People - New Zealand

 

This is a list of some of the many people, friends and teachers (but not including family) who have helped me musically over the years. (work in progress: up to 1983)


1.    Luc van der Kaay.


During my time at the university in Wellington I spent the long summer holidays working on the Wellington wharves doing a variety of jobs, by far the best of which was driving a tractor, bringing goods to and fro between the ships and the sheds. It was here that I met Luc, a Dutchman about 10 years my senior. He spent his winters in the mountains skiing and teaching skiing and the summers as a tally clerk on the wharves. For the first time in my life I was speaking to someone who was really versed in classical music. He had a huge collection of records (LPs), which his mother sent him from Europe and which he was happy to lend to me. Because both our jobs involved a lot of waiting, we could often talk together for long periods undisturbed. He knew all the Beethoven symphonies, which I loved and also the Brahms symphonies, which I was keen to get to know. He talked of the Beethoven 8th as his skiing symphony and whistled the opening theme, a theme, which has remained as our family call ever since. He also knew the late Beethoven quartets, which I had just read about in Huxley’s “Point Counterpoint” and lent me the records of them. He had also got to know Monteverdi madrigals through Steinbeck’s character “Doc” and so I learnt some of these too. When I bought a recording of Stravinski’s L’histoire du Soldat and couldn’t make much sense of it, he listened with me and said: (although it was new to him) “I think you could come to like this”. Shortly afterwards he returned to Europe and in 1966 when I came here for the first time, I could stay with him in Leysin, Switzerland, and we took up our music conversations again as if they had never stopped. I told him in my hesitant way how I wanted to study music in Italy and in Germany and that my first objective was to study these languages. “I don’t know how you think you’re going to learn Italian and German” he said, “you’re not even fluent in English”.

This was 1966 and new drugs (eg. LSD) were starting to appear in Europe. Luc was interested in a scientific sort of way and had asked a visitor to Club Vagabond where he lived to acquire him some which he did: it came in the form of a sugar cube. At the same time he often worked closely together with the local police - because of the many foreigners visiting Leysin and because Luc was fluent in English, French and German he was an important interpreter for them. Now he received a visit from the local constable saying that they had heard that drugs were in circulation and that he should please keep a look out and inform them if he saw anything suspicious. Luc said that he had also heard that LSD was around and that it was often disguised to look like a cube of suger - so saying, he picked up the very cube had received the day before. The policeman thanked him profusely for his help! Some days later I agreed to sit with him while he tested the drug. We sat opposite one another for several hours while he talked about what he was experiencing until he finally went to sleep. I still hear his words: this could be very dangerous - one has the felling one can walk out of the window and fly.

He often made fun of my passion for ordering the music I was listening to - according to composers and period. Years later when we were living in Christchurch he sent me a parcel of 5 kilos of records from East Europe, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to read the labels and would have to listen without ordering! But I couldn’t change. I worked out that they were early classical composers from the Mannheim School and so was able to keep them in my poor head.

Luc was homosexual and only towards the end of his life did he find a permanent friend: René. We met them for the last time in 1981 changing planes in Amsterdam. Six years later (in his early 60s) he died suddenly of a heart attack, no doubt as a result of his predilection for unfiltered Gitanes. He remains as the person who taught me most about classical music - without even trying!


2.     Douglas Lilburn


He was my harmony teacher briefly at the beginning of my music studies. I had already completed my maths degree and so came to the music department with considerably more listening background than the rest of the students and had already had some pieces performed in the music department while a maths student. Douglas had an aura of great sensitivity for me and also a friendliness that made me feel his door was always open if I wanted to show him what I had written. He would play my pieces through on the piano and question this and that – I was always impressed at how this great composer took my immature attempts so seriously. Later, after I had had my “Reading Gaol” performed at the Cambridge Music School, he looked at the score and arranged for it to be recorded by the then National Orchestra under John Hopkins.


3.     Frederick Page


He was professor of the music department and my teacher for music history. He was also a brilliant pianist and a provocateur par excellence. He would, for example, ostentatiously stand up and leave a concert if he thought it was substandard. And he was always ready to talk and to defend his extreme ideas. Often after class we would get into wonderful friendly arguments: I adored Brahms and he did not, I owed almost all I knew to records and he was against records (although he used them in class!). One day we met by chance in the corridor and he stopped and said: “I shall be playing Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata for friends at lunchtime tomorrow. You may come if you like.” I was very honoured to be included among his friends, not to mention the chance to hear one of the high-points of the piano literature.


4.     Ron Tremain


Ron was my teacher in the composers’ group for the first three times that I visited the Cambridge Music School – a summer school where one lived music non stop for a fortnight. In my first year (Jan. 1959) he was shocked at the general ignorance about contemporary music of those in the group and so spent the afternoons teaching us about Stravinsky, Bartók and Schönberg, including the latter’s system for writing 12-tone music. For the second year I was much better prepared: even before the school started I had written to him about the work I was planning: “Reading Gaol” and he arranged for a good student bass to sing the solo part, Nelson Wattie But arranging for my piece to be performed was by no means easy. It meant rearranging the orchestral program, something which Ron fought for behind the scenes. In many ways this performance was one of the most musically moving experiences of my life. When it was later played “professionally” by the National Orchestra I was deeply depressed, not because it was badly done, but because the emotional character of that first performance at the music school was gone, now it was only important to get all the notes right!

The following year I came with a setting of Dylan Thomas’s: “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” for baritone and percussion ensemble. For Nelson Wattie, who again sang the solo part this was very difficult because I was now trying my hand at dodecaphonic music and was expected to conduct it myself. No sooner was it finished than a very British voice from the audience called out: “Could we hear that again?” It was James Robertson, the new conductor of the National Orchestra who was visiting for the day. We were happy to comply and played it through a second time – this time it sounded like a different piece!


5.     Larry Pruden


My last 2 years at the summer school were with Larry Pruden. He was quite different from Ron Tremain but every bit as helpful. He had trained as a timpanist and had had considerable orchestral experience as a player, conductor and as a composer. To him I owe performances of my “Othello Overture” (now lost) and the “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” with Marjorie Dumbleton as soloist. This latter work I could use as part of the folio of works for my music degree, which I finished in Christchurch while teaching at Linwood High School.


6.     Alec Loretto


Alec is also a friend from Cambridge days. He was there as a teacher in the early music department and lived during the rest of the year just north of Christchurch where he taught primary school during the week and recorder at the School of Instrumental Music on Saturdays. It was here that we met again where I was employed as a clarinet teacher. For the last two trips to the Cambridge Music School, he and I decided to travel with a group from Christchurch, hiring a van in Wellington. In the school grounds each set up his own tent around a central place where we cooked and ate together. Among the people in this group were Philippa Harding, Robin Perks and Jenny McLeod.

Alec and I lost contact for many years. In the mean time he made a name for himself building historical instruments: harpsichords and recorders and then in the 90s, after his wife had died after years of suffering with Parkinson’s disease, he started touring the world lecturing people on how to correct the tuning of their wind instruments and on other historical subjects. In this context he met a Swiss lady whom he used to visit frequently and we started to see him again. It was on one of these visits that he heard: Innere Stimmen Robert Schumanns at a performance in Lucerne. The idea for this work came from the choir conductor Peter Siegwart who wanted to perform Schumann’s Mass with interruptions in which his mental sickness would be shown. A lot has been written recently about Schumann’s last years in Düsseldorf, the suicide attempt and his time in the mental hospital and also of how in the time leading up to these events, he would suddenly freeze for several minutes during rehearsals. In Peter Siegwart’s performance he wanted electronic music to sound during these interruptions, as if one could hear what had been going on in Schumann’s head. All this went according to plan and then quite unexpectedly Alec turned up at this Lucerne performance. He told me later, the performance had been good, but not intense enough. He knew of course what it was like to have nursed someone with a severe mental disturbance.

   

    6.    The Staff of the Linwood High School


I was here from 1962-65 and from 1968-75. At the beginning I met Don McAra, Rod Harries, and Ian Bamford, people who are still very important friends. During the first period the music in the school was managed exclusively by Brian Barrett, a brilliant pianist, singer, conductor, timpanist - in short a very sensitive and capable all round musician. Although one had the feeling he would have been much more at home at the university, he never found a place there, and he never complained about having to teach class music - something which would have driven me mad. Occasionally I visited his classes with my clarinet and he also performed my setting of Psalm 8 with his University Singers. During my two years in Europe 1966/67 he left Linwood for a job in Perth. I was never to see him again - he was there for only a short time before he died of cancer and his wife, Mary, and three children had to return to Christchurch without him.


When I returned to Linwood in 1968 a young lady teacher had been appointed to replace Brian. Suddenly those of us who knew anything about music realised what an impossible job he had been expected to do. Because Brian had been such a formidable musician nobody would ever have dared offering to help him. But with this new lady we had no inhibitions. I offered to form a choir, Lester Davison a brass band and Rod Harries and I planned a new Hymn book which would be used in the assemblies. Don McAra had left to join the Teachers College and had been replaced by John Kim, a theatre man whose business had gone bankrupt. There was also a clever new art teacher, Gavin Bishop, and so with all these new strengths we planned our version of Total Theatre.


These were very busy and intensive years for me writing music for total theatre. The first was The Odyssey, a two hour long work in which all the wanderings of Odysseus were shown in a 40 minute mime sequence to the accompaniment of orchestra choir and soloists. The next year we read the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, studied the Bayeux Tapestry and created a piece around the events of 1066: “Harold and William”. The following year the team was enlarged by the arrival of Graeme Tetley who suggested a setting of Grimmelshausen’s Simplicius Simplicissimus. Here I tried involving the pupils with writing some of the music, something which was even more time-consuming than writing it myself. However I was to learn a lot in the process: Norrie Gibson, a student, had the job of writing a piece for Simplicius’ awakening after he’d been sewn into a fool’s costume. His piece was for girls' chorus and it required them to sing clusters. We talked about giving each of the girls a chime bar with their note (each girl sang only one note in the whole piece - but a different one from all the others) but finished up giving them tuned pipes - off-cuts of plastic down-pipe which resonated with their note. I later used similar pipes for the Royal Chch Musical Society in my Ever-Circling Light -Te Ao Hurihuri. Without Norrie's influence this work would have been quite different and not as good.

The next big total theatre piece was Akhnaton. The basic idea came from Rod Harries who had been studying comparative religion and was fascinated by this first attempt at monotheism in ancient Egypt. Helping behind the scenes of this production was a new science teacher: Philip Woollaston.


   7.    Barry Williams


While still a student at the Teachers College I met Bunty Johnson, music teacher at Lincoln High School where I was sent “on section”. She felt rather remote from musical civilisation and pounced on anyone who might share her interest in music. She had already pounced on Barry Williams and so through her I met him. Later I found that he was a good friend of the Woollaston family and so our connection to Philip and Chan Woollaston and to his parents, Toss and Edith was reinforced. Barry had been appointed lecturer in charge of Extension Studies at the University of Canterbury which as far as I could see meant: Adult Education. Apart from organisation of courses in all possible fields he also found time to offer some music lectures which he himself gave. One of these was on Haydn. Up till this point I had not been a special Haydn fan but because Barry was giving it I went along. There was a class of 5 people: Bunty and her daughter signed up and I took with me two people from Linwood: Marie Lockey and Graeme Humphrey, a pupil who was in my class and later went on to study piano in London at the Royal Academy and has stayed there as a teacher ever since. For the next month or so every Saturday morning was devoted to Haydn and it was so good that I was not only turned into a Haydn fan but I even felt I was something of a Haydn specialist. I certainly wanted to visit the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, something which I sadly have not yet achieved.


As I got to know Barry better it was clear that he was not just interested in the classical period but was keenly interested in New Music and has been ever since a faithful supporter of my work.


   8.    Guy Jansen


I first met Guy in the composers’ group at Cambridge in 1959 although I have no recollection of ever having heard a piece of his. Later he turned up as head of the music department at the Christchurch Teachers College. His special strength was in organising. Here he organised a new School Certificate syllabus for music and then a series of books to support it. He asked me to write the one on form or “Musical Design” as it was called. The series of books was published by Reed Education and was used in the NZ schools for many years. My book was illustrated by Gavin Bishop. Guy also published a booklet of mine for the University Entrance syllabus. He left this job at the Teachers College at the end of 1974 to go into the inspectorate and his place was taken by his colleague Frank Dennis. Shortly afterwards I was appointed to Frank’s old job.


   9.     The Staff of the Christchurch Teachers College


The last theatre piece that I worked on at Linwood was my comic opera The Fisherman and his Wife (Grimm: Von dem Fischer un syner Fru). The text was written by Graeme Tetley and it could well have been produced at Linwood had it not been for the “piss pot”, the word used by the wife, Ilsebill, for their hovel. This was not Graham’s invention, it was taken from the original Grimm’s text. But it didn’t please Jim Orman, the headmaster, and so the work was put on ice. In the mean time Jim had decided (not because of the piss pot I think––he actually seemed to like me) that it would be better for my development as a teacher if I were transferred to the Teachers College. So it was that I finished the comic opera in my first few months at this new institution (where I had very little else to do!) and the production was helped by lots of old and new friends, notably Don McAra as producer, Michael Harlow in the chorus, Rod Harries in the lighting box, and my new music colleague, Frank Dennis, who helped train the choir.


I was a lecturer in the music department for training secondary school teachers - i.e. for training young people to be class music teachers, something that I had never done myself! My main trainees were those who chose music as their “second major”. At the same time I had good contact with the first majors and it was often with these people that I was able to carry out special projects: The players for The Ever-circling Light, Devotion to the Small, Piece of 4, Texts for Composition and for the Metal Orchestra. This last was a suggestion of the then student, Philip Norman, that I should create an orchestra out of found metal objects and together with a few students perform an improvised piece at the Ilam University on “open day”. The day itself was terrible although the 10 minute piece we played was very good, but we had to play it just once every hour on the hour and in between the hoards of visiters who streamed through were allowed to beat hell out of our wonderful instruments. Out of this metal collection (which came from the railway workshops) grew my interest in music from found objects. By this time I was involved with the creative music group for the Primary Schools’ Music Festival. The metal orchestra became a sort of Gamalan for a piece the children made to shadow puppets created and performed by Don McAra’s students. Each year after this I used a different set of found objects with the children for the festival: wood, glass, stones . . .  and each year I was helped by my “old” Linwood Colleague, Lester Davison.


There was a gap of 18 months while I was on leave in Switzerland returning for two last years: 1982/83.

In these two years there were several important performances including The Ever-Circling Light, Christophorus and a repeat of Piece of 4. Although I had very little professional contact with the primary department they were all very friendly people, especially John Emeleus and Ian Dando. I have John to thank for the success of Christophorus. He and his team took over the complete organisation of recruiting choir and orchestra and while I trained the latter he rehearsed with the children’s choir and soloists. Don McAra projected the slides which ran parallel to the music throughout but which, I as conductor, never saw properly!


  10.    Jack Body


In the late 70s I became secretary of the composers organisation CANZ and had to visit Wellington for meetings. By this time my father had left Wellington and so I was delighted when Jack invited me to stay at his place. I came to know him as one of the most original of New Zealand’s composers and one who did more than any other for furthering NZ music. Thanks to Jack my group of performers of Piece of 4 could visit and perform in Wellington. Also the orchestral settings of poems by Michael Harlow Les Episodes was performed in the Sonic Circus of 1987 in Wellington. Here Jack not only found the soloists and accompanist for them to rehearse with, he also organised the costumes that they wore. Jack was also the editor of Waitiata Press Music Editions in which several of my works have been published: Three Chance Pieces plus One, Snakes and Ladders, Piano Poems. The latter was superbly performed (through Jack’s organisation) by Daniel Poynten. Since we live in Switzerland we meet less often. One memorable time was however when we met in Donaueschingen for the famous contemporary music festival.


11.    Gennie de Lange


Gennie is not a music friend but she and her family had an important influence on the cultural life of our family. The Powells met the Donalds (Gennie’s married name) through Fiona and Stephanie who were school friends. Gennie, the potter and painter, wanted to teach her own children about her art and decided it was best done by forming a small class of 5 or 6 children which would meet in her pottery each Saturday morning. Philip and Fiona were invited to take part and so in return I offered a class where hers and our children would play music together and also create their own pieces. This took place every Wednesday afternoon when a viola student of mine (Margaret Hunt) from the Teachers College also came and gave lessons to the three string players in the group. This idyllic situation lasted only a year before we left for my “sabbatical” leave in 1980. But in this short time wonderful sculptures, tile pictures and music pieces were created, culminating in an exhibition in the CSA gallery and a concert at the Teachers Training College.

Gennie also designed the wonderful cover page for The Ever-Circling Light.


  12.    Ian Dando


Ian was much better known to me as a critic for the newspaper than as a Teachers College colleague and as such I have a lot to thank him for.  Not only was he well informed, he was brutally honest. On days when I had a performance that he was to write about and we met by chance in the corridor, he hardly spoke to me and I would have to wait until the day after to read his judgement in the “Star”. In general he was always very supportive of what I did but at the same time he wouldn’t hesitate to criticise. See Ian’s criticism of The Ever-Circling Light ”.

Looking back on this time in New Zealand I can honestly say that I was never so well served by critics as then. After every premiere I could count on at least two independent reviews in the daily papers. Ian was without a doubt the best informed of these when it came to writing about contemporary music, but there were other very high quality critics including Philip Norman, all of whom made an absolutely important contribution to the cultural life of the city.


  13.    Ian Whalley


Ian was a music student at the Teachers College in 1983. He was always ready to take part in whatever I suggested and at the same time was good at organising his fellow students to participate in his own projects. He was a timpanist in the percussion accompaniment for The Ever-circling Light and he managed the electronics for Piece of 4. After teaching school music for some years he took up a post at the music department of the University of Waikato where he published two of my tape pieces: Dapple Metal and Contrasts as part of the series New Zealand Sonic Art Vol. II & III.


People - Europe


14.    Willi Gohl


In 1980 I was granted a year’s leave without pay to study teaching musical creativity from the Christ-church Teachers College. We wanted to live with our Swiss relations, especially to be able to help Brigitte’s mother who was now looking after her husband in his old age. I also applied to the Queen Elizabeth Arts Council which gave me a small grant and at the interview I met again after many years Peter Godfrey who said that in Switzerland I must try to contact Willi Gohl. Willi was not only an excellent choral conductor, he was director of the Conservatory in Winterthur (Canton Zürich).

When we arrived I enrolled in a continuing education course at this conservatory during which I met Willi and asked him if I could sing in his choir (Der Singkreis Zürich) while we were in Switzerland. He agreed immediately and through this activity I was to learn a lot of new repertoire, including many folk songs (which the choir seemed to know by heart) and especially his way of handling a choir which was very different from what I had known in NZ. As well as this I got to know many people in the choir personally including a school teacher, Bruno Straub, who took me with his class on a bicycle tour of Switzerland!

           
  1. This year’s leave was later extended till the end of 1981 so that we could help Brigitte’s mother look after Brigitte’s ageing father who died during this year. In 1983 after our return to Chch the Teachers College started a reduction of staff, to be effected by early retirements. To make this process fair for all staff, it was decided that anybody could elect to retire even if he or she were too young for normal retirement. We had long thought of living in Switzerland and so here suddenly was the opportunity to make it financially possible: I would have to withdraw my superannuation payments but there was to be a so-called “golden handshake” for early retirees. Brigitte was apprehensive, because most of the burden of our survival in Switzerland would depend on her finding a good job there. The children however, who had enjoyed their time in Swiss schools in 1980/81 were excited about the idea.


Shortly before we were to leave Christchurch to live in Switzerland the phone rang: “Willi Gohl, Winterthur, Switzerland: can I speak to Brigitte!” Because I had kept in contact with people from the Singkreis, Willi had heard of our plans. Now suddenly he needed a new secretary and because of his many contacts outside Switzerland, he needed someone fluent in English. He offered her this job and so our future seemed to be secure! Soon after we had settled in with Brigitte’s mother in Bülach we went to meet Willi in Winterthur. He showed Brigitte her office and introduced us to the rest of the administrative team and then said that he was considering reducing his own teaching load and would I like to take over 5 or 6 hours of teaching a week. Naturally I was delighted although as I was to find, it came before I had really time to prepare myself for such a job: not only had I never taught music at this level before (my Teachers College students had already graduated and the school pupils at Linwood just beginning) but I had to learn all the technical musical language in German. This latter was complicated by the fact that for some German terms there was no exact English equivalent and vice versa. However I was encouraged to visit the other theory teachers at the conservatory and obverse them working.

Willi had another reason for employing us both: the school was planning a trip for all the students to visit London. Brigitte and I would have to go there in advance to make all the contacts (music schools, recording studios, concert halls and places for student accommodation). Fortunately I was able to contact Graeme Humphrey, who taught at the Royal Academy of Music and so through him we were able to get away to a good start. Then during the Autumn holidays we went again with the whole school - an unforgettable experience.

At the end of this year (1984) a permanent job as theory teacher became available. I applied but it went to the Swiss composer Hans Wüthrich, who was obviously much better equipped for the job. As a consolation I was offered a position as theory teacher for the “musikalische Früherziehung (early musical education - for those preparing to teach young children) which department was run by Walter Baer (see below). I accepted gladly and stayed in this department until my retirement 20 years later. Willi however did not stay in his job for many years, he was anxious to retire early and have more time for his activities as a conductor. He was succeeded by Fritz Näf whose needs for an English/German speaking secretary were not great and so Brigitte moved to the ETH where her language abilities were essential.


  1. 15.    Walter Baer


I have most to thank the Swiss composer Walter Baer for his connecting me with the right people. During my sabbatical leave from the Teachers College in 1980 I was to study “creativity in music teaching”. Brigitte’s sister, Gudrun, was a flute teacher at the Zurich Conservatory and introduced me to Walter who was in charge of teacher training. I could sit in on his classes and I could follow the members of these classes when they visited other teachers. One of these teachers was Gerald Bennett (see below), who taught composition to those students who were to become “Gymnasium” (= grammar school) teachers. Walter also arranged for me to visit Hans Egli (see below) who was the main music teacher at the Kantonsschule Zürcherunterland in Bülach where we were living.


  1. 16.    Hans Egli


Hans Egli was director of music at the Swiss grammar school in Bülach (Kantonsschule Zürcher-unterland). He was not only an excellent class-music teacher, he conducted the school choir, his own adult choir and played the organ at the Unterstrass church in Zürich. He was extremely open and trusting  -  I could take over his classes, or offer a course in composition and he gave me a commission for a piece for a “Sprechchor” for his school choir. This was Galgenlieder for spoken choir, piano, clarinet and percussion. The work was so successful that Hans sent it to the Pan Verlag and came with me to speak to the publisher Walter Keller. Herrr Keller has since died but the work is still in the catalogue of the Pan Verlag along with my “Musik für gefundenen Gegenständen” (Music with Found Objects) which I also wrote in this year. Not long after my regular visits started there he organised a concert of my music played by the school music teachers and after the summer holidays I was able to start my “Freifach” composition to which 4 or 5 students elected to attend, one of whom, André Fischer (see below), was especially talented and we have remained good friends ever since.

When we returned to Switzerland in 1984 my contact with the school was of a different sort: we were now parents of students of the school, Philip in the Diplom Mittelschule and Fiona throughout her whole secondary schooling. As she reached the end of her time there (1989) I wrote the Concerto for 2 Violins, Percussion and Strings which she played together with her violin teacher and the work was conducted by Ueli Fallet who also arranged for it to be performed at a concert of the Schweizerischer Tonkünstler-verein (Swiss Musicians Association) in Kreuzlingen.



  1. 17.   Gerald Bennett


Gerald and I met in 1980 as I was following the students from one of Walter Baer’s music classes. He told me later that he was so impressed with this particular group that he decided to share a commission he had from the Electroacoustic music studio in Bourges, France with them and write a collective piece. And since I was partly in this class he asked if I would like to come along too - which of course I would, very much! We all went twice to Bourges during 1981, once to get the feel of the studio and to gather ideas and then again to realise them. The first piece I wrote was “Piece of 4”, which although it interested Gerald he found it unsuitable for the concept which was to tear the various pieces of each of the group members apart and then stitch them together again in a collage. So my second piece was Krähenalles, a work for flute (later played by a clarinet) and tape based on a poem of the same name by our nephew Renaud Racine. The final piece was assembled and very successfully performed after our return to NZ.

By the time we had returned to Switzerland in 1984 Gerald (together with Bruno Spoerri) had founded the Computer Music Centre in Oetwil am See which offered courses and organised concerts in this new form of electroacoustic music. I attended a number of courses here, each time composing a new piece. The first was Nelson Songs (Harlow texts - Michael was actually here on visited the Centre where his voice was recorded for the second song). Then followed Chinese Songs (performed several times by Franziska Staehelin, soprano and singing teacher colleague from the musikalische Früherziehung).

In 1987 Gerald suggested I do a course in the Paris studio of UPIC (founded by the Greek composer Xenakis). He felt that the basic idea of the UPIC machine, that one drew directly onto the computer screen (wave forms, dynamic curves, pitch and duration, overall form) would appeal to my visual approach to composition. I was indeed especially delighted with the possibilities of this computer machine and would gladly have continued with it, but so far I have never seen the promised UPIC for private computer. I wnet to the course armed with Kokoschka’s picture Flötenspieler und Fledermäuse and also with recordings of bat song (slowed down so that it could be heard be humans). All this material I was able to use and returned with the tape for my piece Flötenspieler und Fledermäuse which was premièred by the flautist Heinrich Keller and later played several times by Dominique Hunziker (see below).

In the years that followed we kept in regular contact and I was often asked to take part in the concerts of the Computer Music Centre, the Centre moved to the Zurich Conservatory and its courses became part of the normal conservatory program.

In 2005 the Centre was reorganised as the ICST (Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology), still connected with the Music Conservatory but as part of the new ZHdK (Zurich University of the Arts). Here Gerald could develop his special interests (Ambisonics - 3D sound propagation, among other things) and was able to engage some of the people he himself had trained: Martin Neukom, Peter Färber, Johannes Schütt, etc. and was even able to find a niche for me as English teacher which ensured regular contact for a few years until his retirement.


  1. 18.   André Fischer

André was a pupil at the Kantonsschule in Bülach when we first met in 1980. He joined my composition class and took part in the two concerts we had. The first concert contained a work using 12-tone technique with contributions from all the class. This, unbeknown to me, caused great consternation among the other music teachers, who apparently didn’t regard it as music at all. The second concert, at the end of 1981 and just before our return to NZ, was a more ambitious work Christophorus. It was a Christmas cantata, scored for children’s choir, baritone and wind orchestra. The work was much too much for most of the pupils and so it finished up being composed by just André and myself. The  school was incredibly helpful: they not only put their wind players and youth choir at our disposal they also found the baritone soloist and arranged for an audience from the surrounding primary schools. André conducted his sections and I mine and the whole project was remarkably successful.

Back in NZ I heard occasionally from him by mail, that he had been granted special tuition in composition by Hans Ulrich Lehmann, the director of the Zurich conservatory at which institution he later studied (under  Gerald Bennett for music theory). When we returned to Switzerland he was near the end of his studies which he followed up with further studies in the USA.

In 1990 he was back in Switzerland and among other activities was conductor of two wind bands, one in Thalwil and the other in Effretikon. He


19.    Dominik Blum


20.    Dominique Hunziker


21.    Juri Sobelev