GARETH FARR (b 1968 )
Composer, percussionist—and drag queen—Gareth Farr is an indisputably colourful figure in New Zealand music, and, whether scored for percussion duet or the resources of two large orchestras, his music reflects his personality—bold, brash, or delicate and sensuous, but inevitably, immediately engaging. He was born in Wellington in 1968, studied composition, orchestration and electronic music at Auckland University and was a regular player with the Auckland Philharmonia and the Karlheinz Company. Further study followed at Victoria University, Wellington, where he became known for his exciting compositions, often using the Indonesian gamelan. He played frequently as a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra before going to the Eastman School in Rochester, New York, where he took the degree of Master of Music. At 25 he became Chamber Music New Zealand’s youngest composer-in-residence. Since then, his works have been performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Wellington Sinfonia, the New Zealand String Quartet and a variety of other professional musicians. Gareth Farr is recognized as one of New Zealand’s most important composers. His From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs had its première at the NZSO’s Fiftieth Anniversary Gala Concert in March 1997. (Part I of this work was given its première under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner with the NZSO in 1996).
– Marc Grauwels