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Red Contributor


Kit Powell

Composer, Performer

Small kit powell

Biography

Born 1937 in Wellington Kit Powell met Brigitte, his Swiss wife, while studying in Europe in 1966/67. Since 1984 the Powell family live in Switzerland. He has an MSc (in maths) from Victoria University of Wellington and a B Mus (Hons) from Canterbury University. He taught maths and music at Linwood High School, Christchurch, and also composed music for a series of 5 total theatre productions. In 1975 he joined the staff of the Christchurch Teachers College where he met the poet Michael Harlow and started the first of nearly 20 works in collaboration with him. He was also active teaching courses on New Music and Creative Music with children. Since living in Switzerland he has taught music theory at the Conservatory in Zurich and English privately. In 2003 he retired from teaching but is still very active composing.

Important influences in his development as a composer in NZ are the contact with Douglas Lilburn as a student, the visits to the Cambridge Music School in the early 60s (tutors Ron Tremain and Larry Pruden) and in Europe courses at the Accademia Chigiana, Siena (Goffredo Petrassi), Darmstadt Course for New Music (Karlheinz Stockhausen) and training in computer music (Gerald Bennett) in Zurich and on the UPIC machine (Iannis Xenakis) in Paris.

His works include compositions in all fields of music: choral (sung and spoken), orchestral, chamber music, brass band, percussion, music theatre, electroacoustic. His special interests in composition include the use of chance techniques and also music with found objects. Many works have been written for his two children, Philip (trombone) and Fiona (soprano).

Although he has lived in Europe for well over 30 years, he has never lost his strong feelings for New Zealand, its land and its inhabitants. Bird and whale song are often important features of his music, and works like Tide Pools and Kapiti- show his affection for New Zealand seascapes. In his _Māui Cycle, in addition to the birdsong, one also hears many fragments of traditional Māori music.

Since retirement Kit Powell has composed a number of large scale works: Missa Profana (a setting of the liturgical mass plus poems by Michael Harlow) for large choir, soloists and orchestra, Māui Cycle (four symphonic poems for orchestra and solo clarinet), Symphonie réflectique, for two soloists and orchestra, Schubert 1828, a symphony based on themes from works from Schubert’s last year of life, using the same orchestra as in the Schubert E flat Major Mass plus electroacoustic sounds. He has also written a dual language book about his work as a composer: Quite by Chance / Wie durch Zufall (Pfau-Verlag—also available at SOUNZ).


Composed (96)

4 Carols on 4 Notes

for SATB choir


6 Fragments for 4 Trombones

for trombone quartet


A Shout - for the Life and Work of William Cumming

for women's chorus, soprano soloist and piano, 10m


Alles unter einem Hut

for soprano and piano


Alles unter einem Hut

for soprano and string orchestra


Amselbaum

for soprano and piano, 15m


Chance Piece for Flute and Tape

for flute (alto or bass) and tape, 7m 10s


Chance Piece for Oboe and Tape

for oboe and tape, 7m 10s


Chance Piece for Saxophone and Tape

for saxophone (baritone or bass) and tape, 7m 10s


Chinese Songs

for high soprano and tape, 16m


Christophorus

for baritone, children's chorus, wind orchestra and percussion, 45m


Clarinet Quintet

for clarinet and string quartet, 20m


Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Percussion

for two violins and chamber orchestra, 25m


Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

for violin and orchestra, 20m


Contrasts

electroacoustic, 7m


Credo

for organ


Credo

for organ and tape, 5m 47s


Dapple Metal

electroacoustic work, 9m


Das Ausland

for soprano and trombone


Das Ausland

for soprano, bass clarinet and percussion


Devotion to the Small

for soprano and five percussionists, 12m


Dies Irae

for children's (or women's) voices and piano, 10m


Due movimenti per quattro strumenti

for piano, piccolo, clarinet and cello


Encounter with Don Giovanni

for orchestra, 7m


Father's Telescope

for singer, speaker and tape about power and submission, 15m


Five Schwitters Songs for Andres

for soprano, alto and piano


Floetenspieler und Fledermaeuse

for solo flute and tape, 6m


Four Rothko Pictures

for piano duet


Francesca e Paolo (SATB)

for SATB choir, with STB soloists from the choir, 10m


Galgenlieder

for solo speaker, spoken and sung chorus and instruments, 15m


Hubert the Clockmaker

for brass band and narrator, 10m


Hubert the Clockmaker

for orchestra and narrator


Kapiti

for piano solo


Koauau

for flute ensemble, 10m


Korimako

for flute and piano


Kraehenalles

for flute (or clarinet) and tape, 14m


Kuza Nama

for baritone and piano, 11m


Les Episodes

for soprano, baritone and orchestra, 25m


Let all words be music

for SATB choir, trombone and piano


Metamorphoses

for brass quartet, 6m


Microzoic Piano Suite

for baritone and ensemble, 25m


Missa Profana

for choir, orchestra and soloists, 1h 10m


Nelson Songs

for male singer and tape, 12m


Nothing but Switzerland and Lemonade

for singer, flute, violin and cello


Nothing but Switzerland and Lemonade

for soprano and wind trio, 12m


Ophelia Songs

for soprano (or mezzo soprano) and piano, 11m


Othello Overture

for orchestra


Paper Pieces

for SATB choir, 10m


Piano Poems

for solo piano, 20m


Piece of 4

for four players, 45m


Piece of Four

for four players, 45m


Pied Beauty

for SATB choir and instrumental ensemble, 3m


Poem Then, For Love

for two singers and percussionist, 20m


Psalm 8

for SATB choir, 5m


Reading Gaol

for baritone and orchestra, 11m


Rothko Variations

for orchestra, 16m


Salmagundi

for brass ensemble and percussion


Sanctus

for SATB choir and orchestra, 3m


Schubert 1828

for orchestra and pre-recorded audio


Seven Aesop Fables

for guitar, 15m


Sextett

for clarinet, bass clarinet and string quartet


Sextett

for flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion


Six Mother Courage Songs

for soprano and piano, 10m


Six Mother Courage Songs

for soprano and harp


Snakes and Ladders

for cello and piano, 6m


Sonatina

for trombone and piano, 8m


Stone Poem

for two wind quintets and two speakers with stones, 10m


Stone Poem

for clarinet and tape, 8m


Suite for Solo Trombone

for trombone, 8m


Te Ika a Maui

for clarinet and orchestra, 10m


Ten Duos for Two Celli

for two celli, 15m


Texts For Composition

music theatre for about 5 players, 50m


The Ever-Circling Light: Te Ao Hurihuri

for SATB choir and 6 percussionists, 30m


The Fisherman and his Wife

a comic opera, 1h 15m


The Green Man

music theatre piece for solo percussionist, 8m


The Pink Panther's Picnic

for brass band and SATB chorus


Three Pieces for Violin and Piano

for violin and piano


Tide Pools

for SATB choir, piano, small percussion, 8m


Today is the Piano's Birthday

for trombone and piano


Today is the Piano's Birthday

for female voice and piano


Verschiedene Tiere (Various Animals)

for soprano, piano and trombone


Verschiedene Tiere (Various Animals)

for soprano, horn and piano


Violin Concerto

for violin and orchestra, 19m


Vlaminck's Tie

for singer with piano, 20m


Was Liebe ist

for soprano and piano


Wedding Fanfare

for horn and organ


Whale

for trombone and tape, 10m


Whale

for SATB choir and tape, 10m


Whale Fantasy

for piano solo


Whale Song

for piano, 1m 30s