Toru Whā – Ka Rewa a Matariki

 Posted by on June 14, 2019
Jun 142019

NZTrio will be joined by musician and composer Horomona Horo playing taonga pūoro in a programme reflecting on our past, while celebrating new horizons and possibilities.

It includes three newly commissioned pieces, from Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead (Ngāi Te Rangi), Martin Lodge and Jeremy Mayall, alongside works composed by Victoria Kelly, Richard Nunns and Gareth Farr.

Full details on the Chamber Music New Zealand site:

Gareth Farr Toru Wha Matariki


Wellington Pride Parade Fanfare

 Posted by on March 5, 2019
Mar 052019

Gareth has written a fanfare – “rumbling cacophony of sound to show off a bit” – for the 2019 Wellington International Pride Parade, that will bring the theme of FIRE | AHI to life and be performed by Orchestra Wellington!

He felt compelled to write a Pride Fanfare because the opening of the parade cries out for some kind of musical performance.

“This will be a noisy one,” Farr said. “The piece has to compete with decibel levels on the street we don’t usually associate with the concert hall.”

“With their training and professionalism, I’m sure the orchestra players will cut through any of the street noise and get the parade off on the right foot (or stiletto).”

See the Orchestra Wellington website for full details!

Wellington Pride Parade Gareth Farr


Cello concerto: Great War Story

 Posted by on January 10, 2019
Jan 102019

Gareth grew up with the photos of three young men in army uniform on the wall in his parents’ home. He didn’t know much about them until his mother recounted their history.

The Byrne brothers, Frank, Vince and Charlie, all volunteered for the First World War. All three died in the last 18 months of the war, leaving their New Zealand family devastated.

Gareth was so moved that he wrote a cello concerto in their memory.

AC Productions went to France and filmed Sebastien Hurtaud performing the concerto in Laon Cathedral. Picardy, a region where thousands of French and Germans died during the First World War.

See the video featured on Newshub:

Gareth Farr Great War Concerto Newshub

Fabulous at 50

 Posted by on December 14, 2018
Dec 142018

Gareth, who this year celebrated his 50th birthday (or possibly his 12.5th), popped into the Radio New Zealand studios to share stories about life, music and things that go wrong on stage.

Read more and listen to the full interview on RNZ’s site.

RNZ Logo Reo

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.