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Chris Watson

Māori Composer, Composer

Born: 1976


Ngai te Rangi

The music of Chris Watson (PhD - Victoria, 2007) has enjoyed premieres by orchestras including the Tokyo Philharmonic, the New Zealand Symphony and the West Australian, ensembles such as Stroma, The Song Company, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna and 175 East and soloists including Yuji Takahashi, Rieko Suzuki, Dylan Lardelli, Andrew Uren, Lars Mlekusch, Sarah Watkins and Madeleine Pierard.

Chris's 'sing songs self' won the 2015 SOUNZ Contemporary Award at the APRA Silver Scrolls. He was Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago in 2008 and 2009, was the winner of the 2002 Asian Composers' League Young Composers Competition, was the 2004 recipient of the Composers' Association of New Zealand Trust Fund Award and won the Panel Prize in the 2006 Douglas Lilburn Prize.

Chris graduated in 2007 with a PhD in composition from Victoria University of Wellington under the supervision of Ross Harris and Dugal McKinnon. A thesis and a body of new works investigated the effects of music notation software on compositional practices and outcomes.

Chris lives in Wellington with his partner and their two young boys, has a day job as a filmmaker and enjoys woodturning after hours.

Composed (35)

...vers libre...

for flute, clarinet in B flat and guitar, 10m

about nothing...really

for flute, B flat clarinet, guitar and cello, 7m


for full orchestra, 7m


an entrée for piano, 2m


for string orchestra, 12m

Carrick Bend

for solo saxophone and chamber ensemble, 14m


for orchestra

cloud transcription

for period instrument quartet, 6m

coffee table book

for piano duo, 9m 30s


for flute, guitar, percussion, cello and piano


for string quartet (with viola as soloist), 8m

Don't Mess with Texas

setting of sixteen haiku for soprano and ensemble, 14m

double duo

for bassoon, violin, viola and cello, 6m

duo music

for percussion and violin, 15m

E pari, e te tai

for wind quintet, 11m


for piano, 2m 30s

Homage to Varèse's 'Octandre'

for octet, 8m 30s


for violin and piano


for orchestra and gamelan, 9m 30s


for solo bass clarinet, 5m

Music for Fall Sonata

for tape, 5m 30s


concerto for B flat clarinet and ensemble, 10m

Now I Know

for solo clarinet and Javanese gamelan


for solo violin and orchestra, 11m


for flute and piano, 7m

Pivotal Orbits

for orchestra


for flute, B-flat clarinet and bass trombone, 3m


for piano trio, 2m 15s


for flute and piano

sing songs self

a single movement piano concerto, 11m

Some Cries of Wellington

for six voices and two string quartets

sundry good

for string quartet, 10m

tag (and release)

for trombone and string quartet, 9m


for full orchestra, 10m