Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Michael King Fellowship awarded for book on New Zealand music composition
The $100,000 Michael King Fellowship has been given to award
winning author and composer Dr Phillip Norman to create a history of New
Zealand composers and their work from the start of European settlement to
Christchurch-based Dr Norman will use the fellowship to
complete a lifetime of work studying New Zealand classical music identifying
influential composers, works and performances, and tracing key developments
through the decades.
“In the 1890s, when composer Alfred Hill was influential,
concert goers would queue for hours to hear his latest work performed,” Dr
Norman said. “Music was the primary form of entertainment so people were
hugely interested in anything new and there was a great depth of activity and
“The type of music composed also changed over the decades.
The formation of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) in 1946 inspired
orchestral and instrumental composition. Prior to that people mostly composed
for choirs, individual singers or pianists because that’s who the performers
were,” he said.
The book will provide a greater understanding of the
country’s composers and their sounds, achievements, preoccupations as well as
the challenges they faced. It will complement Dr Norman’s biography of
Douglas Lilburn: His Life and Music, which won a Montana Book Award in
Creative New Zealand chief executive Stephen Wainwright
said, “Dr Norman is a leading scholar who has the skill to write an
authoritative as well as highly readable account of the people and music that
made an important contribution to the country’s arts, cultural and social
Dr Norman has compiled three editions of the Bibliography
of New Zealand Compositions including biographies of some 120 New Zealand
composers and descriptions of 4000 of their works.
He has co-authored, edited or contributed to numerous other
books and publications on New Zealand music. From 1980-1991 he was the
principal music reviewer for The Press in Christchurchwriting
more than 700 reviews.
In addition to being a writer Dr Norman has composed more
than 250 works, from orchestral, chamber music and opera through to choral
works, musicals and ballet. He composed music for Footrot Flats, New
Zealand’s best-selling musical, and for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s
successful Peter Pan, which is shortly to receive a repeat season in
2003 and administered by Creative New Zealand, the Michael King Fellowship was
renamed in recognition of the late Michael King for his contribution to literature and
his role in advocating for a major fellowship for New Zealand writers.
The fellowship is available to established New Zealand
authors of any literary genre with
a significant publication record. It is offered biennially for writers working
on a major project which
will take two or more years to complete.
Previous recipients of the fellowship are Martin Edmond,
Fiona Farrell, Owen Marshall, Vincent O’Sullivan, CK Stead, Rachel Barrowman,
Neville Peat, Dame Fiona Kidman, Philip Simpson, Kate De Goldi, Peter Wells, Dr
Peter Simpson and Elizabeth Knox.
Image: Dr Philip Norman, courtesy of Gareth Watkins/Lilburn
Trust/Wallace Arts Trust