'The Luminaries' TV series an all-NZSM musical affair

The new TV adaptation of Eleanor Catton's Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries screened on TVNZ One on Sunday 17 May.

Originally published by Victoria University Press, Catton adapted the book herself for the new BBC Two production, which was shot in 2019 in Auckland and Hokitika.

The epic soundtrack to The Luminaries was created almost entirely by staff and alumni of the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī (NZSM).

The musical score was written by award-winning composer David Long, who teaches courses in film composition at the NZSM and was recorded by NZSM Senior Technician Graham Kennedy at the Stella Maris facility in Miramar. Conducted by NZSO Associate Conductor-in-Residence Hamish McKeich, the music was performed by Stroma Filmworks, an ensemble of Wellington-based musicians drawn from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and many of whom are also Artist Teachers at the NZSM.

A featured soloist was violinist Tristan Carter, a graduate of NZSM’s composition and performance programmes.

A recent graduate from the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) (MFA(CP)) programme, Tahlia Griffis, was assistant to David Long after she had had an internship with him the previous year, and the sheet music was typeset and prepared by NZSM composition graduate Ben Woods.

Finally, the music was edited by NZSM alumni Stephen Gallagher, who is himself an acclaimed composer, and acts as an intern host for MFA(CP) students.