March 13, 2024 News

NZSM student wins at NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards

New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī students have had their compositions performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington as finalists in the 2023 NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards.

NZSM students comprised five of the eight finalists for the prestigious awards: Sai Natarajan (Stargazer) Nicholas Graham Brownlie (of Sparrows and Navigation), Mallory Elmo (There are many spirits outside), Scarlett Peckham (Evocation: home, sky) and Thorin Williams (Below).

Of the five NZSM students, Sai won the Orchestra Choice award – chosen by NZSO players – for the piece Stargazer. The Orchestra was conducted by NZSO Music Director Emeritus James Judd, a long-time supporter of young composers and musicians.

Sai described his piece as “a symphonic portrait of a young observer surveying the night sky in wonder, slowly coming to terms with their insignificance against the unfathomable scale and majesty of the cosmos for the first time.”

Sai is a previous Young Composer Awards finalist and another of his works We Long For An Adventure will be performed by the NZSO as part of its Jubilation concert tour in 2024.

Finalist Henry Meng won the Young Composer Award for Apparitions of the Crepuscule.

The NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards, which celebrates its 20th year in 2024, is open to composers up to the age of 25.

Acclaimed New Zealand composer Leonie Holmes, a mentor for the 2023 Young Composer Awards finalists, will see the NZSO premiere her new work I watched a shadow in 2024.

The other composers from around Aotearoa New Zealand were Chongwen “Wayne” Gao (Cosmic Dance) and Camryn Nel (Divertimento).

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