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Red Contributor

Robin Maconie

Composer, Performer

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Born: 1942


Born in Auckland, son of John Maconie, sub-editor and film critic of the New Zealand Listener (d. 1963) and Janet (nee McBride). Brought up and educated in Lower Hutt, attending Hutt Valley High School 1955-59. Studied piano with Christina Geel; school music teachers included Stanley Jackson and Peter Crowe, who encouraged his interest in composition. Attended Cambridge Summer Music Schools from 1957 to 1962, studying with Ron Tremain.

Maconie was active as a composer at Victoria University 1960-63 and encouraged by Frederick Page to pursue postgraduate study of contemporary music in Europe. As a student he also collaborated with Hamish Keith, later Tony Williams in creating scores for experimental short films, leading to the feature Runaway (1964) dir. John O'Shea, composed on study leave in Vienna. After a semester attending Messiaen's analysis class at the Paris Conservatoire, he moved to Cologne 1964-65 on a DAAD studentship, studying with Stockhausen, Eimert, Zimmermann, Aloys Kontarsky and others. Prior to the official inauguration of the Cologne Musikhochschule electronic studio, directed by Eimert, he produced "Metres" and "Fragments," some of the first electronic music to be composed by a New Zealander. Some of this music is incorporated in Pacific Films' "Who will be the Next Statistic," a 1966 road safety film.

His compositions reflect a broad interest in classical and contemporary issues. In 1984, having reached as far as he could go at the time with electronic, chance, and computer music, Maconie turned to the task of developing a new comprehensive approach to musical aesthetics, capable of reconciling the multiple ideologies of contemporary music, a goal including the production of music textbooks for New Zealand schools. He now looks forward to resuming full-time composing and is happy to respond to expressions of interest from individuals or groups. Robin Maconie is co-author of 'Stockhausen on Music' (1989) and author of 'The Concept of Music' (1990), 'The Science of Music' (1997), 'The Second Sense' (2002), 'Other Planets: the Music of Karlheinz Stockhausen' (2005), and 'The Way of Music' (2007). He returned to New Zealand in 2002 and lives in Dannevirke.

Composed (7)

Basia Memoranda

a song cycle for tenor and string quartet, 5m

Four-Part Invention

for piano, 2m

No Man is an Island

for speaker, soloists, choir, horn


for solo violin or other melody instrument, 10m


for string quartet

Three Pieces for Cello

For solo cello, 5m

Resources (2)

Canzona May 1982 vol 3 no 11

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