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Professor Donald Maurice has transcribed the diary that Alfred Hill, New Zealand's first professional composer, kept from 1887-1891 as he journeyed to and through Europe as a seventeen year old. It records his musical encounters and growth as a violinist and composer at the Leipzig Conservatorium through to his return to New Zealand five years later.
At that time New Zealand was a very new colony with barely 40 years influence of European music. For a young colonial such as Hill to embark on such a course was remarkable in many ways and this account of his development, reflecting as it were in real time his personal and musical evolution, is fascinating reading. The Europe of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss can feel somewhat remote to the topic of 'music in New Zealand' but here we can find one way in which that direct influence was to find its way back 'down under'.
Dedicated to all the descendants of Charles and Iliza Hill, many of whom have given generously their time, expertise and memories to help a flourishing renaissance of interest in the music and life of Australasia's first professional composer.