School of Music Staff Releases

The latest projects from the School of Music staff.


2015 has been a busy year for researchers and academics at NICAI, for the School of Music, the back half of the year has seen the release of a significant amount of work. 

Eve de Castro-Robinson - I stayed a minute

I stayed a minute cover
I stayed a minute cover

I stayed a minute is a collaboration of piano music by Associate Professor Eve de Castro-Robinson and images by Harvey Benge. The title references a line from New Zealand writer Bill Manhire: "I stayed a minute/and the garden was full of voices."

The project will be released by Rattle Records, New Zealand's leading art music label, and comprises two fifteen minute piano works packaged with a photo book by Harvey Benge:

  • Ring true was commissioned by NZ pianist Dan Poynton in 2003. It has three movements: "a music as numerous as space" (Emily Dickinson), "a wild dissolving bliss" (Shelley) "a quietness distilled" (Dickinson). The pianist also plays a handbell and a large tamtam and the whole work is redolent of bell sounds and other calls. 
  • and the garden was full of voices was commissioned by Barry Margan for the SOUNZTender project in 2010, and premiered by pianist Gao Ping. The three movements in this piece are "the air sings of life” (Barry Margan), "moon darkened by song" (Bill Manhire), and "the ancient chants are echoes of death" (Margan).

Eve says of this work, "The garden and its metaphorical voices, songs, chants and echoes come to life in this ritualistic and meditative work, from the tui calls of the first movement, transcribed directly from my garden, to the more abstracted whistles and nocturnal, dreamlike vocalisations of the second and third. A preoccupation with repeated notes throughout sprang from those of the tui which pervaded Auckland that summer."

The work is being released on vinyl, which Eve sees as a point of difference in the market. "Few contemporary classical composers have produced a vinyl record and I believe this could be a ground-breaker in NZ, especially since, with the enclosed photo book, it is a total artwork rather than just a record," she says.

I stayed a minute will be a limited edition release from Rattle Records in February 2016.



Kevin Field - The A List

The A List cover

Pianist and School of Music Senior Lecturer Kevin Field recently traveled to New York to collaborate with some of the top jazz artists in the world to create his new album, The A List. The album features Sony recording artist Nir Felder - described by NPR as "the next big jazz guitarist"- bassist Matt Penman, one of the first call bass players in New York who has featured on over 100 major label recordings, and drummer Obed Calvaire who holds the drum chair with the crème of jazz and R&B/pop artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Mary J. Blige and Musiq Soulchild.  The album also features the distinctive talents of vocalists Clo Chaperon and Marjan Gorgani and has been released through Warner Music.

"The A-List isn’t just a coming together in the name of 'good jazz’' but a precious new statement made by one of this country's jazz greats." 4.5/5 star review by Rip It Up magazine.

You can find out more about Kevin and his work on his website:



Ron Samsom & The Neutrino Funk Experience - Acetone

Acetone cover image

Senior Lecturer Ron Samsom, coordinator of the School of Music's jazz programme, released Acetone in July, his first album as a band leader.

Ron tells of how the album came together. "The group spawned out of a residency last year at the Albion Hotel. I started writing tunes loosely based on the '70s jazz funk era with players like Leon Spencer, Sonny Stitt and Idris Muhamed - jazz players who were exploring for backbeat oriented groove rather than 4/4 swing. The result for that group was a modern take on some of these older forms such as ragtime, gospel and blues. All of these elements were present in music that made people move and have fun."

There is a strong NICAI flavour running through Acetone, with Ron's School of Music colleague Roger Manins playing sax, and graduate Cameron McArthur on bass. "Cameron is really sounding excellent," says Ron. "He has been out playing with Nathan Haines, working in tons of local groups, studying privately in NYC and generally going hard at making a career as a musician."

"The band is really a collective, even though I have written all the material, what stands out for me is the group sound and interpretation of the melodies," Ron adds.

The album received excellent reviews, for instance NZ Musician called Acetone "a very rewarding album to get into," and Creative Jazz Club admiring its "passion and warmth…sheer joy of groove, and grit, and pump!"

You can purchase Acetone here



Roger Manins – Two Out

Cover of Two Out album

Roger, a lecturer in the School of Music's jazz programme, collaborated with leading pianist-composer Mike Nock earlier in the year to produce Two Out, with a launch in late September at Creative Jazz Club.

Mike Nock is one of the most internationally significant jazz musicians to originate from New Zealand and is highly regarded in the international community, with many significant recordings and performances to his name.

Music critic Graham Reid positioned Two Out as "among the best for the sheer pleasure that it gives" and applauded Roger and Mike's partnership: "You know you have been in the presence of two unique individuals who have made exceptional music together." The album also received this 4.5 star review, featured in The Australian newspaper.

Two Out is available to purchase here