February 14, 2017
Music school embraces taonga puoro
Taonga puoro specialist Rob Thorne of Ngati Tumutumu, Hauraki, and Tainui is to be the 14th composer in residence at Victoria University of Wellington’s Te Koki New Zealand School of Music.
The Palmerston North musician has 25 years experience in bands and solo performance, predominantly within alternative rock, free noise, experimental, and improvisational sound art.
He has worked with traditional Maori musical instruments since 2001, and in 2014 released a solo album of original taonga puoro compositions, Whaia te Maramatanga, on Rattle Records.
He has also performed with the New Zealand String Quartet on works by another young composer, Salina Fisher.
Music school acting director Dugal McKinnon says Mr Thorne has demonstrated an innovative and sustaining approach to the traditions he is engaged with, with excellent
cross-disciplinary musical outcomes.
Mr Thorne says the residency in the former Thorndon home of the late Douglas Lilburn is one of the best residencies available to New Zealand composers, because it is long enough to allow a large body of work to be achieved.
He says the school has always had a strong focus on identifying a New Zealand sound, and taonga puoro is the first music of Aotearoa.
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