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Ross Harris


Born: 1945 Website  


Arts laureate, Ross Harris is one of New Zealand’s leading composers. He has written more than two hundred compositions including opera, symphonic music, chamber music, klezmer and electronic music. He has been a finalist in the prestigious SOUNZ Contemporary Award more times than any other New Zealand composer and won the award four times.

Harris received a QSM in 1985 for his opera Waituhi with libretto by Witi Ihimaera, the CANZ Citation for Services to New Zealand Music in 1990 and the CANZ Trust Fund Award in 2016.. His major works include six string quartets, six symphonies, a violin concerto (premiered by Anthony Marwood in 2010) and a cello concerto (premiered by Li-Wei Qin in 2012). The symphonies and the concertos are available on the Naxos Label.

His collaborations with poet Vincent O’Sullivan have produced two operas, two symphonies, three song cycles and Requiem for the Fallen. One of the song cycles The Abiding Tides (for soprano Jenny Wollerman and the New Zealand String Quartet) was described by music critic Rod Biss as “…a work that instantly enriched our heritage of New Zealand music”. His Requiem for the Fallen (2014) has been described as “a devastating commentary on the ravages of war.” and “This was a never-to-be-forgotten experience for all who attended.

Composed (165)

"God, pity us poor soldiers"

for koauau and strings, 5m

...and the final sky

for SATB choir, 5m

...inside the rainbow air...

for soprano and piano, 4m

...of memory...

for orchestra, 14m

3 Klezmer Duos

for two Bb clarinets

3 Lines and a Circle

for two clarinets, 3m

A Path To Memory

for piano


for piano, 3m

Aria for Solo Viola and Strings

for viola and strings

Arms and the Boy

for TBarB choir with tenor soloist


for tuba and piano, 4m

As though there were no God

for orchestra, 18m

At the Edge of Silence

for chamber quintet, 11m

Audi Caelum

for three sopranos and four cellos, 7m

Ave Maris Stella

for SSAATTBB choir

Black Ice

for orchestra, vocal soloists and chorus


a multi-media theatre work, 10m 38s

Brass Call

5m 9s

Brass Poppies

1h 10m

Bremner Aria

for trombone and brass band, 6m


for soprano, violin, cello and piano


for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet and piano, 2m


for orchestra, 10m 40s

Chaconne for Solo Viola

for viola, 8m

Chamber Concerto

for piano, winds and percussion, 12m


for piano, 9m

Concertino for piano and strings

for piano and strings, 12m

Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra

for cello and orchestra


for horn and piano, 7m


for contrabassoon and mixed chamber ensemble


for winds and percussion, 5m

Dreams, Yellow Lions

for baritone and chamber ensemble, 20m

Drive it

11m 40s


for violin and cello, 7m


7m 14s


for trumpet and tape delay system, 10m

Eight Duets for French Horns

for two french horns

Etude (Waves)

for piano


for orchestra, soprano, tenor, bass-baritone and chorus, 40m

Farbenkt (Nostalgic)

for klezmer band

Fault Lines

for brass quintet, 3m 2s


for clarinet and string quartet


for flute and tape, 6m

For Trumpet and Bassoon

for trumpet and bassoon, 2m

Four Laments for Solo Clarinet

for clarinet, 7m 33s

Games Affair Suite

for tape, 8m

Ghost Dances (String Quartet No.2)

for string quartet, 13m


for electronics, 5m


for electronics, 8m

Homage to Robert Burch

for horn quartet


for tape, 7m

Horn Call on Makara Cliff

for horn and tape, 8m

I Do

4m 29s


for oboe and piano, 5m

In Memory G.B.

for bassoon and piano, 5m


for soprano and tape, 8m


for solo violin and strings


for piano and tape, 10m

Jazz Suite for Wind Quintet

for wind quintet

Ka wawara te hau...

for flute and piano, 11m

Klezmer Trio

for string trio, 6m


for electronics, 10m

Konen (Rounds)

for klezmer band

Labyrinth for Tuba and Orchestra

for tuba and orchestra, 11m

Lament - Butrymonys

for horn, 5m

Lament for Broken Bones

for solo bassoon

Lament for Natural Horn

for natural horn


for klezmer band

Moler (Painter)

for klezmer band

Mosaic (Water)

for electronics, 7m

Mozaic: You Must Remember This?

for two pianos, 8m

Music for Jonny

for string orchestra, 8m

Music for Solo Cello

for cello, 5m

Music for Trombone

for trombone

Music for Two Guitars

for two guitars, 7m

Narish (Silly)

for klezmer band

Nga Manu

for piano

Nobby Clark

for baritone and piano, 12m


for violin and piano, 7m

Ornamental Gorse

for baritone and piano

Orowaru (the rippling sound of water)

for piano quintet, 14m 30s

Paoro (to echo)

for solo trumpet


for voices, brass, woodwinds and percussion

Piano Fragments

for piano, 8m

Piano Piece 1987

for piano, 5m

Piano Piece for JR

for piano, 3m

Piano Quintet

for two violins, viola, cello and piano

Piano Trio

for piano trio, 15m


for tape, 7m


for piano, 2m

Red Shift

5m 26s


for horn and piano, 7m

Requiem for the Fallen

for tenor, SATB choir, taonga puoro, bass drum and string quartet

Retenishn (Mysteries)

for violin and piano


for three percussionists, 8m


for piano trio

Seven Haiku

for soprano, guitar, harp and accordion

Shadow Music

for tape, 8m

Shpasik (Funny)

for klezmer band

Shtiklekh (Morsel)

for flute/piccolo, soprano saxophone and piano

Silence Greets the Dawn

for vocalising percussionist, 6m


for string orchestra, 13m


for computer generated tape, 7m

Sleep O Beloved

for four female voices and percussion, 15m

Space Music

4m 14s


for electronics, 12m

St Stephen's Chorale and Variations

for organ, three trumpets and three trombones

String Quartet

for string quartet, 10m

String Quartet No. 5 (Songs from Childhood)

for string quartet, 9m 30s

Sunt lacrimae rerum

for cello and piano

Symphony No. 1

for orchestra

Symphony No. 2

for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, 31m

Symphony No. 3

for orchestra with accordion, 40m

Symphony No. 5

for alto voice and orchestra

Symphony No. 6, "Last Letter"

for soprano and orchestra


for electronics, 7m

Te Moanapouri

for cor anglais, harp and string orchestra, 7m

The Abiding Tides

for string quartet and soprano, 21m 59s

The Floating Bride, The Crimson Village

for soprano and orchestra, 18m

The Floating Bride, the Crimson Village

for soprano and piano, 18m

The Hills of Time

for orchestra, 12m

The Sleep of Reason....

for chamber sextet, 10m

There may be light

for clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Three Rilke Songs

for soprano, clarinet and harp, 10m

Three Sandcastle Songs

for voice and piano

To a Child

for tape, 12m

To the memory of I.S. Totzka

for soprano and chamber nonet, 20m


for SSAA choir


for flute, viola and harp, 6m

Trombone Opera

for trombone and mixed chamber ensemble


for piano, 13m

Variation 25 (String Quartet No. 4)

for string quartet, 8m

Viola and Piano

for viola and piano, 10m

Violin Concerto No. 1

for violin and orchestra, 23m 30s


for electronics, 12m

Voglenish (Wandering)

for klezmer band

Wananga i te rangi

for tape, 20m

Water Music

6m 21s

Wild Daisies

for mezzo-soprano and piano, 8m


for klezmer band

Zukhenish (Searching)

for klezmer band

Recordings (23)

Aurora Australis - CD


Brass Aotearoa - CD


Mahinarangi Tocker: The Mongrel In Me - CD

Nz recordings other genres

Resources (81)

Ross Harris' works for string quartet

Commentary or analysis

The Kugels - CD


Performances (5)

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra | Sweet Strings

__Schubert__ | String Quartet No.12 ‘Quartettsatz’ __Claire Cowan__ | Hansel and Gretel: Short...

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra | Sweet Strings

__Schubert__ | String Quartet No.12 ‘Quartettsatz’ __Claire Cowan__ | Hansel and Gretel: Short...

Opus Orchestra | Aotearoa Made (Hamilton)

2022 CONCERT SERIES 1 __Ross Harris - Chamber Symphony__ __Lyell Cresswell - Kaea (for Trom...

Opus Orchestra | Aotearoa Made (Tauranga)

2022 CONCERT SERIES 1 __Ross Harris - Chamber Symphony__ __Lyell Cresswell - Kaea (for Trom...

Opus Orchestra | Aotearoa Made (Rotorua)

2022 CONCERT SERIES 1 __Ross Harris - Chamber Symphony__ __Lyell Cresswell - Kaea (for Trom...