CANZ Nelson Composers Workshop 2017

Sunday 9 July – Thursday 13 July 2017

Deadline for submissions: Monday 1 May 2017

For over three decades, the annual CANZ Nelson Composers Workshop has been a key event in the New Zealand composition scene, providing opportunities for developing composers to learn about their craft and industry, to make connections with their colleagues and peers, and to support our community.

The CANZ Nelson Composers Workshop, in its 36th year, is open to all composers who are not yet professionally established, including senior secondary and university students. Participants will have a work rehearsed and performed to a professional standard. The performances will be recorded, a copy of which will be given to the composer during the workshop. Each participant will have an experienced established composer assigned to him or her, to act as mentor, to help in rehearsals, and to guide post-performance discussions. There will be daily lectures and discussions, instrumental demonstrations, a concert of new music, and ample opportunities for socialising.

People interested in attending the workshop as observers/non-participants are also welcome.

Attending the Workshop

Venue: Old St Johns Church, 320 Hardy Street, Nelson

Dates: Sunday 9 July (start time 2pm) – Thursday 13 July (finishing approx. 12 noon, followed by an informal lunch)

Mentors: Our line-up of mentors varies from year to year. The list of mentors for 2016 was Mark Menzies, Dr Glenda Keam, Samuel Holloway, James Gardener, Alison Isadora, John Elmsly, Alex Taylor, and John Rimmer. The list of 2017 mentors currently includes John Psathas, Michael Norris, and Jeff Henderson. More mentors will be announced closer to the time.

Cost: There is no tuition or participation fee. Participants and observers are, however, required to cover the cost of their own travel, accommodation and meals.

Accommodation: The workshop provides accommodation at the Nelson YHA in dorms shared with other attendees of the workshop. Attendees are free to arrange their own accommodation, but staying at the YHA enables a greater amount of socialising and discussion with your peers.

Meals: A simple breakfast is provided for those staying at the Nelson YHA at no additional cost. Lunch and fully catered dinner options are available through the workshop, though, as with accommodation, attendees are free to make their own arrangements.

Travel: Attendees are expected to make their own travel arrangements to and from the workshop. If you are planning on flying to Nelson, it is strongly advised that you book early. If you are concerned about transport from Nelson Airport to the YHA, please let us know your arrival details and we will attempt to put you in touch with other participants on the same flight where possible.

CANZ Membership: Membership to the Composers Association of New Zealand is compulsory for all participants. Successful applicants who are not already members will be able to pay their annual CANZ membership fee together with other costs. Further information about CANZ membership can be found on this website.

Convenors: The convenors for the 2017 workshop are:

Simon Eastwood 020 4078 9166
Tristan Carter 027 338 2663

Please contact the convenors with any query you may have concerning the workshop and your application, as they are happy to assist where possible. Updated information about the workshop will be made available on this page closer to the time. You will be notified of the success of your application by email.

The 2017 Nelson Composers Workshop gratefully receives funding from:

Composition Submissions

Applicants are invited to submit up to two compositions for consideration for the workshop. The compositions should be for between one and six performers (inclusive). The following instruments are available:

Confirmed: flute (including alto), clarinets in Bb / bass clarinet, violins (2), viola, cello, piano, percussion (2 players – see the instrument list below), electroacoustic including works for live performer(s) and fixed media/live processing

Possible: percussion duo, 4-hands piano (not 2 pianos)

  • Prepared piano is unfortunately not possible
  • It is advisable to contact the convenors prior to the submission deadline if you wish to submit a large-ensemble work.
  • A conductor may also be available
  • Electroacoustic works will be considered, subject to technical requirements. We will contact participants directly to discuss any electroacoustic submissions.
  • Please submit at least one work that falls within the confirmed instrumentation

We also have some exciting additional performers visiting this year, and participants are encouraged to take full advantage of these resources:

James Webster (Taonga Pūoro)

A venerable master of both making and performing with Taonga Pūoro.

The SCO Quartet (Players from the Singapore Chinese Orchestra)

We will have an ensemble visiting from Singapore with the following performers:

Justin DeHart (Percussion)

The list of available percussion instruments is as follows:

2 concert toms, Snare drum, Marimba, 1 Med. Suspended cymbal, Trap table, Concert bass drum, Set of bongos, Vibraphone, 1 Lg. Suspended cymbal

Trap table – this could be any set of small aux instruments that would fit on a typical trap table 2’x4’ i.e. woodblocks, balloons, pieces of metal, etc.

Suggested set up for percussion duo (with Ngoh Kheng Seng):

Player 1: Concert bass drum, Set of bongos, Vibraphone, 1 Lg. Suspended cymbal
Player 2: 2 concert toms, Snare drum, Marimba,1 Med. Suspended cymbal, Trap table

If they have specialized sounds that are not on this list, they will need to secure the instruments themselves. It is not necessary to write for everything on this list.

Submission Guidelines

Please ensure that you follow the guidelines below as much as possible when submitting your scores. As the performers have limited rehearsal time, it is essential that your parts are as clear as possible.

  • Scores should preferably be computer typeset, but may be neatly handwritten.
  • Use standard notational practices where possible and, where non-standard or unusual notation is used, provide instructions for the performers.
  • For each piece submitted, the following must be supplied:
    • An individual part for each performer
    • A score for each performer (opt. reduced size – not for performing) (N/A for solo pieces)
    • A score for your mentor (full size) A score for conductor where applicable (full size)
  • It is advisable that you bring at least one copy of the score and each part for the selected work with you to workshop as access to a printer or photocopier cannot be guaranteed.
  • Proofread your scores and parts carefully. Be careful to ensure that you include initial and all subsequent tempo markings in every part, your name, the title and the instrument name on the front page. (Computer programs make it very easy to include headers and footers on every page, which can include this information too.)
  • Parts should be presented as single-sided A4 sheets. Scores may be sent as booklets (a common function on modern photocopiers) but please DO NOT send parts or scores in folders or spiral binding as this costs you (and the workshop) more to produce and post.
  • Ensure that page turns/changes are in convenient places.
  • Ensure that parts are correctly transposed and that you are using the correct clef for each instrument’s range.
  • Include bar numbers at the beginning of every stave, but not every bar. Use rehearsal marks if the work is long.
  • Composers submitting electroacoustic works should send a recording (NOT required for acoustic compositions)
  • DO NOT send originals/your only copies of scores. The workshop will not return unselected works, though they may be brought to Nelson for attendees to collect.


To take full advantage of our visiting guest performers, participants will be asked to collaborate with a performer during the workshop on a microscore (approx. 1min in length). This is to encourage composers to take full advantage of the wealth of information present at the workshop from both performers and mentors.

Jeff Henderson

Prominent saxophonist and improvisor, will also be in attendance leading free-improvisation workshops.


Please complete the online application form, or download this document, and send your complete scores, parts or audio (for electroacoustic works) to:


The Composers Association of New Zealand
PO Box 4065
Wellington 6140

Ensure entries arrive no later than:

MONDAY 1 May 2017

If you are new to the Workshop, or wish to relive the experience, watch Chris Watson’s 2009 documentary, below, or the 1987 TVNZ Kaleidoscope documentary.