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Musical siblings in harmony for NZSO award

04 October 2021

Thomas and Eva Bedggood have been playing music together since they were young children and they’re excited to share the experience of taking part in an award for young composers.


The University of Canterbury Music students, who are from Christchurch, have been chosen for the NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards.

The award gives them the opportunity to travel to Wellington next month and hear their compositions workshopped and performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The works will also be recorded by RNZ Concert.

The Bedggood siblings are two of the eight young composers from around New Zealand chosen to participate in the award this year.

Thomas, 20, plays the violin and Eva, 18, plays the trumpet and piano. Thomas, who is in his fourth year of an Honours Degree in Music at the University of Canterbury, was selected for the same NZSO award last year, which inspired Eva, a first-year student, to enter for the first time.

“I never imagined that I would get in because I’m pretty young and I don’t think they often have first years. It was awesome to hear we’d both got in because now we get to have this experience together,” she says.

Her selected composition, called Azimuth, is just her third work for an orchestra but she has been composing music since childhood.

Thomas says it’s an amazing feeling to hear a composition being performed by an accomplished orchestra in an auditorium, instead of by a piece of computer software.

“It’s a fairly surreal feeling to be in the Michael Fowler Centre, which seats several thousand people, and there’s the entire orchestra and they’re about to play your music. It’s going to be amazing to be there again this year.”

The pair have different inspirations behind their compositions and their successful pieces are very distinct. Eva is interested in film scoring and finds inspiration in nature and history while Thomas says his ideas come from colours, light, stories and poetry. His successful piece for the award, Íkaros, is inspired by the ancient Greek legend of Icarus.

The siblings both have a strong interest in music from different cultures.

As part of the award they will have an expert composer-mentor to help them through the process and their piece of music will be performed by the NZSO and led by conductor Hamish McKeich, who has a passion for contemporary and experimental music.

Several prizes will be presented including the NZSO Todd Young Composer Award with $750 cash for the best overall composition.

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