Now in its 16th year, the NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composers Awards is an exciting opportunity for young New Zealand composers to have their work recorded by the NZSO. This year the selected young composers will have an amazing opportunity to work with our Associate Conductor & players from the NZSO.

Congratulations to the candidates who have been chosen for this year's Todd Corporation Young Composers Award.

David Mason – Amorphous

"Amorphous explores an unfolding texture of contrasts. From smooth to sharp, loud to silent, and the murky mess that exists between."

Jacob Barrett – Stardust

"Stardust was written about a person gazing at the night sky, watching planets, the moon and shooting stars go by. At first, everything is quite serene - the stars shine distantly, and there is something almost beautiful about the emptiness of space. However, this peace is disturbed by thoughts of what (or who) might be out there. Thoughts of planetary incursions and alien visitors begin to plague their mind, leading them to wonder what it would be like if we were visited by aliens. Ultimately we are left in awe of the magnitude of space in all its splendor, and in fear of what (or who) might be out there - especially if they ever decended from the stars to visit."

Jose Jugo – Turmoil

"Turmoil aims to musically convey the sensation of anxiety. From its quietly tense opening to its various bursts of neurotic rage, the orchestral instruments almost appear to ‘argue’ amongst themselves, fuelling this nervous energy. Any attempts made to quell this feeling are fleeting in their success; the anxiety continues to fester away until it returns once more in full force. A cacophonous coda, where various motifs from earlier in the piece are layered over one another as the instruments ‘speak over each other’, ends the piece in climactic fashion."

Julia Francis – Isolation

"Isolation explores societies experience of the unravelling global pandemic. Short melodic fragments randomly occur, reflecting the rising tension and uncertainty as the numbers of people with the novel Coronavirus grow daily. Suddenly, the pandemic trajectory increases exponentially with the population realising of the magnitude of the situation, emulated by urgent tempo and textural changes. With the announcement of lockdown, a fast rhythmic passage reflects the collective sense of anxiety as panic-induced citizens rush to get organised. A surreal, sombre and airy atmosphere arises representing the proportion of society debilitated by the virus. With the ease of lockdown regulations, tension slowly melts as the community explores a new, more cautious normal."

Kodi Rasmussen – Thermogenesis

"Thermogenesis was composed for the New Zealand South Island Secondary Schools Orchestra Festival in 2019. This piece was chosen as the winning piece and was played by a mass orchestra of 300 students and tutors, under the baton of Benjamin Northey. The theme of the work had to be ‘celestial voyage’. Thermogenesis highlights the excitement and suspense of the rocket ship taking off into the unknown depths of space as the beginning of its celestial voyage. The piece contains triumphant brass and percussion fanfares but also emotional woodwind/string passages. Multiple instruments take turns at playing the theme in different styles and variations that reflect upon the journey of the ship and crew. When originally composing this work for the competition, I had to account for several factors such as, the number of players, dynamics, the difficulty of the parts and creating a score that was enjoyable for young players to play. This version of the score has had many edits to fit a smaller, professional orchestra."

Michaela Cornelius – Transmutation

"A mythical alchemical process with the potential to create gold, perhaps even life, from simple components; a brilliant display of elemental infusion. The orchestra twists and turns, created from micro-interactions. It morphs and distorts, fusing together to create life – perhaps the most taboo of all forms of alchemy. It gradually grows until it no longer can sustain itself."

Sam van Betuw – Mister

Thomas Bedggood – Smoking Mirror

"Smoking Mirror is inspired by facets of Nahua culture and legends - the term “smoking mirror” refers to ancient local mirrors of polished obsidian, which give all reflections a dim, smoky, ephemeral quality, glazed with red auras thanks to the composition of the volcanic glass. Smoking Mirror is also the translated title attributed to the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca; amongst his many other aspects, Tezcatlipoca’s prime symbolism was for change achieved through conflict or massive upheaval, something that can be reflected on whilst considering current international affairs in 2020. The work seeks to display a dark and murky palate, with coiling and roiling textures serving as a backdrop for artifacts and events that emerge and climb out of the work’s various textures."