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Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor’s Biography

Last Updated:
20/05/2019, 10:52 am
New Generation 2016
Part of the new breed of composers that are also instrumentalists, Alex Taylor is a 2016 New Generation Award recipient. Alex has composed for a wide variety of ensembles including full orchestras and choirs. He is also a songwriter. Alex plays violin, piano, saxophone and he sings. He is a writer and critic and a conductor.

Alex Taylor is one of New Zealand’s leading young composers of orchestral and chamber music. His works have been featured in concerts in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, America and Europe, performed by groups such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and 175 East.

As well as composing, Alex is a multi-instrumentalist, poet, critic, lecturer, conductor and impresario. He has performed across a range of vocal and instrumental genres, including as lead vocalist for the Blackbird Ensemble, as concertmaster for the Auckland Youth Orchestra on their European tour in 2011, and as the Sorceress in his own recomposition of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Frances Moore’s Unstuck Opera.

After studying English Literature and Music, Alex completed a Masters in Composition with First Class Honours under the Supervision of Eve de Castro-Robinson and John Elmsly in 2011. He has a special interest in the relationship between words and music, having set poetry by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Wallace Stevens, Stephanie Christie and Iain Sharp, among others. His choral work Two Years Later, a setting of the great gay poet John Wieners, was performed by the New Zealand National Youth Choir and at the ISCM Musicarama Festival in Hong Kong.

In 2012 Alex was the recipient of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award, New Zealand’s most prestigious composition prize. He has since won a number of significant honours including the 2013 CANZ Trust Fund Award, and representing New Zealand at the 2014 Asian Composers League Festival in Tokyo.

Recent projects include a critically acclaimed Bassoon Concerto for Ben Hoadley and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and co-convening the 2014 and 2015 Nelson Composers Workshops. In the first half of 2015 he was the Caselberg Trust Creative Connections Artist in Residence in Broad Bay, Dunedin, creating work in response to the life and music of the late New Zealand composer Anthony Watson. Alex’s work Burlesques Mecaniques is featured on NZTrio’s most recent CD release, Lightbox. He is currently writing an opera based on David Herkt’s The Last Delirium of Arthur Rimbaud.