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Alan Starrett



Alan grew up surrounded by swamps near New Orleans in Louisiana. When it was time to begin school, his family moved to the state capital city of Baton Rouge, where he studied piano, violin, composition and viola. He also performed regularly with the Symphony Orchestra. Before commencing university studies, he played in Carnegie Hall and toured Europe with America’s Youth in Concert: a 100-piece orchestra and 200-voice choir. On completion of a double Bachelors degree, he came to New Zealand for an exploring holiday with the express intention of immigrating. While waiting for the decision from the Immigration Department, he completed a Masters degree in viola back at Louisiana State University.

At the beginning of 1984, Alan moved to Dunedin to start the string programme at John McGlashan School and began performing with the Dunedin Civic Orchestra as it was then known.

Alan has an interest in many types of music and has performed early music and a wide variety of folk music all over the country, including many dance festivals. He has also recorded and performed with many bands such as The Clean, The BATS, The 3Ds, MINK and The Puddle. His main instrument for these ventures is a custom-built 5-string semi-acoustic viola that is brightly painted and never taken to Sinfonia concerts. He has had compositions performed, sometimes with the Gamelan & STRORK – a string orchestra which specialises in improvisation, which he initiated in 1996.

He is active as a viola player with the DSO, busker, folk musician and string teacher.

Composed (28)

3 movements towards g

for string quartet, 11m

a good opener

for solo viola, 6m


for string trio


for chamber orchestra, 13m


for solo viola

Fantasia, influenced by the weather

for violin, viola and cello, 8m

Fantasy in E flat minor

for piano, 9m

For Robin

for flute and viola, 5m

He left me...

for soprano, alto and piano, 3m

I was lost...

for viola and piano, 6m

It was meant to be and Berceuse

for string trio, 12m

Jumpin' Off & Floating Down

for violin and viola

Laying the Foundation

for two violas and cello, 12m

Love is Strong

for mezzo, baritone and piano, 3m

March Variations

for two violas and cello, 7m

Punta Poonta

for double bass and piano


for piano


for string orchestra, 10m

Short Steps on Water

for viola and piano, 3m

Sonata for an Uncle's Death

for violin and piano, 5m


for violin and piano, 1m

The Ruins Sing to Us

for violin and piano

Tired of Dancing

for two violas and piano, 5m

Why the old man woke up

for violin, bassoon and harpsichord, 5m