Conference 2015 – Lilburn’s Legacy: Fostering Musical Creativity

After months of planning and preparation by the Wellington IRMT branch committee this conference flowed from start to finish with excitement and insight for the one hundred and forty or so delegates present. Detailed accounts of individual sessions will be found in future editions of Ritmico, the excellent IRMT journal available to all members.

As coordinator of the event I am now immensely grateful for all the work and time the committee put into their various areas of responsibility, in particular the Registrar, Peter Feehan. The conference’s healthy financial outcome is no doubt due to many factors. We were particularly glad of the publicity material created for us by DallorzoSmith Design.

We are so grateful to the conference sponsors: Stout Trust; Trinity College; ABRSM; NZSM; SOUNZ; NZMEB; St Cecilia; Hal Leonard; Piano Traders; Kadens Piano Movers; Serge Grandchamp Piano Prestige; Musico; NZSO; Logan Brown.

At the opening session a special bonus was to have the Patron of the IRMT, Michael Houstoun, talk to us and play some Bach. Our respect and immense gratitude must be acknowledged for all our presenters and performers, and especially for Dr Philip Norman and Elissa Milne. Those present will always treasure their expertise and engaging personalities. Certainly they informed and inspired us to be creative in our teaching. We have come away better able to nurture and inspire the Lilburns of the future!

 - Rosemary Bromley

IRMTNZ Conference 2015, Wellington Branch Committee

Click here to view the SOUNZ video highlights from this conference…

Some comments from those who attended IRMT Conference 2015:

I thought the conference was fabulous and the venue just right. And what a joy to listen to so many first class people; and such humour too… 

I want to write to express my gratitude to you and your committee for organizing and implementing such a wonderful conference. The programme was really stimulating, and it covered all bases…I really enjoyed the whole event, and of course the location was spot-on too.

Thank you for an outstanding conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations by Philip Norman and Elissa Milne and especially Gillian Bibby and her pianist, Ludwig. The duet recital by Diedre and Richard was just what we needed after a day of very intense sessions, and there was an interesting balance between the ‘pre-Lilburn’ period and the ‘post-Lilburn’.

It was a most friendly and stimulating time for me, and I am sure for all who attended. Your choice of speakers and performers showed the highest standard of New Zealand musicians and scholars…I especially welcomed the material on Douglas Lilburn, his compositions and writings. Other highlights must include Elissa Milne’s inspiring energy and outlook, the Duet recital with Diedre Irons and Richard Mapp, (sheer delight) and Gillian Bibby’s presentation with Ludwig Treviranus of her research into earlier NZ composers.

The speakers and performers were superb, as was the organization and overall ambience.

Thanks…for organizing such an energizing conference. The programme was beautifully balanced with top quality presenters, and I have come home enthusiastic for the year’s teaching ahead. 

It was indeed a superb conference…a well-balanced programme including strings, stimulation, challenges and beautiful music. 

The duet recital was a revelation of the joy of music and musical performance as a shared experience. Gillian and Ludwig gave an exemplary presentation of a vast amount of material admirably sustained over 90 minutes…Philip gave of himself and provided a delightful thread of consistency and continuity that contributed a lot to giving the conference its distinctive character, anchored in his knowledge of and affinity with Douglas Lilburn…Peter Walls address was thoughtful and thought provoking. The coherent vision and teamwork of the conference resulted in a fulfillment that gave us something greater than the sum of its parts.

IRMT Brochure

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Introducing: HIGH FIVE

High Five - Cover

The Wellington Branch of the IRMT commissioned five piano pieces by Wellington composers to create a new music book, as part of the IRMTNZ 2015 Conference, whose theme celebrated the life of Douglas Lilburn and explored how creativity can be fostered in those that follow.

The Wellington Branch proudly introduces you to the creativity of Jonathan Crehan, Ewan Clark, Natalie Hunt, Karlo Margetic and Tabea Squire, who were all present at the conference session to introduce High Five. Five young pianists played a piece each, followed by a discussion led by Philip Norman on ‘Fostering Creativity’.

The music books are now available to buy from SOUNZ for $25 each.

Click here to listen to a recording of one of the pieces.


Philip Norman

From organs to orchestras, car horns to choirs, ballads to ballet, Philip Norman’s work as a composer spans the performing arts. He has worked as a freelance composer since 1978 based in Christchurch. Author of an award-winning biography on Douglas Lilburn, he is currently also writing a book on New Zealand composition.

Phillip Norman

Phillip Norman. Photo courtesy Gareth Watkins/Wallace Arts Trust/Lilburn Trust.

Elissa Milne

Elissa Milne began composing as a child growing up in the Manawatu countryside, began teaching as a teenager living in Auckland, and in her late twenties she decided to combine the two when she wrote the first Little Peppers and Pepperbox Jazz books. Her music is now used by teachers, students and exam boards the world over, and she is a frequent speaker at conferences around Australia and the world.

Elissa Milne

Elissa Milne

Jian Liu

Chinese-American pianist Jian Liu, Lecturer in Piano at Te Koki, New Zealand School of Music, is a highly sought-after solo pianist, chamber musician and educator. He has appeared on concert stages in China, Japan, Singapore, Portugal, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United States and New Zealand.

Jian Liu

Jian Liu

Martin Riseley

Martin Riseley studied at Juilliard with Dorothy DeLay, where he completed Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees. He was Concertmaster of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and was also Interim Associate Concertmaster of the National Arts Center Orchestra. He is currently Associate Professor of Strings at Te Koki New Zealand School of Music.

Martin Riseley

Martin Riseley

Diedre Irons

Canadian born Diedre Irons came to New Zealand in 1977 and has become one of the country’s best-loved musicians. Recipient of an MBE and an ONZM for services to music, she taught for eleven years at Canterbury University and seven at the NZSM.

Diedre Irons

Diedre Irons. Photo courtesy of Debbie Rawson.

Gillian Bibby

Studied in Berlin and Cologne, winning the Kranichsteiner and Darmstadt prizes in new music; is pianist, composer, researcher, publisher and examiner, and one of NZ’s busiest teachers. She edited Sunrise, Take Flight and Living Echoes, and is currently researching early NZ piano music.

Gillian Bibby

Gillian Bibby

Roger Wilson

Is one of New Zealand’s most experienced singers. He has a large opera, concert and recital repertoire and is also a recording artist and broadcaster. He studied in Switzerland and Germany in the 1970s and lives in Wellington.

Roger Wilson

Roger Wilson

Ross Harris

Ross Harris is one of New Zealand’s leading composers. His works include opera, orchestral music and chamber music, and piano music. He has won the prestigious SOUNZ Contemporary Award more times than any other composer. He worked with Douglas Lilburn at Victoria University and taught there for thirty-three years. He is now a freelance composer.

Ross Harris

Ross Harris. Photo courtesy Gareth Watkins/Wallace Arts Trust/Lilburn Trust.

Peter Barber

Peter is a violist in the Wellington area, who combines orchestra playing, chamber music and teaching to make a varied and interesting musical life. He was a student of Zillah castle, Vyvyan Yendoll, Ashley Heenan, Rainer Moog, and Gavin Saunders.

Peter Barber

Peter Barber

Mary Barber

Is a pianist with a strong background in song accompaniment. Two years as a student accompanist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama 1985-1987 in London were followed by ten years in Europe where she came into contact with great accompanists including Graham Johnson, Rudolf Jansen and Hartmut Hoell. Back in NZ since 1997, Mary has accompanied many singers in recital, plays with her brother Peter, and the violinist Valerie Rigg. She has trained in the Suzuki method of instrumental teaching and now has a thriving Suzuki piano studio.

Mary Barber

Mary Barber

Richard Mapp

Richard Mapp is currently Visiting Lecturer in Piano at the University of Canterbury and an Artist teacher at the NZSM. He is well known as a performer and adjudicator throughout the country. He has toured many times for Chamber Music New Zealand, and is regularly heard on Radio NZ Concert. His early studies were with Maurice Till and he undertook postgraduate training with Gordon Green at the Royal Academy of Music.

Richard Mapp

Richard Mapp

Rachel Thomson

Rachel Thomson is well known to audiences as a collaborative and chamber musician, and has worked as an orchestral pianist with the NZSO and Wellington Orchestra. Rachel gained a BMus (Hons) from Victoria University, and holds a Doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music (USA).

Rachel Thomson

Rachel Thomson

Ludwig Treviranus

Ludwig Treviranus is currently teaching and performing in Wellington and Auckland. He holds a Doctorate of Music from Florida State University and is the recording artist for Living Echoes – The First 150 Years of Piano Music from New Zealand.

Ludwig Treviranus

Ludwig Treviranus

Emeritus Professor Peter Walls

Was Chief Executive of the NZSO 2002-2011. He is currently Deputy Chair of CMNZ and a member of the Victoria University Council. He taught at Victoria for 24 years. Peter is well-known as an orchestral and choral conductor and is Music Director of Opus Orchestra.

Peter Walls

Peter Walls


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