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
Continue reading »

Mar 162014

University Auckland Alumni Award MedalOn Friday night, March 14, Gareth was honoured with the University of Auckland’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

He was in the stellar company of Bruce Aitken, Dr Julie Maxton, Dr ‘Ana Maui Taufe’ulungaki, Dr William Tan and Roseanne Liang – similarly awarded – and about 400 guests in the enormous marquee in Old Government House gardens.

Strike’s Murray Hickman, Tim Whitta and Rachel Jefferies started proceedings with a blood-thumping, high-energy performance of Gareth’s “Volume Pig” in the gardens of Old Government House.

The food was fabulous – the speeches entertaining, touching and inspiring and the venue, amazing. And the tropical cyclone held off until this morning when it woke our hero percussively.

At Gareth’s table Don and Jan Farr, Salesi Le’ota, Strike’s Murray Hickman, Tim Whitta and Rachel Jefferies, Charmaine Ngarimu, Rima Te Wiata, and Eve de Castro Robinson enjoyed each other’s very fine company, which was occasionally enhanced by Lisa Harrow, Don McGlashan and others.
Continue reading »

Duck, Death and the Tulip

 Posted by on March 10, 2014
Mar 102014

Gareth Farr - Duck Death and the TulipDuck, Death and the Tulip is an acclaimed picture book by German illustrator and writer Wolf Erlbruch, which has been adapted by Peter Wilson as a puppetry stage production for his Little Dog Barking Theatre Company.

The show is directed by Nina Nawalowalo and features music by Gareth Farr.

Gareth’s composition won the 2013 Chapman Tripp Award for Outstanding Composer of Music.

Duck, Death and the Tulip is a strangely heartwarming story. A duck strikes up an unlikely friendship with Death. The superb use of masks, puppets and objects, allows the play to deal with a difficult subject in a way that is elegant, straightforward and thought provoking.

The show has been invited to be part of the 2014 Edinburgh Festival.

Duck, Death and the Tulip is now my favourite book of all time!
Kim Hill, Radio New Zealand National

…sublime music from Gareth Farr… – Keran Brady

…it is Gareth Farr’s music that really brings the whole piece together… – John Smythe

Continue reading »

Feb 032013

Masi has been playing at the Sydney Festival, Australia. This review by Lloyd Bradford Syke appeared at on Jan 31, 2013.

REVIEW: Masi (Sydney Festival) | Everest Theatre

Lloyd Bradford Syke –  Jan 31, 2013 4:12PM

 “Grounding and connective in a way social media and the inter web at large can and will never be.” From across the Tasman, a deeply personal, multi-media story.

 Conch isn’t only a name for a large sea snail, or its shell. It’s a Kiwi theatre company, founded in Wellington, with hands across the South Pacific to Fiji. As with the shell, you can hear (and see) the sound of the ocean in it. I’m also presuming, as with the Marxist ska band of the same name, (The) Conch is a euphemistic abbreviation of consciousness.

Founded in 2002 by associate director Tom McCrory and artistic director Nina Nawalowalo, the company has experienced explosive growth and success (as far afield as London’s Barbican) — yet, aside from a previous visit in 2006 with Vula (Fijian for moon), Australia seems to be the unlucky country, inasmuch as being, seemingly, among the last to celebrate it. By rights, this should now change, dramatically, with the short Sydney Festival season of Masi just wrapped-up. Continue reading »

Great review of Wakatipu

 Posted by on September 26, 2012
Sep 262012

Gareth Farr- is a fabulous resource for string players, and their review of Gareth’s “Wakatipu” is fairly glowing. They say:

The drama and structure of Gareth Farr’s ‘Wakatipu’ will leave audiences spellbound.

‘Wakatipu’ is a breathtaking thrill ride that uses exotic musical language to invoke all the drama of its namesake legend.

You can read the full review right here.

Works by Farr Feature in NZ Music Awards

 Posted by on December 14, 2011
Dec 142011










Two works by Gareth Farr feature on two of the albums nominated for the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards ‘Best Classical’ album of 2011.

He Poroporoaki (Saying Goodbye), co-written by Farr and taonga puoro player Richard Nunns, features on the New Zealand String Quartet’s album Notes from a Journey, a diverse and fascinating collection of works for string quartet by New Zealand composers, released by Atoll Records. Farr and Nunns co-wrote this work for the 2008 Dawn Service Commemoration at Gallipoli, Turkey. This work features alongside works by John Psathas, Micheal Norris, Jack Body and Ross Harris.

Farr’s work Taheke also features on flautist Bridget Douglas and harpist Carolyn Mills’ debut album Flight, which showcases modern works for flute and harp. Taheke is the Maori word for waterfall and each movement of the work draws inspiration from a renowned New Zealand waterfall. The recording also includes works by New Zealanders Eve de Castro-Robinson and Jack Body, as well as works by Toru Takemitsu and Tan Dun.

Dec 142011


Gareth Farr’s children’s opera Kia Ora Khalid, a production from Capital E National Theatre for Children (Wellington, New Zealand), was featured at the Taranaki Arts Festival in New Plymouth, New Zealand on 4-5 August 2011. Recently, it made its Australian debut at the Victoria Arts Centre, Melourne, Australia 26-28 October 2011. Farr created the opera with award-winning writer, Dave Armstrong.

This children’s opera tells stories about refugees and their migration to New Zealand. It is set in a New Zealand playground over a lunch hour and brings together the stories of four students: Tom, a Paheka New Zealander; Serena, a Samoan; Trang, a first generation Cambodian New Zealander; and Khalid, a Tampa refugee from Afghanistan. Local school children at both the New Plymouth and Melbourne performances joined the  four actors to sing in the chorus.

Kia Ora Khalid was well received at the Taranaki International Arts Festival with writer Jo Hills of the Taranaki Daily News describing it as ‘like a school lunch break, it’s only about an hour long, but it’s bursting with goodies and action.’

Nov 242011

On 23rd September, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra gave the Australian premiere Gareth’s ‘The Nor’west Arch’ at the Brisbane Festival. The piece was commissioned by the Christchurch Arts Festival as a memorial to the victims of the February earthquake. It was originally scored for brass band and percussion, and performed by the Woolston Brass Band and Strike – the version for the QSO is an orchestral version, and was performed this time as a memorial to the Queensland floods.