Christopher Norton at Otago University Music Department, Dunedin, New Zealand 8th October 2012
Dunedin is my old home-town – I went to school there (Otago Boys High 1966-1969) and did my first music degree there from 1970 to 1974. And I met my wonderful wife there, also a music student. So it was with great pleasure that I agreed to give a talk about my life and work to students and staff of the music department at Otago University.
The present head of the music department was there – Graeme Downes. He is in a very impressive Dunedin band, The Verlaines (www.theverlaines.co.nz) and is an expert on both rock music and Mahler!
The person who invited me was Anthony Ritchie (www.anthonyritchie.co.nz), an associate professor in the department, and a very fine composer himself. His works number over a hundred, and include three symphonies, two operas, seven concertos, choral works, chamber music and solo works.
Also present were three generations of my family – my 85-year old mother (still bemused after all these years by what I do!) my younger sister and her daughter Jessie, who is a composition student in the department currently.
The students and staff were given a brief description of my life as a composer, including my beginnings in Dunedin as a schoolboy writer under the watchful eye of Rosemary Miller and later in the department with Jack Speirs and Don Byars. I had lots of video clips and played as well and I think it was deemed to be a stimulating, even enlightening session. Here are some of the fresh-faced and eager audience members:
And a French horn player who played in my Octagon Overture (see my blog about this event at www.christophernorton.blogspot.co.uk) is pictured here. And yes, that’s my mother on the left..
The current Mozart fellow, (www.otago.ac.nz/otagofellows/mozart.html )Robbie Ellis (www.robbie.co.nz) was also there and quizzed me about whether a full-time composer might have to be really a part-time composer and a part-time marketing person (I agreed!) He played some duets very nicely with me.
Thanks to Anthony Ritchie and the students and staff for providing such a warm welcome – I hope to keep in touch with you all!
CN Christchurch, New Zealand 9th October 2012