NZSO to perform 19-year-old Christchurch composer's piece

Thomas Bedggood says he cannot wait to hear his composition performed live next month. Photo:...
Thomas Bedggood says he cannot wait to hear his composition performed live next month. Photo: Supplied via NZH
A 19-year-old Canterbury University student has been given the opportunity to hear his own composition performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Thomas Bedggood said he cannot wait to hear his composition Smoking Mirror | Tezcatlipoca performed live next month.

So far the violinist has only heard his creation on composition software, which he said cannot compare with the sound quality of the 28 parts played live together by a professional orchestra.

"It's electronic, so it doesn't really sound anything like a real orchestra. Until you hear your work live, it's pure imagination," he said.

Smoking Mirror was selected for this year's Todd Corporation Young Composers Award.

Bedggood was also recently awarded the 2020 Dame Malvina Major Foundation Christchurch Committee's Cecily Maccoll High Achiever Award.

He is in the final year of his bachelor of music degree with a double major in performance (violin) and composition and will continue studying honours at the Canterbury University next year.

"I took composition as an interest paper and I did well, so I kept going and now things are really coming to fruition.

"I wasn't expecting to hit these opportunities this early."

The NZSO award has already opened doors, allowing the music student to join an NZSO composing programme of a South American exchange, working virtually with lecturers and professional musicians in Colombia and Argentina to write a collaborative piece, which will be performed in December.

Also through the NZSO, Bedggood had the chance to join workshops with visiting Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth­‐Bedoya, chief conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, who has conducted many "upper level" American orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony, along with orchestras internationally including the NZSO.

Bedggood wrote the under five-minute long Smoking Mirror in a month.

The process sounds relatively organic, but was "quite intense" at times, he said.

"Orchestral writing, because of obviously the massive range of factors you work with, is a combination of thinking in the microscale of a few different parts and the relationships some instruments have with each other, and then zooming out and thinking on the macro level and thinking 'where is this going?' And then building up the small parts into a mosaic."

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