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2024 NZCF-SOUNZ Composition Competition winners

2024 NZCF-SOUNZ Composition Competition winners

28 Jun 2024


We're pleased to announce the winners and placegetters in the 2024 SOUNZ-NZCF Choral Composition Competitions. This year, we saw a record number of entries for both awards once again. We're hugely grateful to this year's adjudicators, Eve de Castro-Robinson and Takerei Komene, who have each provided commentary on the entries, including the winning pieces.

Regarding the NZCF-SOUNZ Choral Composition Competition, adjudicator Eve de Castro-Robinson wrote:

"The entries for this competition were a treasure trove of attractive works. I was impressed by the overall standard of writing, with all students handling the choral forces well. Each composer chose their unique text and accompanying instruments with sensitivity, often creating a strikingly original setting.

"Jesse Wallace’s winning work A Winter Evening stood above many as an outstanding and mature work for a Year 11 student, with a palpable sense of flow and momentum. Anastasia Bell’s work The Call presented an impressive panoply of sonorities enhanced by the astute use of flute to enhance the sonic world. Third-equal placegetters were Madeleine Christiansen’s vibrant setting of a Shakespearean text in Muse of Fire and Jamie Spooner’s poignant setting of The Little Boy, utilising oboe to complement the voices.

"Harrison Fox Maxwell’s Romeo and Juliet had an imaginative and colourful take on the famous story, and Ivan Ho set a German text, Abendlied, admirable in its rich colour. Tara Yoo set The Negro Speaks of Rivers with sensitivity and understanding."

And Takerei Komene, adjudicator of the SOUNZ-NZCF Te Reo Māori Choral Composition Award, commented:

"I was incredibly honoured to have been asked to adjudicate this award, and was blown away by its submissions! I was delighted to see a range of works, from waiata to 20th century-inspired works to contemporary classical. It was exciting to see texts crafted by some of the composers themselves, with assistance and inspiration from their kaiako, whānau, or communities. 

"The first-prize work is Te Oriori o Hine-Nui-Te-Pō by Elizabeth Te Puni from Tawa College. The piece is scored for SATB a cappella, and features a kaikaranga, kaikōrero, and koauau improvisation, as well as tuned wine glasses. The score was very well put together and featured many moments of emotiveness, both tender and intense, that serviced its reo very well. Ka mau te wehi.”

The first-prize winner in each category will be presented with a trophy at The Big Sing Finale at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington on Saturday 31 August. We are grateful to SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music for gifting the SOUNZ-NZCF Te Reo Māori Choral Composition trophy, a beautiful pūtōrino Te Pūoho Ki Te Rangi carved by taonga puoro player/composer and maker Tāmihana Kātene.

To read more about the SOUNZ-NZCF Choral Composition Competitions, click here.

NZCF-SOUNZ Choral Composition Competition 2024 Results

1st Prize – Jesse Wallace, Palmerston North Boys' High School for A Winter Evening
2nd Prize – Anastasia Bell, Burnside High School, Christchurch for The Call
3rd= Prize  Madeleine Christiansen, Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland for Muse of Fire
3rd= Prize – Jamie Spooner, Takapuna Grammar School, Auckland for The Little Boy

Highly Commended:

Harrison Fox Maxwell, Rangitoto College, Auckland for The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Ivan Ho, King's College, Auckland for Abendlied
Tara Yoo, Westlake Girls High School, Auckland for The Negro Speaks of Rivers

SOUNZ-NZCF Te Reo Māori Choral Composition Award 2024 Results

1st Prize – Elisabeth Te Puni, Tawa College, Wellington for Te Oriori o Hine-Nui-Te-Pō
2nd Prize – Leilani Woodmore, Wellington College for Te Tangi Pōuri

Highly Commended:

Abi Mitchell, Westlake Girls High School, Auckland for Tāne Mahuta
Kobe Betham, St Patrick's College, Silverstream, Upper Hutt for Me Te Kotahitanga
Noah Fanene, St Andrew's College, Christchurch for Ka taka te ua

Meet the winners:

Jesse  8Jesse Wallace – First Prize, NZCF-SOUNZ Choral Composition Competition 2024

Jesse Wallace is a Year 11 student at Palmerston North Boys' High School. He is a passionate musician and enjoys participating in a range of musical ensembles.

Jesse has a particular love for singing. He is currently in his fifth year of vocal tuition with Dr. Debbie Donkin and is a member of the NZ Secondary Students’ Choir. He is also a member of the PNBHS MANifesto and S.O.A.P. choirs. A Winter Evening, his first major composition, was inspired by his choral experiences. Jesse has a fascination with the human voice that he plans to explore further in his creative endeavours.

Elisabeth   HeadshotElisabeth Te Puni – First Prize, SOUNZ-NZCF Te Reo Māori Choral Composition Award 2024

Elisabeth Te Puni is a Year 13 student at Tawa College, and is of Ngati Porou and Taranaki descent. She is a choir leader with the Blue Notes, and one of the directors and conductors of the Tira Tawa choir under the tutelage of Mr Isaac Stone. She is passionate about Te Reo Maori and choral music and is also fascinated by the potential in blending the two.

Elisabeth's interest in composition and in conducting choirs has become a much stronger focus this year. She plans to study Māori in 2025 at Te Wānanga o Raukawa before focusing on composition and conducting at the University of Auckland. Te Oriori o Hine-Nui-Te-Pō encapsulates the beauty and grace of death in the peaceful form of sleep. 

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