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Like my piano solo Where the river flows, Otari (2004) for solo harp is inspired by one of my favourite Wellington places, Otari Bush near my home, which is a peaceful soundworld of birdsong, pools of stillness, and ebb and flow of wind and stream. The chorale-like theme that emerges towards the end is based on my Te Puna Waiora (Spring of Living Water).
Overall, Otari is shaped by some words in T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets: "At the still point, there the dance is.."
This work is dedicated to Carolyn Mills, principal harpist for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, whose innovative and enthusiastic collaboration enabled me to explore some extended harp techniques as part of the composing process. In March 2005, Otari was premiered in the United States and since then it has received several performances in New Zealand and the United States as well as at three international harp festivals - London, San Francisco and Adelaide.
Commissioned by Carolyn Mills with appreciation to Creative New Zealand, Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa for its financial support
to Carolyn Mills
16 Mar 2005: Performed by Carolyn Mills (harp) at Chattanooga, Tennesee, United States
06 Oct 2007: Performed by Carolyn Mills at St John's in the City, Wellington