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Celeste Oram


Born: 1990


Celeste Oram (b. 1990, Manhattan) is a composer and musician who grew up in Aotearoa New Zealand, and is currently living in San Diego, California, unceded territory of the Kumeyaay Nation.

Celeste's works are scenarios in which performers and listeners explore sonic and social histories, micro-cultures, and utopias. Encompassing instrumental writing, song & speech, electronics, visual media, theatre, and improvisation, Celeste’s work has been recognised by the 2017 CANZ Trust Fund Award, a nomination for the 2014 SOUNZ Contemporary Award, and the 2016 Kranichstein Composition Prize from the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, whose jury described her work as ‘strangely entertaining... engaging with history in a striking manner’ and ‘utterly relevant’.

Celeste's works have been made with the support and partnership of musicians & ensembles including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (NZ), NZSO National Youth Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (UK), NZTrio, the American Modern Opera Company, Fonema Consort (NY), Arcus Collective (NY), Stroma (NZ), Longleash (NY), wasteLAnd (LA), Autoduplicity (LA), Steven Schick (CA), Stephen de Pledge (NZ), Callithumpian Consort (Boston), Song Company (Sydney), Sydney Piano Trio, Karlheinz Company (Auckland), Intrepid Music Project (Auckland); and presented in programmes including the San Diego Symphony's Hearing the Future Festival, the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, the New Zealand International Arts Festival, SICPP at the New England Conservatory, soundSCAPE festival (Maccagno, Italy), and the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

An ongoing project, Tautitotito, works with cherished collaborators (including Keir GoGwilt, Alex Taylor, Rob Thorne, Barbara Byers, Madison Greenstone) to address legacies of settler-colonial cultures of music and listening. A live, long-form performance of Tautitotito was commissioned for the 2018 Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music, and received as ‘a highlight’ of ‘full ambition, challenge, and delight’.

In a similar vein, another ongoing activity revolves around Vera Wyse Munro (1897-1966), a pioneering amateur radio operator and experimental violinist, including the reconstruction of her early-20thC radio equipment and the re-enactment of her telematic musical broadcasts.

As a conductor and lifelong choral musician, Celeste serves as Assistant Director of the San Diego Women's Chorus, and has worked as musical director for several community & student productions of opera and musical theatre. As a writer, Celeste has contributed feature music programmes to Radio New Zealand Concert, and articles to TEMPO (Cambridge University Press) & Naxos Musicology International.

Celeste is a PhD candidate in music composition at the University of California San Diego. She completed a BMusBA with first-class Honours at the University of Auckland in 2012, studying with Eve de Castro-Robinson, John Elmsly, and Leonie Holmes.

Composed (15)


for solo piano

8 x ∞

for mixed octet and fixed 8-channel audio, 11m

a loose affiliation of alleluias

a concerto for improvising violinist and three voices

counting steps

for one, two, or five trumpets, 5m


for orchestra

Onomastic Gymnastics

for two or more voices, with optional instrumental accompaniment, 5m

Out of the Unreal Shadows

for orchestra, 4m 45s


for chamber ensemble

rupture | rapture

for voice and percussion, with live video, 8m

Televisionmann (Gulliver's Travels)

for violin and live video

The Naming of Waters

for violin, cello and piano

The Power of Moss

for voice and any 12-tone instrument, 4m 24s

The Young People's Guide to the Orchestra

for orchestra and battery-powered FM radios.


for electric guitar, piano and marimba, with fixed AV media, 8m

Performances (4)

NZTrio | Twine

Featuring Ashley Brown (cello) with guest musicians Amalia Hall (violin) and Somi Kim (piano). ...

NZTrio | Twinepieces

Featuring Ashley Brown (cello) with guest musicians Amalia Hall (violin) and Somi Kim (piano). ...

STROMA | Voices of the World

A rich collection of works inspired by non-Western musical traditions from around the world, incl...

POSTPONED: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra | Ludwig Reflected #3 (Beethoven 250)

__This event has been postponed. We will update this page when more information is available.__ ...