Chris was a finalist in the 2019 SOUNZ Contemporary Award with his violin concerto ogee. His fellow finalists, both with exceptional violin concerti, were Chris Gendall and Michael Norris (the eventual winner).
double duo was commissioned by Ben Hoadley and was premiered at the Tim Melville Gallery in October 2016 by Hoadley (bassoon), Andrew Beer (violin), David Samuel (viola) and James Yoo (cello).
A special recording was made a few months later at the Music Theatre, University of Auckland School of Music.
The work continues Watson's recent interest in providing musicians with 'floating' gestures, that must be placed as a form of loose commentary against the progress of strictly notated musical lines. In this case the viola and cello are paired with the bassoon and violin respectively, embellishing the dialogue of these protagonists.
See here for further details.
Chris has won the 2015 SOUNZ Contemporary Award at the APRA Silver Scrolls for his piano concerto sing songs self.
He was a finalist alongside his friend and mentor Ross Harris (Piano Quintet) and emerging young talent Reuben Jelleyman (Expanse). See Chris accept the award at the Silver Scrolls evening at Auckland's Vector Arena, below, from 3:20:49.
Listen to the Sarah Watkins (piano) / New Zealand Symphony Orchestra cond. Hamish McKeich recording of sing songs self here:
And hear him discuss his win with Radio NZ Concert's Cynthia Morahan here:
ogee, a concerto for violin and orchestra written in 2008, was recorded by violinist Justine Cormack and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conductor Hamish McKeich at the Michael Fowler Centre.
The composer wishes to thank Dr Jack C. Richards for generous financial support that made this recording possible. He also thanks SOUNZ, the NZSO and Justine Cormack and Radio New Zealand Concert. The recording was engineered and produced for broadcast and streaming by Radio New Zealand Concert as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ-RNZC Recordings scheme.
This new work for six voices (The Song Company, Director Roland Peelman) and two string quartets (the New Zealand String Quartet and the Ying Quartet) was premiered alongside new works by New Zealanders Jack Body, Eve de Castro-Robinson and Louise Webster at Nelson Cathedral on the final night of the Adam Chamber Music Festival 2015.
Some Cries of Wellington was commissioned by the Adam Chamber Music Festival with funding from Creative New Zealand.
Chris is the subject of an hour long interview with Kenneth Young covering many of his works and his life in music.
sundry good, a string quartet commissioned by Stroma with funding from Creative New Zealand was premiered by Vesa-Matti Leppänen (violin), Rebecca Struthers (violin), Andrew Thomson (viola) and Rowan Prior (cello) at concerts in Auckland and Wellington.
Alex Taylor, writing in the Listener said, "Chris Watson’s sundry good was the standout: unflinchingly dramatic and fluid where everything else on the programme tended towards stasis. Watson’s musical materials seemed to consist of scraps, decorations, residues, but they were knitted together to create striking trajectories and interactions between the independent voices of the quartet. Vesa-Matti Leppänen was a spritely protagonist here, triggering cascades of activity through the ensemble. The players seemed to thrive on these gestural exchanges: where most of the other works felt safely contained, sundry good threatened to burst at any moment, filling a void of dramatic tension."
sing songs self, a concerto for piano and orchestra, was recorded by pianist Sarah Watkins and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conductor Hamish McKeich at the Michael Fowler Centre.
The recording was engineered and produced for broadcast and streaming by Radio New Zealand Concert as part of the NZSO-SOUNZ-RNZC Recordings scheme. The composer wishes to thank Dr Jack C. Richards for generous financial support that made this recording possible. He also thanks SOUNZ, the NZSO and Hamish McKeich and Radio New Zealand Concert.
sing songs self is dedicated to Sarah Watkins.
After a six year wait, orbicularis was premiered by Luca Manghi (flute) and pianist Dean Sky-Lucas (piano) under the auspices of the Karlheinz Company at the Music Theatre, Auckland University.
Composition of orbicularis was funded by Creative New Zealand.
Reviewing the concert for The Listener blog, Alex Taylor said:
"Brought to life with an impressive lightness of touch by flutist Luca Manghi and pianist Dean Sky-Lucas, Orbicularis by Chris Watson explored the explosion of a single melodic line. Occupying a chiefly treble register, the work bent and flurried, both instruments dovetailing and punctuating each other's material with witty interjections and non sequiturs. The title of the work comes from a facial muscle used in playing woodwind instruments, orbicularis oris. Watson has written another woodwind work, Mandible, which shares an interest in facial musculature. I couldn't help but ponder that the incredible complexity of those muscles and the myriad expressions they produce seems in a sense analogous to Chris Watson's music: intimidatingly intricate, but also emotionally rich."
SOUNZ has welcomed news from NZ On Air that it will increase funding to allow Chris to film and edit performances of works by New Zealand composers full time. This new role is an extension of the Resound project which Chris has managed since its inception in 2010.
Resound is an initiative of Radio New Zealand Concert and SOUNZ - Centre for New Zealand Music, funded by NZ On Air, which relicences RNZ Concert audio for re-broadcast and use online, re-records select works and, now, engages in film work.
Films made by Chris under Resound can be accessed via www.resound.org.nz.
ensemble reconsil vienna, conducted by Roland Freisitzer, with clarinet solo played by Thomas Schon, gave the first non-NZ performance of this now 10 year old work, at the Arnold Schonberg Center in Vienna. The concert also featured a new commission by NZ composer Rachael Morgan.
The Silo String Quartet and trombonist Barrie Webb gave the premiere of tag (and release) at the Richmond Town Hall, Melbourne. The work was commissioned by the Melbourne Composers League and is dedicated to the players of the first performance.
The work is a departure for the composer, featuring conventionally scored solos acting as a guide for free-floating accompanimental details, freeing the ensemble from the need for a conductor. Details here.
Dylan Lardelli (guitar), Kim Tan (flute) and Aviva Endean (clarinet) performed ...vers libre... in Richmond, Melbourne alongside works by New Zealanders Samuel Holloway, Dylan Lardelli, Alexandra Hay and Michael Norris.
Welcome, Harvey Morse Garrett-Watson.
175 East, conducted by Hamish McKeich, gave the second performance of this work at the Kenneth Myers Centre in Auckland. Listen to the performance in its entirety below.
175 East, Kenneth Myers Centre, 18/11/2011
SMP Ensemble - Mitchell McEwan (fl), Andrzej Nowicki (cl), Dylan Lardelli (gt), Charley Davenport (vc) and Chris Gendall (cond) - gave the third performance of this work at the Adam Concert Room (Wellington) alongside works by Gendall, Holloway Lardelli, Morgan and Sciarrino.
homage to varèse's "octandre" was performed by the Oberlin Wind Ensemble, conductor Timothy Weiss, at the Warner Concert Hall of the Oberlin Conservatory, Ohio.
Welcome, Benson Achilles Garrett-Watson.
175 East (cond. Hamish McKeich), with guest guitarist Dylan Lardelli, has given the first performances of about nothing...really. It is envisioned that several versions of the work will be prepared to fit with performance opportunities that present themselves on Dylan's travels in Europe.
This first version, for flute, clarinet, guitar and cello, was premiered in Christchurch on 9 April 2010, with a further performance in Auckland two days later.
Arnold Marinissen (percussion) and Marco Roosink (violin), under the auspices of Camerata Busoni, have premiered duo music at the Nieuwe Veste in Breda, The Netherlands.
duo music was made possible by funding from Creative New Zealand - thanks CNZ!
After a productive and challenging two years spent in Dunedin as the University of Otago's Mozart Fellow, Chris has returned to Wellington to live.
As work progresses on a new piece for guitarist Dylan Lardelli and small ensemble, Chris has taken up the role of Co-ordinator of the Resound project at SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music.
schemata, a work for piano trio, was premiered by Tessa Petersen (violin), Jono Squire (cello) and John Van Buskirk (piano) in a concert at Marama Hall, University of Otago, on 20 September. It was heard alongside works by Anthony Ritchie, Peter Adams, Douglas Lilburn, David Farquhar and John Rimmer. Due to its micro dimensions (three movements over little more than two minutes), performances of schemata framed the concert.
Thanks to Tessa, Jono and John for their commitment to the piece and their excellent performances of it.
Use the above window to view the performance.
Duo Pestova/Meyer (Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer) have given the first two performances of Chris's piano duo, coffee table book at the Adam Concert Room (NZSM) and Marama Hall (University of Otago).
The composer wishes to thank Xenia and Pascal for their hard work and dedication to the score.
Use the above window to view the Wellington premiere.
Chris has realised a 42 minute documentary titled The Composers Association of New Zealand Nelson Composers Workshop: Inside the Incubator. The Workshop is an important annual gathering of emerging New Zealand composers and has been attended by a majority of NZ composers to have become established in the past quarter century.
In this, the first of many projected documentaries about NZ composers and their music under the moniker "dr watson docos", two young composers (Alex Hay and Alex Taylor) are followed through the processes of rehearsal, performance and group critique at the 2008 CANZ Nelson Composers Workshop. Some of the country's top composers, attending the Workshop as tutors, recount their experiences at the now 28 year old institution and the connections between Nelson and its precursor, the Cambridge Summer Schools (1946-1984), are examined.
The film's premiere took place on the opening night of the 2009 CANZ Nelson Composers Workshop on July 5. Use the above player to watch the film via Vimeo, or contact Chris to order your copy on DVD (at a nominal cost).
This ten minute piano duo was commissioned by Duo Pestova/Meyer (Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer) for a tour of New Zealand in July 2009. Premiere performance is at the Zealand School of Music, Wellington, on July 17, with a further performance at Otago University, Dunedin, on July 22.
I Know, a work for gamelan and solo clarinet, has been released
on Gamelan Padhang Moncar's "Now
I Know: New Music for Gamelan & Winds". The piece was written for Gamelan
Padhang Moncar's appearance at the 12th
Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival in July 2007, where the clarinet soloist
was Andrzej Nowicki.
Now I Know was funded by Creative New Zealand.
An eleven minute violin concerto for occasion as-yet unknown.
Work on a duo commissioned by Arnold
Marinissen (percussion) and Marco
Roosink (violin) under the auspices of Camerata
Busoni is completed.
duo music was funded by Creative New Zealand and is due for premiere as part of Camerata Busoni's 2009/10 season in The Netherlands.
pivotal orbits was performed as part of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's Made in New Zealand programme at the Wellington Town Hall. This New Zealand premiere performance was conducted by Kenneth Young and appeared alongside works by Helen Bowater, Richard Fuchs, Gao Ping and David Farquhar.
This new eight minute work for flute and piano was commissioned by Mette Leroy (fl) and Jamie Cock (pno) with funding from Creative New Zealand. Named for the facial muscle chiefly used in the playing of woodwinds, its premiere performance will take place in 2009.
Chris has been named 2008
Mozart Fellow at the University of
Otago. The Mozart Fellowship was established by the University of
Otago in 1969 and is a chance for a composer to work unhindered at his
or her craft while enjoying the many benefits of life in the lower South
Island. Chris and his partner will move to Dunedin in February.