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SOUNZ-NZCF choral composition awards 2021

We’re delighted to announce the winners and place-getters in the two SOUNZ-NZCF composition competitions this year.

The NZCF-SOUNZ Choral Composition Competition was introduced by the New Zealand Choral Federation to mark the third millennium, with a trophy presented by NZCF Auckland Region. The competition is run in conjunction with SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music and awards a prize for the best choral piece composed by a New Zealand secondary school student.

We were thrilled to receive a record number of entries this year – 23 in total – and this year’s adjudicator, Andrew Baldwin, commented that the very high standard of entries had made his job difficult. Andrew said: “Aside from looking at general technical assurance and skill of writing for choirs, I was also looking for pieces that made an impact and connection. The most successful pieces of this year’s entries were multi-layered in that they were able to go beyond a texture, melody, or harmony to really engage and captivate the listener. The possession of this skill as a composer is really wonderful, and it takes work to develop this!

The list of place-getters and commended entries is as follows:

1st place: Jonine Tiakia (Westlake Girls’ High School): Invictus
2nd place: Jordan Gunn (Tawa College): The Sentry
3rd = place: Lisa Qian (Westlake Girls’ High School): A Night Thought and Matthew Spooner (Takapuna Grammar): I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud
Very Highly Commended: Timothy Evans (Hamilton Boys’ High School): For Papatuanuku
Highly Commended: Hannah Jones (Westlake Girls’ High School): Voices of the Air  and Melody Zhang (Westlake Girls’ High School): Tree At My Window
Commended: Luke Shackleton (King’s College): The Highwayman and William Squire (Westlake Boys’ High School): The Sea

Our new SOUNZ-NZCF Te Reo Māori Choral Composition Award was introduced in 2021 and aims to encourage young composers to write choral settings of texts in Te Reo Māori. The winning composer receives a cash prize and a trophy, kindly donated by SOUNZ, in the form of a beautiful pūtōrino Te Puoho Ki Te Rangi carved by taonga puoro player and maker Tāmihana Kātene. Read more about the SOUNZ-NZCF Te Reo Māori Choral Composition Award.

In this inaugural year of the competition we received entries from just three students, but we hope that number will increase as the profile of the competition grows. Our adjudicator Robert Wiremu awarded a first prize only, saying the winning piece “shows an interesting emerging voice”.

1st place: Jade Ponga (New Plymouth Girls’ High School): Me Aroha