Chris' composition entitled, 'Christmas Bells' (words by Henry Longfellow) for the SATB choir and organ has been unanimously chosen as the winner by the four judges. The prize includes two performances by the Leeds Philharmonic Choir in December, 750 pounds and publication by the Royal Schools of Church Music.
"I am ecstatic to have been recognised in this way," says Chris. "There are a great many talented musicians and composers around the world and it is a fantastic feeling to be honoured on the world stage."
It has certainly been a few weeks of good news for Chris. His choral setting of 'Love Came Down at Christmas' (words by Christina Rossetti), is to be performed by The Graduate Choir NZ and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Johannes Fritzsch, at the APO's Celebrate Christmas Concerts at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parnell on 15 and 16 December. This piece was composed for our very own King's College Chapel Choir, who premiered it in under the direction of Gina Sanders in December 2016. In July 2017 it won first prize in the Freudig Singers of Western New York Composition Competition. The performance by the Graduate Choir NZ and APO, will be the premiere for choir with orchestral accompaniment.
In January 2018, Chris has been invited to be the Composer in Residence for the Royal Schools of Church Music Australaisan Summer School, which takes place in Auckland in January 2018. More info about the summer school can be found here. His involvement includes: composition of a brand new hymn for the summer school entitled, ‘Fill Now The Southern Skies With Praise’ (words by Neil Shroff, Director of RSCMNZ), which will be sung at evening services throughout the summer school and at a special service at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parnell on Sunday 14 Jan at 5.00pm. He will also be giving a lecture entitled, ‘Composing for Choirs’ and will have several of his choral works performed by general and select choirs at the conference.
One of these pieces, Chris' setting of 'I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes', was written for our very own King’s College Chapel in 2012. Another piece to be performed is ‘In Darkness and in Light’, which has been sung several times by our Chapel Choir. Chris will also be taking part in an open forum as one of four speakers on ‘What Makes a Good Hymn?’
On Saturday 10 March 2018, the world premiere of Chris' Missa Brevis will take place in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell. Performers will include the Graduate Choir NZ, Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir, Cathedral Organist Philip Smith and Auckland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Thomas.
Chris' Missa Brevis was commissioned by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra and has also received substantial funding from Creative New Zealand. The work is just over twenty minutes in length and includes five movements: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. Gina Sanders (Director of King’s College Chapel Choir) has written the following comment about this work: 'It is FANTASTIC! I love the variety, the intense musicality and although it is challenging, it is so very singable and playable'.
Computer generated recordings can be heard on Soundcloud here. More info about the Missa Brevis concert can be found on the iTicket website here.