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Red Contributor

Alex Taylor

Arranger, Composer, Performer, Presenter

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Born: 1988


Alex Taylor is one of New Zealand’s leading young composers of orchestral and chamber music. His works have been featured in concerts in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, America and Europe, performed by groups such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and 175 East. As well as composing, Alex is a multi-instrumentalist, poet, critic, lecturer, conductor and impresario. He has performed across a range of vocal and instrumental genres, including as lead vocalist for the Blackbird Ensemble, as concertmaster for the Auckland Youth Orchestra on their European tour in 2011, and as the Sorceress in his own recomposition of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Frances Moore’s Unstuck Opera.

After studying English Literature and Music, Alex completed a Masters in Composition with First Class Honours under the Supervision of Eve de Castro-Robinson and John Elmsly in 2011. He has a special interest in the relationship between words and music, having set poetry by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Wallace Stevens, Stephanie Christie and Iain Sharp, among others. His choral work “two years later”, a setting of the great gay poet John Wieners, was performed by the New Zealand National Youth Choir and at the ISCM Musicarama Festival in Hong Kong. He has collaborated across art forms - for example with visual artist Michael Smither, and with theatre-maker and actor Renee Lyons. In 2012 Alex was the youngest recipient to date of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award, New Zealand’s most prestigious composition prize. He has since won a number of significant honours including the 2013 CANZ Trust Fund Award, and representing New Zealand at the 2014 Asian Composers League Festival in Tokyo.

Recent projects include a critically acclaimed Bassoon Concerto for Ben Hoadley and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and co-convening the 2014 and 2015 Nelson Composers Workshops. In the first half of 2015 he was the Caselberg Trust Creative Connections Artist in Residence in Broad Bay, Dunedin, creating work in response to the life and music of the late New Zealand composer Anthony Watson. Alex’s work burlesques mecaniques is featured on NZTrio’s most recent CD release, Lightbox. He is currently writing an opera based on David Herkt's The Last Delirium of Arthur Rimbaud.

Composed (47)


for piano, 5m


a mini viola concerto, 6m

[inner] arr. by Rhian Sheehan

Rhian Sheehan's arrangement for the 2012 Silver Scroll Awards

a coincidence of surfaces

for string quartet or octet

A Summoning

for concert band, 4m

an autumn cutting

for solo viola


brass fanfare, 2m 30s


for actor and orchestra, 9m

Bassoon Concerto

for bassoon and chamber orchestra


for orchestra, 8m

burlesques mécaniques

ten miniatures for piano trio, 11m


for solo piano, 10m


work for vocalising clarinetist, 9m 30s

eight miniatures for piano

for solo piano, 7m

eight pieces for wind quartet

for wind quartet, 9m


four movements for orchestra, 18m

fiend lyric

for solo viola, 5m


for mixed chamber sextet, 7m

four abstracts

for mixed chamber quintet, 11m

four landscapes

for string quartet, 11m


for orchestra


for solo viola, 9m

half patterns

for E flat clarinet and piano

Horn Concerto: hydraulic fracture

for horn and orchestra, 11m

loose knots

for solo bassoon


for bass clarinet, 7m


for two clarinets, 7m 30s

nine bagatelles

for bass clarinet and cello, 7m

Noughts and Crosses

for orchestra, 7m 45s

quasi concertino

for bassoon and string trio


for string quartet, 12m

seven bagatelles

for B flat clarinet, bassoon and piano, 9m

silk / gravel

for string orchestra, 8m

six pieces for orchestra

for orchestra, 7m

small loop

a miniature for violin, viola and bass clarinet, 40s

study of two pears

a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble, 17m

thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird

a song cycle for countertenor, clarinet in B flat, 2 violins, viola and cello, 20m

Three Endings

for violin and piano, 8m

three songs of iain sharp

for baritone and piano

Tiaho Mai

for soprano and string orchestra

two movements

for bass clarinet and viola, 5m

two years later

for 12-part male voice choir, 4m


for solo piano, 1m


for solo trumpet, 10m

Whakapiri mai

for gospel choir and orchestra, 8m


for string orchestra, 5m

Arranged (1)

R. Strauss: Four Lieder, arr. Taylor

arranged for violin, cello, piano and tenor by Alex Taylor