Heleen du Plessis


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Join us in commissioning and premiering the first ever New Zealand composition for cello and marimba, Tahu-nui-ā-Rangi, by Gareth Farr. Written for Duo Col Legno with marimba virtuoso Yoshiko Tsuruta, the world premiere will take place in the Perpetual Guardian Planetarium at the Otago Museum in Dunedin in May 2019.

'Tahu-nui-ā-Rangi' is te reo Māori for the Aurora Australis, visible from our southernmost parts of New Zealand. Some iwi viewed the aurora as ancestors' campfires reflected in the sky. This story inspires the composition, emphasising universal belonging and spiritual connection. Tahu-nui-ā-Rangi builds upon previous acclaimed projects Cello for Africa and Cellists Aotearoa, dealing with belonging to a single nation to multiple belonging, and to, in this work, representing our infinite connection to the universe and being members of one human family. These projects investigate the role of music in strengthening roots, connecting to place and finding a 'sense of place'. The longer-term vision is to expand it into a large-scale work of several movements.

The performance will be combined with a visual backdrop of atmospheric lights and colourful electric dancing veils of the aurorae that will immerse audience members in a cello-marimba sound blend, ranging from ethereal to pounding and percussive and transport them to a world of light and sound.

Dr. Ian Griffin, astronomer and Director of the Otago Museum, will provide enlightenment on the scientific aspects. A social get-together with a cash bar will precede this multi-sensory experience that draws together music, philosophy, culture, art and science.

Supported by a Creative New Zealand grant, the funds raised are for the remaining costs of the composition, the visual design and artists' fees.

Thank you for helping us reach the target of $4,500 by investing in music innovation and enabling the premiere performance of Tahu-nui-ā-Rangi.


  • Pretty exceptional and rare

    2 DAYS AGO

    To hear a piece written for the combination of cello and marimba performed live is quite rare.
    First of all there are not many specialized marimba soloists. We are privileged to have such a phenomenal player in NZ such as Yoshiko Tsuruta.

    Because the instrument is so enormous (3 m long, weighing 150 kg) it has to be transported by a huge van! Their range normally spans over 5 octaves but Yoshiko’s marimba that was made for her in Japan by Korogi, is 5 and ¾ octaves! The biggest in NZ!

    In order to transport the marimba, it has to be taken apart into 14 pieces and put into several cases. It takes 1 hour with a helper to put together.

    Yoshiko will literally drive 1000’s of km’s to come to Dunedin for this world premiere on 4 May and our CMNZ tour to 10 cities all over NZ after that.

    Therefor the sound blend of the cello and marimba is something very special and the opportunity to hear this is quite unique!

    To read more about Yoshiko and Duo Col Legno go to: http://www.yoshikotsuruta.com/duo-col-legno/


    Pretty exceptional and rare
  • Tahu-nui-ā-Rangi / Aurora Australis

    1 WEEK AGO

    Aurora Australis

    Have you ever seen the magical multi-coloured dancing veils of the Southern Lights? Do you know how they are formed? Did you know they make sounds?

    Did you know while there is a scientific explanation for them, there are also different spiritual meanings connected to the phenomenon?

    In this piece by Farr he made use of extended techniques and sound effects in the marimba and cello part, that brilliantly capture the moods and colours of the Aurora Australis. The world premiere performance of Tahu-nui-ā-Rangi in the Perpetual Guardian Planetarium at the Otago Museum in Dunedin on the 4th of May, combined with the live visual backdrop of the aurorae and world-renowned astronomer Dr. Ian Griffen's pre-concert talk, will bring together science, art, philosophy and culture and a bit of magic.