Cello Concerto in Paris

 Posted by on November 28, 2018
Nov 282018

Gareth’s cello concerto was recently performed in Paris as part of the French Armistice Day celebrations. The orchestra of the Garde Répulicaine performed the concerto with cellist Sébastien Hurtaud in the Cathedrale St. Louis des Invalides.

Gareth Farr Cello Concerto Garde Repulicaine Sebastian Hurtaud

If your French is très bien, you can listen to an interview with Sébastien here.

Te Kōanga Premiere by Heath Quartet

 Posted by on June 28, 2018
Jun 282018

Tui bird calls heard in the Marlborough Sounds were the inspiration behind Gareth Farr’s new string quartet Te Kōanga premiered by the touring Heath Quartet this week.

Eight Col Tui Photo Matt Binns CC BY 2.0

“As the water taxi pulled in, I could hear the tui calls, and it was the same call I notated when I was 16,” Gareth says.

The work was commissioned by the family of Wellington luthier Ian Lyons. Ian was a well-known figure among many of the country’s leading string players whose instruments he serviced for many years for before passing away unexpectedly in 2015.

The new work is called Te Kōanga, meaning Spring or planting season. It is written for string quartet but Farr turns the strong group into a percussion ensemble by having the players pluck and snap their strings.

The piece was debuted this week by one of Britain’s most exciting chamber ensembles, the Heath Quartet. The Chamber Music New Zealand concert includes string quartets by Haydn and Britten, and an arrangement of Bach’s sublime Chorale Preludes as well as the new commission by New Zealand composer Gareth Farr.

The full interview is on RNZ.

Cello Concerto

 Posted by on April 4, 2017
Apr 042017

Sebastien Champs Elysees
Sébastien Hurtaud

Gareth Farr’s Cello Concerto ‘Chemin des Dames’ is having its world premiere as part of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra concert Aotearoa-Plus.

It pays tribute to the soldiers who fell on the First World War battlefields of France and Belgium and reminds us of the profound grief and trauma felt by their families and wider communities. Performed by Adam International Cello Competition winner Sébastien Hurtaud, Gareth’s concerto will be performed in both Aotearoa and France, bringing musicians and audiences together to remember our shared history. This world premiere is funded by the First World War Centenary (WW100) Co-commissioning Fund.

The cello concerto is on the 5th and 6th of May in Wellington and Auckland, and then in France in September.

You can read the full description on the NZSO’s website

The Bone Feeder

 Posted by on March 30, 2017
Mar 302017

Auckland Arts Festival The Bone Feeder With Jaewoo Kim & Ensemble GATE Photography Candice Whitmore (761)The Bone Feeder GATE Photography Candice Whitmore (636)The Bone Feeder GATE Photography Candice Whitmore (949)The Bone Feeder GATE Photography Candice Whitmore (643)  Photos Gate Photography

The Bone Feeder recently played as part of the Auckland Festival 23-26 March.

A new opera, beautifully and imaginatively scored by Gareth Farr and written by poet and playwright Renee Liang, which explores the mysteries, traumas and gifts of migration, home and belonging. A young Chinese man searching for his roots is guided by a magical cicada and Māori Ferryman. He crosses to ‘the other side’, where ghosts reveal secrets of love, loss and betrayal. His attempt to uncover his ancestor’s bones disturbs the earth and, ultimately, threatens his life.

Directed by Sara Brodie and conducted by Peter Scholes, the opera takes Gareth Farr’s unique combination of Western, Māori and Chinese instruments to create sweeping beautiful and playful music sung in English, Māori and Cantonese.

You can read the full synopsis and download the libretto at the
Festival’s website listing.

The music by Gareth Farr combined western instruments with traditional Chinese flutes, fiddles and zithers, along with taonga pūoro, mirroring the combined strands of the story. He used the instruments to produce a superb range of sound, from eerie ghostly sounds through the dramatic and ritualistic.”

John Daly-Peoples

The Bone Feeder GATE Photography Candice Whitmore (597)

The Bone Feeder GATE Photography Candice Whitmore (647)

Auckland Arts Festival The Bone Feeder Jaewoo Kim With Ensemble GATE Photography Candice Whitmore (701)
Photos Gate Photography

Gareth Featured in the Dom Post

 Posted by on April 28, 2016
Apr 282016

Bess Manson has written a great article on Gareth in The Dominion Post (April 23rd 2016), and it’s accompanied by a fantastic, nearly full-page photo by Ross Giblin.

Gareth Farr By Ross Giblin

As a kid, Gareth Farr played the piano as if it had committed some sort of misdemeanour. He hit those ivory keys like they were a contrary set of drums. The guitar didn’t get off lightly either.

He whacked its strings and thwacked its body to extract the pure resonance he craved.

Percussion was his destiny.

Read the full article here.

Mar 102016

Relict Furies is playing as part of the New Zealand Festival on Tuesday March 15th.

You can see more details and download a programme from the Festival’s website.

Update: John Button for Stuff and Peter Mechen for Middle C have written reviews of the performance.

Nau mai haere mai ki te Taurima o Aotearoa.

At its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival last year, Relict Furies by Gareth Farr and Paul Horan stole the show. It is a masterful portrayal of grief and desolation and one of the most moving tributes to those who lived through World War I.

In its 12 minutes we are reminded of why it is important to remember. Heartfelt thanks to Gareth and Paul for this work and to Margaret Medlyn and the members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for tonight’s performance.

Shelagh Magadza
Artistic Director

Relict Furies Gareth Farr Programme
Jun 262015

The next few months are looking very busy for Gareth! Upcoming commissions include:

A piece for Ben Baker, a young Kiwi violinist living and working in London, for piano trio.

Gareth Farr - Ben Baker - Piano Trio - Pic By Kaupo Kikkas

A short piece for Sydney’s renowned vocal sextet, the Song Company; it’s the setting of a poem by the iconic Australian poet and cartoonist, Leunig.


Two waiata for Rotorua soprano Timua Brennan, to feature on her upcoming album of songs in te reo Maori.

Soprano Timua Brennan

Jun 152015

In August 2015, Gareth will attend a performance of the ‘Gallipoli Symphony’ in Istanbul, Turkey, at the invitation of the Turkish and Australian governments.

The piece is a compilation of all ten commissioned works for the ANZAC Day dawn service at Gallipoli for the last decade, one of which was composed by Gareth. The performance will be on the 4th August 2015, in the Hagia Irene.

Gareth Farr Gallipoli Symphony

May 262015

Gareth has recently completed a work for the New Zealand String Quartet, for their international children’s tours.

The work is intended to help kids understand modern string music, and is a collaboration with celebrated NZ children’s writer Joy Cowley. Joy created a script that integrates with the music, and is narrated by the players while they play – and is called ‘Scary Music’.

Gareth Farr and Joy Cowley "Scary Music"

May 202015

Two new short pieces by Gareth were premiered in early 2015.

The first was Gem for solo piano, commissioned by Nicola Melville in memory of her teacher Judith Clark, who died in early 2014.

Gem was premiered on the 6th February (Waitangi Day) in Nelson at the 2015 Adam Chamber Music Festival, as part of a series of piano concerts dedicated to Judith Clark.

The second piece was Fifty Fifty – commissioned by Dame Evelyn Glennie for solo bongos, in honour of her 50th birthday (50 bars for 50 years).

Dame Evelyn has performed Gareth’s percussion concerto in NZ and Australia (with the NZSO), and in Canada with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Fifty Fifty was premiered by Dame Evelyn Glennie at the Teatro di San Carlo (the Naples Opera House), in Naples, Italy, on the 16th of May 2015.

Gareth Farr Glennie Olympics