Celeste Oram (b. 1990) is a New Zealand composer who was born in Manhattan, learned to walk and talk in London, grew up in Auckland, and is presently based in Southern California.
Celeste's scored works investigate new media and strategies for musical notation: namely, video and audio scores. These works have been performed and recorded by ensembles including the Callithumpian Consort (Boston), wasteLAnd (Los Angeles), the Karlheinz Company (Auckland), the Intrepid Music Project (Auckland), and Three Shades Black (Melbourne), and presented at festivals including SICPP at the New England Conservatory, the soundSCAPE festival in Maccagno, Italy, and the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Older works for standard forces and notation have been performed and recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Song Company (Sydney). Celeste was the Auckland Philharmonia’s ‘Rising Star’ young composer-in-residence for 2013-14; her commissioned orchestral work macropsia was selected as a finalist in the 2014 SOUNZ Contemporary Award for excellence in New Zealand contemporary composition.
Another avenue of work is non-instrumental performance with audio and visual media; Celeste performed her solo piece O I at the 2016 Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music in Germany and was awarded the Kranichstein Prize for composition.
A third ongoing project is the renovation of histories of New Zealand music and sonic cultures. At present, this revolves around research into early 20th-century ham radio activity, and the figure of Vera Wyse Munro (1897-1966). This project is rapidly snowballing into an obsession with building re-creations of early radio circuits.
Celeste is currently pursuing a PhD in music composition at the University of California San Diego, where she completed an MA in 2016. She completed a BMusBA with first-class Honours at the University of Auckland in 2012, studying with Eve de Castro-Robinson, John Elmsly, and Leonie Holmes.
for solo piano
for mixed octet and fixed 8-channel audio, 11m
a pas-de-trois for cello, cellist, and dancer, 13m
a moving score for at least one each of violin, viola, cello, and double bass, 7m 30s
a moving score for solo violin or viola, 4m 40s
for violin, viola and percussion
for orchestra, 4m 45s
for voice and percussion, with live video, 8m
for violin, cello and piano
for orchestra and battery-powered FM radios.
a video score
for electric guitar, piano and marimba, with fixed AV media, 8m