Dr Leonie Joyce Holmes



Dr Leonie Holmes is a senior lecturer in Composition and Music Studies at the School of Music.  A prominent New Zealand composer, she receives frequent commissions from both professional and community groups in the fields of orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal and solo instrumental music. Recent works have been commissioned and/or performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, BBC singers, Kings Singers, Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir, Auckland Philharmonia, ensemble paladino, Aventa Ensemble Canada, Zephyr Wind Quintet, NZ Trio, Toronto Children’s Choir, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Estrella Quartet, and Jade String Quartet.  Her orchestral music has been released on the Atoll label Solstice, with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marc Taddei (#ACD819). A CD of chamber music titled when expectation ends (ACD618) featuring NZTrio, Estrella, Strata Quartet, Zephyr, and other solo artists was released in 2017.

Stemming from her work as Composer-in-Schools in the 1990s, she is also interested in music education and in developing a musical language that will engage and challenge non-professional players.  She has written many works for school and community groups and is active as a speaker, adjudicator and teacher at all levels and age groups within the New Zealand music community.

Leonie has been Composer-in-Residence at the Nelson School of Music 1986, Composer-in-Schools 1989, Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia 1997, and Composer-in-Residence with the Manukau Symphony Orchestra in 2005. She was awarded the CANZ Trust Fund for Compositional Development in 1991, a Certificate for Contribution to Music in the Auckland Region from the NZSO and Symphony Friends in 1993, and the Philip Neill Memorial Prize in Composition, University of Otago in 2001. Leonie was a member of the Composers Committee, Centre for New Zealand Music (SOUNZ) 1996-1997, co-ordinator of the Nelson Composers Workshop 2001-2002, and is a member of the Composers Association of New Zealand (CANZ).

Research | Current

  • Vocal and instrumental composition
  • New Zealand music
  • Community music making
  • Creative music and music pedagogy

Teaching | Current

  • Composition
  • Music in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Music theory, materials of music
  • Composition and creative music studies in music education

Postgraduate supervision

Richard Francis DMus

Louise Webster DMus

Jay Greenberg DMus

Anthony Young DMus

Timothy Febey MMus

Katherine Bell MMus

Boris Golovin MMus

Josiah Carr MMus

Jessie Leov MMus

Rosa Elliott MMus



  • NICAI Early Career Excellence in Teaching Award 2010
  • Philip Neill Memorial Prize in Composition, University of Otago 2001
  • Certificate for Contribution to Music in the Auckland Region, NZSO and Symphony Friends 1993
  • Composers Association of New Zealand Trust Fund for Compositional Development 1991
  • Finalist SOUNZ Contemporary Award 2014 with Aquae Sulis for orchestra
  • Finalist SOUNZ Contemporary Award 2018 with Dance of the Wintersmith for violin and piano

Committees/Professional groups/Services

CANZ (Composers Association of New Zealand)
APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association)
SOUNZ (Centre for New Zealand Music)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Holmes, L. J.Dance of the Wintersmith. (2017). School of Music Festival. Leonie Holmes.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/40126
  • Holmes, L. ...when expectation ends, 1/1/2017. [CD], (54:28), .
  • Holmes, L. J.Ritual for Wind Quintet. (2016). New Zealand School of Music Lunchtime Concert.
  • Holmes, L. J., & Powell, A.Land pictures. (2015). Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir in Christchurch: Christophers Classics.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/40121
  • Holmes, L. Solstice, 1/1/2014. [CD], (58:20), , Commissioning body: Atoll Records
  • Holmes, L. J.Aquae Sulis for orchestra. (2012).
  • Holmes, L. J.Through Coiled Stillness. (2011). Pre-Tour Concert, Music Theatre, School of Music 11 May 2011.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/10745
  • Holmes, L. J."Silver Whispers" for SATB choir, flute, 2 pianos, celesta, 3 percussion. (2004).