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The endless search for the next note Ross Harris: Lilburn Lecture 2021 - DIA

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The much-anticipated Lilburn Lecture from esteemed New Zealand composer and musician Ross Harris, QSM, has been postponed due to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions.

The annual Lilburn Lecture had been scheduled for 2 November at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington.

While a new date is yet to be confirmed, it is expected to be in early 2022. Due to its popularity each year, bookings remain open at

Ross Harris will traverse his life and musical career, from lecturing with Douglas Lilburn to leading a klezmer band.

In his lecture entitled ‘The endless search for the next note: An outline of a composing life from an unlikely beginning to an unlikely present’, Harris will consider his unlikely pathway to a life in music, from brass band to klezmer band and many things in between. "I came from a family with little interest in music or culture," says Harris, "from salt of the earth Kiwis." His lecture will be a self-portrait of a composer finding a way.

Harris is one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary composers, winning many national and international awards for his work. Also a performer, he has played French horn with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, was a founding member of the group Free Radicals, and is a member of the Wellington klezmer group The Kugels. Awarded the QSM in 1985 for his opera Waituhi (libretto by Witi Ihimaera), his compositions now number more than 200. Many of his recent works are collaborations with New Zealand poet Vincent O’Sullivan. In 2014 he was awarded an Arts Foundation Laureate.

"We are delighted to host Ross Harris for the 2021 Lilburn Lecture," says Dr Michael Brown, Curator of Music at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

"The Lecture theme of how musical opportunities and paths present themselves resonates with the passage of life in our uncertain times. It is also wonderful to have a former colleague of Douglas Lilburn be included in the Lecture series."

The Lilburn Lecture is an annual collaboration that started in 2013 between the Lilburn Trust, established by composer Douglas Lilburn, and the Alexander Turnbull Library. The lectures provide a platform for speakers to present new ideas about and perspectives on New Zealand music. The lecture is normally held in conjunction with Lilburn’s birthday, 2 November. Further details to be announced.

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