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Meet Composer Joshua Taylor

In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Joshua Taylor.

Please tell us about yourself and what you do. 

I am a composer in my second year of undergraduate study at the University of Auckland with Eve De Castro-Robinson. I also freelance as a performer periodically on cello and double bass, performing with various semi-professional and ad hoc ensembles. I have had my compositions performed by the New Zealand Double Reed and at the Llewellyn Jones Piano Composition Prize Concerts and workshopped at the annual Nelson Composer's Workshop and by the NZTrio. My work 'quest for morrow kind' was shortlisted at the New Zealand Double Reed Society Composition Competition, which resulted in its publication and my enrollment as a SOUNZ contributor.

I am currently working on steering myself in a more electroacoustic direction and embracing a more inter-stylistic and cross-disciplinary approach. I have peripheral interests in painting, photography, film, philosophy, cultural phenomena and history, which aiming to integrate more into my music - both as subject matters and as attached mediums. My musical interests encompass a myriad of things which include spectralism, birdsong, IDM, jazz, gamelan and aleatory.

Please choose 2-3 of your works and tell us about them.

'willy wonka dekor' [for orchestra]

This will be recorded by the Westlake Symphony Orchestra in October as a part of the SOUNZ Community Project. It is my attempt at integrating the 'wonky' hip-hop aesthetic into the orchestral medium, infused with jazz. I wanted to create something fun, psychedelic, symbolist, a little abstract and a little disorienting for high school and community orchestras. The work's narrative is rather akin to a slowed down reimagining of the boat and tunnel sequence seen in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate (RIP Gene Wilder), interspersed with visually captivating sets of Suspiria (1973). You enter the boat and things go wonkier and downstream from there.

'quest for morrowkind' [for double reed trio]

As mentioned before, I wrote this for the New Zealand Double Reed Society Composition Competition last year. This is a through-composed, fantasy for 2 oboes and bassoon, specifically written for a grade 5-6 players in mind. It weaves through dissonances and consonances with a counterpoint vaguely semblant of Hindemith, in a seemingly never-ending existential quest. The work is about valuing meandering and getting lost in a labyrinth of ambiguity and remaining at ease with it.

'five vignettes from afar [for piano]

This was recently performed by local pianist Pascal Harris for this year's Llewellyn Jones Prize Concert at the UoA School of Music. In this work, I explore imagined, re-imagined, re-composed and recontextualized landscapes. The work loosely draws upon non-human intelligence, nature's representation in art, rewilding native forests, biodiversity and multiverse theory to paint a series of vignettes of an abstracted and 'created' ecosystem. One of the movements is a recomposition of a relatively renowned work by Douglas Lilburn.

What are you working on at the moment?

In terms of composing, I'm writing an electroacoustic ensemble work for the UoA Lilburn Composition Prize Concert. This will be my first ever time writing for amplified harpsichord, electric guitar and recorder, which is extremely exciting. See my Instagram link for sneak peeks! Assignments follow on top of that.

Where can people connect with you?



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