One of the country’s most talented and prolific composers, Gareth Farr has been named as a 2014 Distinguished Alumni by the University of Auckland and will be honoured at a dinner held on Friday 14 March.
Farr graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Music and a Diploma of Music in 1991, before completing a Masters of Music in New York.
In 1993, at only 25 years old, he was selected as composer-in-residence by Chamber Music New Zealand, the youngest composer ever appointed. Now aged just 45 the Wellington-based artist has received a string of accolades for his work including winning four Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for Outstanding Composer of Original Music and a New Zealand Arts Laureate Award. In 2006 he we made an Officer of the Order of New Zealand Merit (ONZM).
Well known for his eclectic musical influences including Rarotongan drumming, classical music and Indonesian Gamelan, Farr’s music has been commissioned for numerous ballet, film and theatrical productions.
He has composed for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, the New Zealand String Quartet, leading Australian ensembles the Goldner String Quartet, and The Song Company as well as Scottish virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. A talented percussionist and performer himself, Farr is also known for his exuberant stage alter-ego drumming drag queen Lilith Lacroix.
Farr has recently finished his first Piano Concerto, written for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Australian pianist Tony Lee, to be performed in Wellington on 28 March.
His focus is now on a creating a work for the 2014 Edinburgh Festival. A composition for double string orchestra featuring a mezzo-soprano, it will commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One.
"Gareth Farr is one of the most vibrant and sonically interesting composers in New Zealand today and his work has had a considerable influence on the imaginations of young musicians at the School of Music,” says Dr David Lines, Head of the School of Music at the University of Auckland.
The University of Auckland Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented annually to graduates who have inspired and impressed with their high level of achievement in their field.