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Janet Jennings



Janet completed her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the University of Auckland majoring in harpsichord and organ performance. She was awarded Senior Prizes in both Music and English as well as performance scholarships including the Constance Herbert Memorial Scholarship, the Marion Reyward Memorial Scholarship, The Wilhelm Penseler Scholarship in Music, and the Reardon Postgraduate Scholarship. She went on to complete a Master of Music in Musicology at the University of Auckland before undertaking a PhD in composition assisted by a doctoral scholarship from the University of Waikato and a Fullbright Scholarship to the USA. She was twice winner of the Lilburn Trust Composition Awards at the University of Waikato. She has since established herself as a composer writing for a wide range of instrumental and vocal forces.

Her works have been supported by Creative NZ awards, recorded by Radio NZ, SOUNZ Resound, and by Atoll Records, and are broadcast regularly on RNZ Concert, featuring highly in RNZ’s 2019 and 2020 ‘Settling the Score’ selections. Recent works include ANZACS – A Generation Lost in Legend, NZ’s first large scale setting of war poetry, premièred in Sydney, 2016; From a Garden in the Antipodes, for double choir and flute, first performed in Hong Kong and Singapore, 2017; Flowing Water, an opera (libretto by Witi Ihimaera) premièred at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, 2017; In Memoriam, a song cycle premièred in 2018 by Jared Holt and the New Zealand String Quartet, later performed in Beijing and Hong Kong; All the World’s a Stage, a suite of eight pieces for flute and piano, first performed by Luca Manghi and Liam Wooding, 2019; and A Walk in Hamilton Gardens, a piano suite first performed by Katherine Austin, 2020. Two of Janet’s works have been toured regionally for Chamber Music NZ: Lady Macbeth for early music ensemble toured by Affetto, in 2015, and Prelude, Fugue, Variations, and Chaconne, by the Donizetti Trio in 2019. Atoll Records has released three CDs of her chamber music (Play-Pen, 2019; Voices of Women, 2020; and Voices of Men (2021). A double CD of her opera is due for release in 2021.

Janet has held several teaching positions including Head of Arts at the New Zealand Correspondence School and Teaching Fellow at the University of Waikato. As Senior Advisor – Arts at the Ministry of Education, she contributed to the writing of the New Zealand Curriculum (2007), managed the re-writing of NCEA Standards across all the Arts, and developed and implemented the Artists in Schools Programme which ran from 2007 to 2009.

Composed (28)

A Bird, a Fruit, and a Beast

for voice, flute, bassoon and piano

A Daughter of Eve

for soprano (or mezzo soprano) and piano, 9m 15s

A Walk in Hamilton Gardens

for solo piano, 25m

All the World's a Stage

for flute and piano, 20m

ANZACS: A Generation Lost in Legend

for SATB choir, STB soloists, violin, brass quintet, percussion and organ

Echo Mass

for SATB choir, 7m

In Memoriam

for tenor and string quartet, 12m

Jangling Memory

for mezzo-soprano and piano, 2m 30s


for soprano, violin and marimba, 8m 45s


for orchestra, 8m

Myself When Young

a cycle of three songs for soprano and piano, 7m 15s

Pictures at the Waikato Museum

for solo piano, 11m

Prelude, Fugue, Variations and Chaconne

for flute, bassoon and piano

Sit Down With Me Awhile

for mezzo-soprano and piano, 14m 30s

Songs of Exile

for bass-baritone and piano, 9m

Songs of Innocence

three songs for SSA choir and piano, 5m 44s

Songs of Innocence

three songs for solo soprano and piano, 5m 44s

Songs of War

for baritone, trumpet and piano, 16m

Taking Off

for tenor and piano, 19m 20s

Taking Off

for baritone and piano, 19m 20s

Talking of Goldfish

for voice and piano, 4m 55s

The Earth Child

for voice and piano

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

for baritone voice, piano and violin, 16m

Three Shakespeare Songs

for SS (or SA) choir and piano, 5m

Three Shakespeare Songs

for soprano or mezzo-soprano and piano, 5m

Voices of Women

for four voices, violin, marimba, piano and percussion, 22m

Performances (5)

Telling Tales: Contemporary Works for Solo Recorder

Icarus finding his wings (and his hubris!), the horns of Tennyson’s Elfland echoing through the...

Janet Jennings | Voices of Women

__Music by Janet Jennings for voices, violin, marimba, piano and percussion.__ A free concer...

New Zealand Chamber Soloists — Musical Revolutionaries

__New Zealand Chamber Soloists:__ Katherine Austin (piano); Lara Hall (violin / viola); James...

Opus Orchestra | An Evening With Mozart (Tauranga)

2022 CONCERT SERIES 2: AN EVENING WITH MOZART __Janet Jennings - Mindscape (New work commiss...

Opus Orchestra | An Evening With Mozart (Rotorua)

2022 CONCERT SERIES 2: AN EVENING WITH MOZART __Janet Jennings - Mindscape (New work commiss...