s

Madman in a Dismal Landscape

for solo piano, 2m 10s

Masque of the Red Death

for solo piano

Microvariations Nos.1 and 2

for violin and marimba, 5m 30s

Migrating Creatures

digital electronic, 7m

Mind Games

for solo piano, 6m 10s

Moments 84

design structures of sound and movement in graphic images

Monk with Flute Lost in Mountain

digital electronic, 7m

Mountain Streams

for flute, bassoon and marimba, 8m 20s

Myths Fantasies + Conjure

for marimba, piano and string quartet, 8m


2m 54s

Night in Shanghai

digital electronic, 9m 20s


for solo piano, 4m 10s


for piano quintet, 5m 10s


a series of digital colour prints

Paris ' City Under Siege

digital electronic, 9m

Piano Quintet

for flute, violin, viola, cello and piano, 9m 10s

Piano Trio 20/21

for flute, bassoon and piano, 12m 10s

Portrait LVB

for solo piano, 5m 40s

Sailing to Troy

Digital Electronic, 8m 20s

Saturn's Desolate Landscape

Digital Electronic, 9m 15s

Soul Mountain

for solo piano, 18m 20s

Soul Mountain No. 2

for solo piano, 6m 30s

The Convict

for solo piano, 4m 50s

Time and Silence No. 1

for solo piano, 5m 20s

Time and Silence No. 2

for solo piano, 7m

Time and Silence No. 3

for solo piano, 5m

Time and Silence No. 4

for marimba and piano, 7m

Time and Silence No. 5

for violin and marimba, 4m 30s

Whangaroa Harbour

for flute and piano, 7m 39s

Wireless Telegraphic

a pen drawing