Trust Records
Gareth Farr

Gareth Farr is an indisputably colourful figure in New Zealand music. And whether scored for percussion duet or the resources of two large orchestras, Farr's music reflects his personality – bold, brash, or delicate and sensuous, but inevitably, immediately, engaging.

Recordings featuring Gareth Farr

Brass Aotearoa: New Zealand Brass Band Music
New music for brass band

MMT2049, Released 2003
Elusive Dreams: New Zealand Piano Music
New music for solo piano

MMT2010, Released 2000
Farr: Chamber Music
New instrumental works

MMT2020, Released 2000
Farr: Horizon
New piano music by Farr, solo and with cello & flute

MMT2070, Released 2012
Farr: Owhiro
New music for string quartet

MMT2019, Released 2000
Farr: Ruaumoko
New symphonic music by Farr

MMT2042, Released 2006
Farr: Sea Gongs
Classic symphonic works by Farr

MMT2021, Released 1997
Farr: Tangaroa
New Marimba Music, Solo and with Flute & Piano

MMT2058, Released 2008
Farr: Warriors From Pluto
Works for chamber orchestra by Farr

MMT2036, Released 2001
Island Song: Beautiful New Zealand Music
New Zealand music compilation

MMT2044, Released 2010
Spark: New Zealand Piano Trios
New Music for Piano Trio

MMT2066, Released 2005
Strike: New Zealand Percussion Music
New music for percussion ensemble

MMT2030, Released 2000
Waikohu: New Zealand Music
Traditional and new Waiata (Maori songs) & instrumental music

MMT2034, Released 2005


Gareth Farr was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He began his studies in composition and percussion performance at Auckland University. The experience of hearing a visiting gamelan orchestra prompted his return to Wellington to attend Victoria University, where the characteristic rhythms and textures of the Indonesian gamelan rapidly became hallmarks of his own composition. Farr continued with postgraduate study in composition and percussion at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where his teachers included Samuel Adler and Christopher Rouse.

In 1993, at the age of 25, Farr was appointed composer-in-residence by Chamber Music New Zealand, the youngest-ever composer to hold that position. This resulted in the composition of three substantial works, Owhiro (String Quartet No.1), Kebyar Moncar (for gamelan) and the chamber sextet Cadenza. At the conclusion of the residence, Farr returned to the Eastman School to begin a doctorate in composition. As well as composing Kembang Suling (for flute and marimba, his most popular work to date) and three works for orchestra during this time, Farr also introduced audiences to his on-stage alter ego, the percussion-playing drag queen Lilith Lacroix.

The inclusion of his works in four events at the 1996 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts – the ballet score for Douglas Wright’s Buried Venus, Lilith's Dream of Ecstasy, for orchestra, Kembang Suling, and the 'Bach-meets-Bali' piano solo Sepuluh Jari – kick-started his career as a dedicated freelance composer. Since then, his music has been heard at, or especially commissioned for high-profile events including the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (the 25-minute From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs), the opening of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa, for orchestra with soprano, tenor and karanga (indigenous New Zealand Maori chant), a work hailed as ‘music with a powerful and moving impact that transcends idiom and individual taste’), and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney (Hikoi, a concerto for percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the NZSO). Highlights in recent years include the commission by the 2003 Auckland Festival that resulted in Stone and Ice, Terra Incognita composed for bass Paul Whelan, the Orpheus Choir of Wellington and the NZSO. In 2006 Gareth was awarded the Order of New Zealand Merit, for his services to music and entertainment. In 2008-9, Farr was Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia.

Gareth Farr’s music is particularly influenced by his extensive study of percussion, both Western and non-Western. Rhythmic elements of his compositions can be linked to the complex and exciting rhythms of Rarotongan log drum ensembles, Balinese gamelan and other percussion music of the Pacific Rim.

In addition to his music for the concert chamber, Farr has written music for dance, theatre and television.

Related News

  Available Now: Gareth Farr: Horizon
  Album Spotlight, Gareth Farr: Ruaumoko

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