NZSM brings together cinema and live orchestra for showcase

Roxy Cinema

The New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī (NZSM) recently celebrated the learning and achievements of its film composition students and graduates in its first annual Film Scoring Showcase. Hosted by the the Roxy Cinema in Miramar, the Showcase featured a 28-piece orchestra of NZSM students who performed a series of film score compositions live to accompany films on the big screen.

The film scores included work from Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) (MFA(CP)) Music/Sound graduates Tahlia Griffis, Craig Drummond-Nairn, and William Philipson; current MFA(CP) Music/Sound student Ming Shi; and the four finalists from the NZSM Film Scoring Contest: Jose Jugo, Robyn Bryant, Nikau Wi Neera, and Jacqueline S. Boothe. Compositions from NZSM lecturer Dr Ewan Clark and current composer-in-residence Salina Fisher were also performed.

In recent years, live cinema has been growing in popularity worldwide with Cineconcert experiences touring the world with live orchestra performances of films such as Harry Potter, Gladiator, The Godfather, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has also included live cinema in its repertoire, performing to Star Wars films live earlier this year.

“Live cinema offers audiences the opportunity to experience a film score in something similar to its intended context (accompanying a film and supporting its narrative). However, with the music played right in front of them, the audience can also choose at times to watch the orchestra and admire the musical performance and composition like one does at a concert,” explains Dr Clark.

New Zealand conductor Hamish McKeich led the NZSM Orchestra at the Showcase, and Hollywood film composer Graeme Revell announced the winner of the Film Scoring Contest: Jacqueline Boothe. Jacqueline, from the United States, says "It was fun and insightful to take something from the past and transform it with the music theory and orchestral knowledge I have learned at NZSM. I just completed my degree and had to head back home to the States, so I’m sad I missed the Showcase—but I want to thank Ewan Clark and all those who helped create this opportunity. It means so much!"