T he Living Composers Project  

Rimmer, John (b. February 5, 1939, Auckland). New Zealand composer of mostly stage, orchestral, chamber, choral, piano, and electroacoustic works that have been performed in Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and North America.

Mr. Rimmer initially studied at the University of New Zealand, where he earned his BA in 1961, and later studied composition with Ronald Tremain at the University of Auckland, where he earned his MA in 1963 and where he also had post-graduate studies in musicology. He then studied electronic music with Gustav Ciamaga and analysis and composition with John Weinzweig at the University of Toronto and earned his DMus there in 1972.

Among his many honors are the Philip Neill Memorial Prize from the University of Otago in Dunedin (1971, for Composition 2; 2003, for Bowed Insights) and First Prize in the International Horn competition in the USA (1983, for De Aestibus Rerum). In addition, he received the Prix de la Confédération Internationale de la Musique Électroacoustique de Bourges (1986, for Fleeting Images).

He is also active in other positions. He served as composer-in-residence to the Auckland Philharmonia in 2002–03.

He lectured at North Shores Teachers College in Auckland from 1970–74 and served as composer-in-residence at the University of Otago in Dunedin in 1972, on a Mozart Fellowship. He taught at the University of Auckland from 1974–99 and founded its electronic music studio in 1976 and its new music ensemble the Karlheinz Company in 1978. There he was awarded a personal professorial chair in music in 1995.


E-mail address: johnrimmer@xtra.co.nz


STAGE: Fond Youth (text by Ian Wedde), dance troupe, 5 mixed choruses, small orchestra, CD, 1972; The Juggler (music theatre work, text by the composer, after 13th-century French sources), high voice, tenor, bass, male chorus, variable ensemble, 1976; A Midsummer Night's Dream (incidental music, play by William Shakespeare), female chorus, recorders (1 player), shawm, cornet, CD, 1980; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (music theatre work, text by Betty Gilderdale), 5 soloists, dance troupe, Renaissance ensemble (recorders, shawm, gemshorn, sackbuts, psaltery, violin, percussion), 1981 (also concert version of some sections as Gawain Suite, 3 recorders); Galileo (3 act chamber opera, libretto by Witi Ihimaera), soprano, 2 mezzo-sopranos, 2 tenors, 3 baritones, mixed chorus, flute (+ piccolo), oboe, clarinet (+ bass clarinet), French horn, violin, cello, piano, percussion, CD, digital images (by Wayne Howe, Michael Lonsdale, Alex Sutherland), 1998

ORCHESTRAL: Symphony No. 1, 1968; December Nights, small orchestra, 1970; Expomusic, large orchestra, 1970; Explorations-Discoveries, French horn, orchestra, 1971; Iconoclasm, brass band, 1971; Seven Reactions, youth orchestra, 1971; Second Journey, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 12 strings, 1972; At the Appointed Time, large orchestra, 1973; The Horns of a Dilemma, 2 French horns, orchestra, 1974; The Ring of Fire, small orchestra (16 players), 1976; Concerto, viola, orchestra, 1980; Gossamer, 12 strings, 1984; Meeting Place, 1984; Singing Ocean, youth symphonic band, 1988; Symphony No. 2, 'The Feeling of Sound', 1989; Cloud Fanfares, 1990; Millennia, brass band, 1991; Your Piano is My Forte (concerto), piano, small orchestra, 1991; Four Pieces, youth symphonic band, 1994; Memories, youth orchestra, 1998; Vulcan (fanfare), 1999; Symphonic Triptych, brass band, 2001; Agincourt (march), brass band, 2002; Europa (concerto), brass band, orchestra, 2002; Leafspin, 2002; TranscendConcerto for Orchestra, 2003; LaharVolcanic Flow, 2003; Thermal Labyrinths, brass band, 2004; Stellar Meditations, brass band, 2004; Ubique (concert march), brass band/military band/symphonic band, 2004; Hidden Treasures, French horn, orchestra, 2005; Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, brass band, 2006; Breathalyzer, 2006; Manukau Refrains, 3 percussion, orchestra, 2007

CHAMBER MUSIC: Octet, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 French horns, 1964; Serenade, 2 flutes, alto flute, bass clarinet, vibraphone, xylophone, 1967; Composition 1, French horn, CD, 1968; Composition 2, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, CD, 1969; Composition 5, percussion, CD, 1971; Refrains, Cadenzas and Interludes, string quartet, 1971; Abstract as White, violin, viola, cello, 1972; Composition 4, flute, CD, 1972; Composition 6, piano, CD, 1972; In Memoriam George Hopkins, tenor recorder, percussion, 1972; Interplay, harpsichord, percussion, 1972; Soliloquy, harp, 1972; Composition 3, harp, CD, 1973; Composition 7, bassoon, piano, CD, 1973; Composition 8, violin, CD, 1974; The Exotic Circle, 6 recorders, 2 percussion, 1974; A Cry in the Wilderness, recorders (1 player), harpsichord, 1975; Epitaphium, violin, 1975; Mirror-Pond, recorders (1 player), percussion ad libitum, 1975; The New Tristan, recorders (1 player), synthesizer, percussion, CD, 1975; Where Sea Meets Sky 2, flute (+ piccolo), clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1975; Vexilla Regis, recorders (1 player), 1976; Composition 10, double bass, CD, 1977; Extro-Intro, French horn, ring modulator, digital delay system, 1977; Jongleurs, 2 soprano recorders, 2 alto recorders, tenor recorder, 1977; WhakaariIsland of Mist, soprano recorder, 1977; Soundweb, trombone, CD, 1978; Thoughts from Peria, flute, oboe, clarinet, harpsichord, string quartet, 1978; Seaswell, trumpet, CD, 1979; Emergence, clarinet, percussion, 1981; Tides, French horn, CD, 1981; Marathon, cello, digital delay system, 1982; Sonata a 5, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1982; De Aestibus Rerum, clarinet, French horn, violin, cello, piano, 1983; Clouds over Pirongia, 4 percussion, 1984; Gawain Suite, 3 recorders, 1984 (concert version of sections of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight); Projections at Dawn, clarinet, CD, 1985; Signals, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, Renaissance ensemble (cornett, sackbut, 2 crumhorns), 1985; Cosmic Dances, 4 recorders, 1986; Voyager, 3 recorders, CD, 1986; With the Current, flute (+ alto flute), cello, piano, percussion, 1986; OmaramaPlace of Light, trumpet, violin, piano, 1987; Tritones, French horn, synthesizer, 1987; Coils, bass clarinet, marimba, 1989; The Revelation of Increasing Complexity, bass clarinet, marimba (+ vibraphone), 1989; Crow, oboe, CD, 1991; HauturuWhere the Winds Rest, bass clarinet, 1992; MahurangiPlace of Importance, viola, 1992; Bowed Insights, string quartet, 1993; Southern Invention, any low instrument, piano, 1993; Arioso-Spiritoso, flügelhorn, piano, 1995; Murmures, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1995; The Ripple Effect, flute (+ piccolo), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), French horn, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1995

CHAMBER MUSIC: At the Base of the Whirlpool, bass oboe, bass clarinet, 1996 (also versions for 2 bass clarinets, 1999; bass clarinet, cello, 1999); Fanfare and Processional for NT, 4 trumpets, 3 percussion, 1996; A Dialogue of Opposites, cello, 1997; Merger, 2 French horns, tuba, 1999; Murmures 2, E-flat clarinet, clarinet, bass clarinet, 2000; Tacking Duel, 2 French horns, percussion, 2000; AU, bass clarinet, ensemble (flute [+ alto flute], French horn, bass trombone, cello, double bass), 2002; The Dance of the Sibyl, violin, 2002; Kakapo Reborn, bass trombone, ensemble (bass clarinet, cello, double bass), 2002; Other Flutes, amplified baroque flute, CD, 2002; On the Way to the Airport, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 2003; Transcendental Fragments, 2 oboes, English horn, 2003; Fragile Earth, oboe, violin, viola, cello, 2004; Cosmic Winds, player (porotiti [Māori whizzer], rehu [Māori flute], pūtorino [Māori flute-trumpet], pu motomoto [Māori trumpet], pūtātara [Māori conch shell trumpet], pūkaea [Māori wooden trumpet], ku [Māori percussion instrument], panguru [Māori percussion instrument]), CD, 2004 (collaboration with Richard Nunns); Frozen Continent, soprano cornet, piano, 2005; Cold Wind, cello, 2005; Burning the Calories, violin, cello, piano, 2006; Fifty Apples for Eve, flute, piano, 2006; Metamusic, flute, piano, 2007; Summer Street, clarinet, string quartet, 2007; Adieu KS, violin, 2008

CHORAL: Dies Sanctificatus, mixed chorus, 1967; O Magnum Mysterium, mixed chorus, 1967; Seven Summer Haiku (texts by Sora, Matsuo Bashō), female chorus, piano, 4 percussion, 1970; Lovesong (text from an anonymous Maori source), mixed chorus, flute, 1972; Visions 1 (text from the Bible), soprano, baritone, 2 mixed choruses, CD, 1975; As the Waves Cover the Sea (text from the Bible), female chorus, small orchestra, CD, 1977; A Song of Humility (text from the Bible), soprano, female chorus, 1978; Alleluia, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, mixed chorus, 1987; The Record of Music (text by Confucius), 8 mixed voices, 1989; TGS '75 (text by Mark Richards), youth mixed chorus, piano, 2002; Voyagers (text by Rachel Bush), female chorus, flute, 2 violins, piano, synthesizer/vibraphone, xylophone, 2004

VOCAL: Two Songs (text by Wystan Hugh Auden), soprano, piano, 1964; Pukeko (text by Ian Wedde), mezzo-soprano, flute, oboe, French horn, cello, piano, 1972; Composition 9 (text by Ian Wedde), soprano, CD, 1976; Narcissus (text by Ian Wedde), soprano, flute, trumpet, cello, piano, percussion, 1979; Ubi Eum Crucifixerunt (text from the Book of John), soprano, oboe, 2008; Motet for Hildegard (text by Hildegard von Bingen [English translation]), soprano, oboe, CD, 2008

PIANO: Beyond, 1978; For the Kokako, 1978; Centrifugues, 1987; Preludes of Light, 1987; Flashes of Iridescence, 1995; Hammerheads, 2 pianos 8 hands, 2008

ORGAN: Fantasia, 1983

HARPSICHORD: Mobiles, 1972

ELECTROACOUSTIC: Canzona, CD, 1968; A Sengai Question, CD, 1970; Homage to Paganini, CD, 1974; White Island, CD, 1974; Where Sea Meets Sky 1, CD, 1975; Colder far than Snow, CD, 1977; Poi, CD, 1979; De Motu Naturae, CD, 1985; Fleeting Images, CD, 1985; Beyond the Saying, CD, 1990; An Inner Voice, CD, 1991; A Vocalise for Einstein, CD, 1991; Redundancies, CD, 1993; Pacific Soundscapes with Dancing, CD, 1995; La voce di Galileo, CD, 1995; Ancestral Voices, CD, 2000; People, Power and Pollution, CD, 2000; Distant Rituals, CD, 2006

(Last updated on October 27, 2008)

John Rimmer, John Francis Rimmer, John F. Rimmer, J.F. Rimmer