Dec 042014

New Zealand theatre company The Conch have once again engaged Gareth to compose a soundtrack, this time for their new intercultural work Marama.

It will be their third production with Gareth as composer. 2003’s Vula won him the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards ‘Outstanding Composer of Original Music’ award, and Masi in 2009 won critical acclaim at the NZ and Sydney Festivals.

Marama will feature performers from the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and New Zealand.

Gareth Farr Masi Workshop


New short pieces: Fifty Fifty and Gem

 Posted by on November 24, 2014
Nov 242014

Two new short pieces are coming soon from Gareth!

The first is 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.

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

Gem will be premiered in Nelson at the 2015 Adam Chamber Music Festival.

Gareth Farr Glennie Olympics

UPDATE: More news here.

Royal New Zealand Ballet commission

 Posted by on November 21, 2014
Nov 212014

Gareth Farr Smashing Sweet Vixen

Smashing Sweet Vixen

Gareth has been commissioned to write a twenty minute ballet for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company, to be premiered in 2015 as part of the company’s centenary commemorations of the Gallipoli landings.

Gareth will be working with Kiwi choreographer Andrew Simmons, and the score will be performed live by the New Zealand Army Band around the country.

This will be Gareth’s third ballet for the RNZB; Smashing Sweet Vixen (choreographed by Shona McCullagh, music performed by Strike) premiered in 1998, and The Wedding (choreographed by Mark Baldwin, music performed by the APO and the NZSO) premiered in 2006.

Relict Furies – critical acclaim

 Posted by on September 20, 2014
Sep 202014

Relict Furies was commissioned from Gareth by the Edinburgh International Festival and the NZ International Festival.

It was performed on August 26th at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh by world-renowned mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly CBE and the Scottish Ensemble, Scotland’s premiere string orchestra, to critical acclaim and a rousing ovation from the audience.

Relict Furies will also be performed in Wellington, NZ in the 2016 NZ International Festival.

…there was other fantastic music too from this brilliant big band … a wonderful new song trilogy, Relict Furies by Gareth Farr, looking at the impact of war from the perspective of the women who wait, permeated with breathtaking orchestration and a text movingly sung by Sarah Connolly. ✬✬✬✬✬

The Herald Scotland

Gareth Farr’s new score for Relict Furies, a heart-stabbing evocation of the First World War … with the most wonderfully dramatic singing from mezzo Sarah Connolly, whose depth of understanding of Paul Horan’s texts was both honest and poignant. ✬✬✬✬

The Scotsman

Paul Horan, Sarah Connolly & Gareth Farr - Relict Furies

Paul Horan, Sarah Connolly & Gareth Farr

Aug 102014

Radio New Zealand National

In an interview with Radio New Zealand National, Composer Gareth Farr describes his commission for the Edinburgh International Arts Festival – a piece called Relict Furies which describes the First World War from the perspective of three women.

You can listen here or on the Radio New Zealand website.


You can also read more about the performance itself here.

Jul 172014

Sarah Connolly Relict Furies Gareth Farr EifSarah Connolly CBE, one of the foremost British mezzo sopranos, will be performing Gareth Farr’s “Relict Furies” at the Edinburgh International Festival 2014.

It will be the World Premiere of “Relict Furies”, which Gareth wrote as an EIF commission for mezzo soprano and double string orchestra.

Full details of the performance can be found on the Edinburgh International Festival website.

Nancy Wake: The White Mouse

 Posted by on July 17, 2014
Jul 172014

“Nancy Wake: The White Mouse” is a 70 minute documentary-drama from the Gibson Group and features a soundtrack by Gareth Farr.

Nancy Wake - Gibson Group - Gareth Farr
It tells the thrilling true story of a NZ-born heroine who became the Gestapo’s most wanted woman in World War II. This showcase follows Nancy Wake’s life from becoming a vital link in the French resistance, to fleeing from Nazi spies, before returning as a highly trained special agent. She fought to win back her country, but can Nancy also save her husband’s life?

It screens on TV1 on Sunday 20th July at 8.30pm – don’t miss it!

More details about the show are on the Gibson Group website.

Jul 172014
Gareth Farr 'Taheke' - Chamberfest Ottawa - Joanna G'froerer

Joanna G’froerer

Chamberfest Ottawa 2014

Flutist Joanna G’froerer and harpist Michelle Gott will perform a selection of meditative contemporary works, including Gareth Farr’s Taheke, at Chamberfest Ottawa 2014.

Joanna is principal flute of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and one of Canada’s best-known flutists.

Full details at the Chamberfest Ottawa website.

Dominion Post article on Gareth

 Posted by on March 28, 2014
Mar 282014

The Dominion Post featured a great article today on Gareth!

So Farr, so good for Gareth


Wellington’s Gareth Farr is not only one of New Zealand’s best-known contemporary composers, he now has a significant standing overseas.

The prestigious Edinburgh International Festival this year has commissioned Farr, 46, to compose a piece to be performed at the festival in August.

But ahead of that milestone, comes another: Farr’s first piano concerto. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra will be performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and young Australian pianist Tony Lee in Wellington tonight.

A concerto – where one or more instruments is contrasted and blended with an orchestra – has a long tradition in classical music. But a piano concerto for Farr has been a long time coming. He first wanted to write one when he was 17.

Read the rest of the article on the Dominion Post website.

And there’s a review by John Button up now too:

Farr’s new piano concerto marvellously inventive


This was a concert of real contrasts. All three of Respighi’s Roman works with Gareth Farr’s new piano concerto sandwiched in between.

And the Farr work left the famous Respighi works in the dust. Based on just one listen I have no doubt that this marvellously inventive piano concerto is bound to develop an international life all its own. Rarely have I heard a new piece in which I felt we got the absolute essence of the composer, but this was such a piece.

Farr has stated that the piano concertos of Prokofiev, Bartok, Ravel and Shostakovich were long-term favourites and each of these composers’ influences this new concerto of delights. With marvellously free piano writing surrounded by orchestral sounds that conjure up memories of Prokofiev ballets, Ravel’s L’ Enfant et les Sortileges and even the Bartok First Piano Concerto, the ear was tickled bar after bar.

But this is no mere pastiche piece; the distinctive Farr sound was always there and one could sense Farr the puppet- master hovering over the music, pulling the strings and enjoying every second. With some wonderful piano playing from Tony Lee and superbly involved orchestral support – titillating percussion sounds still resonate – this was utterly special.

Read the rest of the review on the Dominion Post website.

Plus! Here’s a bonus picture of Gareth and his parents at the concerto mentioned in the articles:

Don, Jan and Gareth at NZSO Concerto

Don, Jan and Gareth

La Dolce Vita – NZSO

 Posted by on March 17, 2014
Mar 172014

NZSO Gareth Farr 2014 La Dolce VitaWith La Dolce Vita, Music Director Pietari Inkinen and a large-scale orchestra launch the 2014 NZSO Season with a celebration of Roman exuberance and flair.

Exploring passion and history through Ottorino Respighi’s three over-the-top Roman tone poems, they embark on a rich journey through the city of Rome before resting in the shade of majestic pine trees.

And what could better match the feisty boldness of the Italians than a new commission from firebrand composer Gareth Farr ? Full of vigorous rhythms and vivid orchestral colours, Gareths’s new Concerto for Piano and Orchestra features Tony Lee, whose performance will quicken the pulse and re-energise the spirit.

Date: Friday 28th March, 2014
Concert Duration: 1h23
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