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Meet the Team
Chris Watson

Chris has managed the Resound project at SOUNZ since 2010. Initially, in charge of the process of relicensing audio held by RNZ Concert, he has since 2013 been responsible for the filming of performances of New Zealand music. This builds on work he began privately in 2008. Chris has successfully developed a bespoke method for single person filming from multiple angles of solo, chamber, orchestral, choral and opera by New Zealand's composers. Footage from up to 17 cameras is combined with audio from RNZ Concert (and other suppliers) and edited by Chris in-house at SOUNZ; it is released via multiple social media and web channels. The project is approaching the milestone of 1,000 Resound film releases. Chris holds a PhD in composition from the School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington.

In our Meet the Team series we invite you to sit down and learn more about each SOUNZ staff member. Today we introduce Chris Watson our SOUNZ Filmmaker | Kaihanga Kiriata.

Can you tell us a bit about your family, kids, where you're from etc?

My partner Sue and I have two kids: Benny (9) and Harvey (almost 7). We live in Wellington's Northern Suburbs and enjoy the sense of community around Johnsonville School and the various sports clubs that our kids are involved with. My Mum is from Upper Hutt and my Dad is from Ashburton, so those places are important to me in the abstract, as is Pigeon Bay on Banks Peninsula, where my Ngai Tahu ancestors were based.

Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived?

I was born and raised in Tauranga - the sleepy mini-city, not the sprawling grid-locked giant of a place that it is now. I had two years at boarding school in the Waikato (3rd and 4th form) but finished my secondary schooling at the big band-focussed Tauranga Boys' College. I moved to Wellington in 1995 to study composition and history at Victoria and, aside from 2008-9 in Dunedin for the Mozart Fellowship, have been in Wellington ever since.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I'm obsessed with woodworking, particularly turning wood on a lathe (specifically, making bowls and vessels out of glued-together segments of wood - segmented turning). My Grandad was a carpenter-builder and I spent lots of time in his workshop as a kid. I think as an adult those memories somehow bubbled to the surface and a universe of wood-related materials on YouTube pointed the way to trying it out for myself. I'm currently converting a shed into a relatively sound-proof space for these activities, so I can do this after-hours without annoying my family and neighbours.

I'm also fascinated by things that encourage weeks-long deep dives of investigation. Stuff that I'll only ever understand at layperson level. The double-slit experiment and its implications (biocentrism, quantum entanglement, etc), the technological singularity, quantum computing, fusion, Boltzmann brains, the one-electron universe, the multiverse, the Fermi Paradox...

Sometimes I also compose.

What is your earliest musical memory?

Michael Houstoun performing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata at Tauranga's Baycourt as the christening of a Bösendorfer acquired for the community (and said by some to have fallen off the back of a truck). Seminal for a young pianist. Later, dub tapes prepared by my Dad from his vinyl collection, as we did a big driving tour of the South Island - a weird mix of Brahms, Beethoven, Debussy, John Denver, 80s pop...

Your top 3 favourite Podcasts?

Adam Buxton,
Stay Tuned With Preet,
Here's the Thing (with Alec Baldwin)

Who inspires you?

The woodworker-woodturner Frank Howarth ( and the engineer-woodworker Matthias Wandel (

What is the best concert you have ever attended?

A toss-up between Ensemble Modern in Huddersfield in 2005, and Portishead, Wellington Town Hall, 1998. PJ Harvey at the Fowl House a few years back was pretty great too.

What’s the last book you read?

The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast - Michael Scott Moore.

Currently, I'm reading, Inside the Tudor Court: Henry VIII and His Six Wives Through the Writings of the Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys by Lauren Mackay

Your top 3 favourite books?

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self - Claire Tomalin
Dune - Frank Herbert
Nicholas and Alexandra - Robert K. Massie