Meet the Composer: Louise Webster, multi-tasker extraordinaire

November 15, 2016
in News


I first came to know Louise Webster as a violinist, but as the years passed, I realised she was – and is – so much more. She trained as a doctor, but took a year off to study piano with that remarkable Wellington pedagogue, Judith Clarke. This was followed by further study with one of New Zealand’s finest pianists, Janetta McStay, on Louise’s return to Auckland to complete her medical degree.

A keen and active chamber musician on both violin and piano, Louise has also played in the St Matthews Chamber Orchestra for many years, while building a career as a child psychiatrist at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland. Not content with these already remarkable achievements, she embarked on a parallel career as a composer, winning first place in the Douglas Lilburn Trust Composition Prize in 2005 and again in 2008.

Since then the prizes and commissions have rolled in: the Douglas Mews Choral Composition Prize in 2011, the Llewelyn Jones Prize in Music for Piano in 2011, and the 2012 CANZ Trust Fund Award.  Her orchestral work “Learning to nudge the wind” was recorded by the NZSO as part of the 2012 NZSO-SOUNZ-RNZC collaboration. Since then, both commissions and performances of her works have continued to grace her musical calendar.

A few weeks ago, NZSQ first violinist Helene Pohl was premiering Louise’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra “In a hollowed bone I hear the seas roar” which Louise wrote especially for Helene. What a marvellous synthesis – a new concerto by a New Zealand violinist for a New Zealand violinist! And Louise was playing in the SMCO violin section for the concert.

Read the review of this concert on:


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