2018 NZ Festival with Rob Thorne

25 October 2017 / News

We're excited to announce our performance in next year's New Zealand Festival - a programme called Te ao hou | This new world with taonga pūoro player and composer Rob Thorne. Rob is currently the Creative NZ / Jack C. Richards 2017 Composer-In-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music and it was his playing that was the inspiration for Salina Fisher's SOUNZ contemporary award-winning composition Tōrino: echoes on pūtōrino improvisations by Rob Thorne. Prior to the premiere of this work in 2016, Salina wrote:

“Discovering the music of Taonga Pūoro artist Rob Thorne has been the most deeply moving listening experience in my recent memory. I was mesmerized by the many powerful and haunting voices that Thorne could produce through one instrument in particular, the pūtōrino, and felt compelled to explore further and respond musically.”

Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu) has over 25 years of experience in bands and solo performances, predominantly in experimental and improvisational sound art. His work since 2001 with traditional Māori musical instruments (taonga pūoro) has seen him travel the country to research museum collections, teach, demonstrate, collaborate and perform, working academically and musically with masters including Richard Nunns and Phil Dadson. His post graduate research became a museum exhibition "Kōauau: The Music Within", which successfully toured New Zealand regionally for five years and awoke many to the natural ease with which the instruments can be made and played. 

Martyn Pepperrell, reviewing Rob's album Whāia Te Māramatanga in the publication Vanguard Red, wrote:

"Rob Thorne casts a modern eye on stone, wood, shell and bone... he crafts meditative naturalistic soundworlds which reflect the beauty and splendour of the natural landscape of Aotearoa” 

In Te ao hou | This new world, the unique and haunting sounds of taonga pūoro will be echoed by Western string instruments in improvisations and compositions by Rob himself, as well as works by Gillian Whitehead (Poroporoaki and Puhake ki te rangi), Salina Fisher (Tōrino) and Gareth Farr (He Pororporoaki). Central to the programme will be the premiere of a new work by Rob for taonga pūoro and string quartet called Tomokanga.

Book here for Te ao hou | This new world or view the Full 2018 Festival Programme

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