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.

Video

2016
Simon Bowden from the Arts Foundation talks to 2016 New Generation Award recipient, Alex Taylor, about the award and his practice.
2009
University of Auckland Lilburn Trust Composition Prize 1st place ("Four Abstracts").
2009
Auckland Youth Orchestra Composer in Residence.
2009
Completed a conjoint degree in English Literature and Music at the University of Auckland
2010
NZSO / Todd Young Composer Awards – Orchestra’s Choice Award ("Six Pieces for Orchestra").
2010
"[f]at[on]ality" for piano performed at Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festival
2011
NZSO / Todd Young Composer Award and Orchestra's Choice Award ([inner])
2011
SOUNZ Community Commission and Auckland Youth Orchestra Composer in Residence with between, which was performed in ten concerts in Slovenia and Germany, culminating in a performance at the Berlin Konzerthaus as part of the Young Euro Classic Festival.
2011
Completed a Masters in Music majoring in Composition, supervised by John Elmsly and Eve de Castro-Robinson.
2011
Founded the Intrepid Music Project
2012
NZSO National Youth Orchestra Composer in Residence.
2012
SOUNZ Contemporary Award "[inner]"
2012
First substantial paid commission, writing "Burlesques Mecaniques" for the NZTrio
2013
APRA Professional Development Award and CANZ Trust Fund Award.
2013
"Refrain for String Quartet" written for the Rothko Quartet and performed in London and Edinburgh on their ROSL-Pettman winners tour.
2013
Formed the Dissonance Quartet with Emma Fetherston, Peau Halapua and Rachel Wells.
2014
Selected as NZ Young Composer representative at the Asian Composers League Festival in Tokyo, having "Narcissus for Two Clarinets" performed in Yokohama.
2014
"Bassoon Concerto" premiered by Ben Hoadley and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra.
2015
Re-composer, Musical Director and Sorceress for Unstuck Opera’s "Dido and Aeneas Recomposed" at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery.
2015
Caselberg Trust Creative Connections Artist in Residence.
2015
Horn Concerto: "Hydraulic Fracture" commissioned and performed by Emma Richards and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.
2015
Formed the performance group hear|say with Eve de Castro-Robinson
2016
"A Coincidence of Surfaces for String Quartet/s" performed by the New York-based Enso Quartet on their NZ Tour.
2016
Attended workshops at the Darmstadt Summer Course and Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music.
2016
"Bassoon Concerto" recorded by Ben Hoadley and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
2016
Completed an opera based on David Herkt’s "The Last Delirium of Arthur Rimbaud".
2016
Arts Foundation New Generation Award!