Andrew Atkins

Assistant Conductor

Andrew Atkins has an MMA in Classical Performance Piano and a Graduate Diploma in Music specialising in Conducting from the NZ School of Music. He began his conducting studies under Kenneth Young in 2012 whilst completing his BMus in Classical performance piano. He was the principal conductor of Tawa Community Orchestra from 2014-2016. During his time with them he conducted successful performances of Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto (soloist Thomas Nikora) and Mozart piano concerto no. 20 in D minor (soloist Xing Wang), also Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, and Khachaturian’s Adagio from Spartacus. In August 2016 he conducted the Kapiti Concert Orchestra for their mid-season concert with oboe soloist Peter Dykes and has conducted the Manawatu Sinfonia in a November 2016 performance including Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major.

This year Atkins is part of the inaugural cohort of the new Masters in Fine Arts (Creative Practice) at Victoria University. He is studying film composition with John Psathas, Michael Norris, and Kenneth Young in partial collaboration with Park Road Post Production. In July this year Atkins conducted Wellington Chamber Orchestra in a concert that included Tchaikovsky’s fourth Symphony and Mendelssohn’s famous Violin Concerto with NZSM Doctoral student James Jin. He also conducted Kapiti Concert Orchestra in their first term with Cello soloist Lavinnia Rae playing Dvorak cello concerto, and in August he conducted the Manawatu Sinfonia with Mezzo Soprano Soloist Maaike Christie-Beekman.

Michael Norris

Composer in Residence

Michael Norris holds composition degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and City University, London, and is currently Senior Lecturer and Programme Director of Composition at the New Zealand School of Music. He is recipient of the 2001 Mozart Fellowship, the 2003 Douglas Lilburn Prize, the 2012 CANZ Trust Fund Award and has been nominated for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award four times, winning it in 2014 with his work Inner Phases for string quartet and Chinese instrument ensemble.

Michael maintains strong links to Austria, Germany and the Asia-Pacific region. He was commissioned by the SWR (Sudwestdeutsche Rundfunk) to write a new chamber orchestra work, Sgraffito, which was premiered at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2010. He has also had works performed and recorded by the Vienna Saxophonic Orchestra, Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Wien, Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Ensemble SurPlus, NZSQ, NZTrio, NZSO, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, Stroma, 175 East, Stephen de Pledge and Michael Houstoun.

Gao Ping

Composer in Residence

Gao Ping (高平) is a composer and pianist born in Sichuan province. As a young pianist at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, Gao Ping was affected by China’s transformation from a collective to a market economy. This transitional phase between old and new - and the productive cultural clash between East and West - left traces that would later be evident in his music.

Gao Ping’s first chamber music release on Naxos was critically acclaimed, and described by a German critic as “music which wants to be heard with ears of a child, full of wonder and amazement…. deep and vulnerable.” His second chamber music album on Naxos was released in 2013.

In his recent works, Gao returns more fully to China as a creative theme. Works such as Piano Quintet “Mei Lan Zhu Ju”(2009) and Four Not-Alike for multi-function pianist and Chinese instruments (2012) reflect the appeal of Gao’s fusing of Western and Eastern idioms, as well as the expanding interest in his compositions dealing with China and its multiple pasts.

Dr. Gao is currently a Professor in Composition at Conservatory of Music - Capital Normal University in Beijing. He also holds a guest professorship at the China Conservatory. He previously taught composition at the School of Music at Canterbury University in Christchurch.

Thomas Goss

Education Composer in Residence

California-born Thomas Goss is a professional composer and orchestrator with an impressive roster of clients including Billy Ocean, Mel C, Sharon Corr and others. His compositions, orchestrations, and arrangements have been performed by such ensembles as Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony Chamber Ensemble

Goss is a pioneer in the field of orchestral education and has created programming for every professional orchestra in New Zealand. For the past several years, Orchestra Wellington has presented his ongoing series Baby Pops as staple for young listeners. Goss may be found online at the helm of the internet community Orchestration Online, with a social media following of over ten thousand composers, musicians, and music students.

Orchestra Wellington