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Finalists Announced for 2021 SOUNZ Contemporary Award and APRA Screen Awards

Some of Aotearoa’s best songwriters and composers have been shortlisted for three prestigious awards to be presented at the 2021 APRA Silver Scroll Awards | Kaitito Kaiaka.


The SOUNZ Contemporary Award celebrates excellence in contemporary composition.
2021 finalists:

Written for four members of Paris chamber music group Ensemble Intercontemporian, Reuben Jellyman’s outstanding composition Klein Fountain is greatly inspired by French computer music pioneer Jean-Claude Risset, as are most of his compositional ideas. The title Klein Fountain refers to Felix Klein's bottle, an object representing four spatial dimensions and an example of a non-orientable surface, perfectly translated in this work for flute, prepared piano, percussion (including the use of a loud-haler), and cello.

so flamed in the air was commissioned by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and premiered in Ljubljana, this year, having been written by Slovenian-based New Zealand composer Neville Hall throughout various levels of lockdown in Europe. The seven short movements that make up the work, trace the genesis of the musical event, with a scattering and reconfiguring of interrelated material throughout the entire composition. This gives rise to a homologous structure in which apparent contrasts conceal inner similarities based on a shared ancestry.

Janet Roddick, Steve Roche, and David Donaldson make up Wellington-based group Plan 9, predominantly known for their screen compositions. Supported by Creative NZ, The Bewilderness is a composition loosely based on the unsettling experience of the pandemic from the sudden shock, through the stages of drama and disruption to periods of peace and introspection. Written for altered string quartet and voices, it features David on double bass, Steve on fiddle, Janet on vocals and harmonium, Ruby Solly on vocals, taonga pūoro, and cello, Tristan Carter on violin, and Jonny Marks throat singing and percussion. 


The APRA Best Original Music in a Feature Film | Tohu Pūmanawa and APRA Best Original Music in a Series | Tohu Paerangi Awards celebrate Aotearoa’s screen composers. The awards recognise the relationship that composers have with cinema and the power of music to illuminate, elevate and support real and imagined worlds, narratives, images and performances.

2021 finalists for APRA Best Original Music In A Series Award | Tohu Paerangi:

2021 finalists for APRA Best Original Music In A Film Award | Tohu Pūmanawa:

Multi-award-winning screen composer, Karl Steven, returns as a finalist this year for his work on the highly-anticipated series, Black Hands. Adapted from the hugely successful podcast of the same name that digs deep into the murder of the Bain family, an unresolved case that remains prominent in New Zealand crime. Karl Steven captures the nail-biting scenes with unsettling string arrangements for optimal edge-of-your-seat viewing.

Wellington screen composer and music producer Rhian Sheehan, is being recognised this year for his score on local series, The Sounds. Set in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, this New Zealand/Canadian co-production ticks all the boxes for an addictive mystery thriller, created by acclaimed New Zealand novelist Sarah-Kate Lynch. Rhian Sheehan is an award-winning composer known for his unique fusion of emotive instrumental atmospheric-post-rock with ambient electronica and modern chamber music.

Previous 2015 winner in the Best Original Music in a Series category, Tom McLeod returns for his captivating score work on documentary/podcast series Fight for the Wild. This four-part series explores the notion of a Predator Free 2050 and the efforts that are being made in hopes of achieving the bold initiative. Paired with beautiful scenes of Aotearoa's unmatched landscape and native wildlife, McLeod highlights the beautiful yet confronting scenes and dialogue of this thought-provoking series weaving natural sounds and taonga pūoro into the subtle score.

New Zealand composer, music producer and guitarist Arli Liberman creates vibrant, immersive musical experiences for feature and documentary soundtracks. His work on hard-hitting local film Savage has earned Arli a deserved spot as a finalist this year. The film dives into the brutality of NZ gang life, a confronting coming-of-age narrative inspired by true stories and written by Porirua-based director Sam Kelly.

Composer and orchestrator, Ewan Clark, has been nominated for his score on thriller/horror film The Turn of the Screw. Adapted from the classic 1898 novella by Henry James, the film follows an unsuspecting actor whose role in a ghostly production becomes all too real. Turn of the Screw won Ewan Clark Best Music in a Feature Film at the Istanbul Film Awards in 2020 and Best Original Score at Canada’s 4th Annual Terror in the Bay Film Festival.
Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper follows previous film category win and multiple nominations with his thrilling score on Shadow in the Cloud. This action-packed horror film is set in the throes of WWII following Captain Maude Garrett who joins an all-male crew of B-17 bombers. The events that unfold are packed with mystery, horror, and paranoia, perfectly amplified by Mahuia’ s incredible score.

The judges for the 2020 APRA Screen Awards were Graeme Revell, Grayson Gilmour, Lauren King, and Peter van der Fluit.

All awards will be presented at Spark Arena, Auckland on Thursday October 14th 
The awards are proudly supported by NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho. With thanks to Hallertau.


For any media enquiries including interview and image requests, please contact:

Lauren Clough | MaidenNZ | | + 64 21 223 6788

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Written by

Maiden NZ Entertainment

23 Aug 2021