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GEORGINA PALMER

Georgina Palmer is a New Zealand composer, currently in her third year of study at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Her notable career highlights to date include winning the 2020 SOUNZ NZCF Choral Composition Competition, winning the 2022 Audrey Reid Orchestra Composition Prize, having a work performed by the National Youth Brass Band of NZ, and having a work performed in the Celebrating Global Harmony Through Music concert at Carnegie Hall in December 2022. Most recently, she was the Emerging Composer for the 2023 At The World's Edge Classical Music Festival in Queenstown, NZ. Scroll down to read her full biography.

Georgina Palmer is a New Zealand composer, currently in her third year of tertiary composition study at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

She began piano lessons in 2008 at the age of six and began composing during her first year of piano studies, performing her first solo piano work in a local arts competition at the age of seven.

Throughout school Georgina was actively involved in music. She began learning violin at the end of Year 9 and was a member of a variety of school music ensembles, including choirs, jazz bands, rock bands and multiple chamber music groups. In 2018, her Waimea College chamber group won the Nelson regional Chamber Music New Zealand competition, leading to a performance at the South Island finals in Christchurch later that year. Since changing secondary schools in 2019—to Nelson College for Girls—Georgina became more interested in composing for a greater variety of ensembles and contexts including film/television, orchestras and choirs. She continues to compose for a large variety of ensembles alongside her university composition coursework.

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In August 2020, Georgina won the SOUNZ Big Sing Choral Composition Competition for New Zealand secondary school students with her work A Music Everywhere. Originally composed for two violins and piano, her school music teacher (Myles Payne) suggested the addition of vocal lines after he found inspiration in a poem about music by Bessie Rayner Parkes. About A Music Everywhere, prominent New Zealand composer David Hamilton wrote, “This is a very mature piece of writing…the piece is never less than engaging and interesting. Lovely melodic lines for all voices. This would be a joy to sing.” The work had its debut performance at the Nelson College for Girls prizegiving on 11th November 2020, and was recorded by the same performers the following month (this recording has since been played on RNZ Concert – New Zealand’s leading classical music radio station). A Music Everywhere was then performed at the Blessing of The Fleet in Nelson on 15th May 2021, the recording of which was used in Stuff’s subsequent online video about the event. The work was part of a portfolio of three works which Georgina submitted for the NZQA Scholarship Music awards in late 2020; she received an Outstanding result—the highest possible mark nationwide.

In mid-2021, Georgina (along with Liam Furey and Robin Watson) was commissioned by Rakuto Kurano to write a work for violin and piano for his DUPLEXITY tour, which was due to take place in August 2021 but was then postponed until March 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since then, the work (A Day In The Village) has been featured in several other performances around New Zealand.

On 13th August 2021, Nelson College for Girls hosted their annual mid-winter music concert at the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts, at which A Music Everywhere – along with two new compositions (Upon Clee Hill and The Ducks) – was performed.

In December 2021, she received a Distinction for her ATCL Diploma on Piano, and she completed her TCL Grade 6 Percussion and TCL Grade 6 Violin exams that same year. She also has ABRSM Grade 5 Theory and TCL Grade 6 Theory.

Before moving away for university, Georgina was heavily involved with NBS Nelson City Brass, an A-grade competitive brass band in the Nelson/Tasman region of New Zealand. After being invited to the development band in 2019, she soon advanced to the competitive band where she played tuned percussion and timpani. The band placed fifth overall at the 2021 National Brass Band Championships in Christchurch. In both 2020 and 2021, Georgina successfully auditioned for the National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand (NYBB), an annual week-long course in January for brass/percussion musicians under 24 years old. Georgina was also commissioned by the NYBB to arrange A Music Everywhere for brass band for their Lower North Island concert tour in January 2022.

In 2022, Georgina did her first year of music studies University of Otago, doing a Bachelor of Music majoring in both composition and piano performance. In the first semester, she won the Audrey Reid Composition Prize of $1000 with her work A Grand Adventure, originally written in 2020 and revised for the competition. It was performed in a special concert at the Dunedin Town Hall on 24th September 2022, with a combined ensemble comprising Dunedin Youth Orchestra and Christchurch Youth Orchestra musicians (she was also a percussionist for the Dunedin Youth Orchestra). Additionally, on her 20th Birthday, Saint Kilda Brass Band performed the brass band arrangement of A Music Everywhere in a concert at Dunedin’s King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre.

Upon Clee Hill was performed by the Plymouth (Indiana) High School Orchestra at Carnegie Hall (New York City, USA) on 29th December 2022 as part of the Friendship Lasts Forever concert, celebrating both young and old composers from all over the world.

In February 2023, Georgina transferred to the University of Melbourne (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music – MCM) to continue her composition studies, whilst continuing with piano and percussion studies recreationally. In April 2023, she played percussion for the Darebin-Preston Brass Band at the Australian National Brass Band Championships in Newcastle, NSW, where they came third place in the A-grade contest. Later that year, she (along with fellow MCM classmate Bryn Renard) was the recipient of the Sutherland Trio Composition Award, resulting in the performance of her piano trio, Emerge, at Tempo Rubato on 1st September 2023. She also had her conducting debut in a small concert with the Newport Strings Group, in which Upon Clee Hill and Adrenaline.

In October 2023, Georgina attended the fortnight-long AWE (At the World’s Edge) classical music festival in Queenstown, New Zealand as the Emerging Composer-In-Residence. After being selected for the residency in May that year, she composed a new work – Maramataka – for French Horn, violin and cello under the mentorship of prominent New Zealand composer Salina Fisher (via Zoom). The work was debuted at the festival by acclaimed London-based French Horn player Ben Goldscheider, along with the festival’s Emerging Artists Lorna Zhang (violin) and Damon Herlihy-O’Brien (cello). She regards her time at the festival as one of the most important experiences of her blossoming composing career to date, given the wealth of networking and personal development opportunities that came with the residency.

Georgina's grandmother, Joan Palmer, a retired music teacher who has played a pivotal role in Georgina's musical upbringing, celebrated her 80th birthday in December 2023. Upon Clee Hill, which is dedicated to Georgina's grandparents, was performed in St Laurence's Church, Ludlow (near the location of Clee Hill, Shropshire, UK), in celebration of the occasion.

In March 2024, Georgina ran several free online workshops for prospective MCM students, informing them of what study music at a tertiary level is like and providing these school-leavers with the opportunity to ask current students any questions they may have. The project, which was generously supported by The University of Melbourne IgniteLab Grants programme, was a success, and Georgina hopes to help more prospective students in the future.

 

In April 2024, Georgina worked with three MCM colleagues to produce a new music concert, comma means breathe, highlighting the relationship between words, music, and local young adults’ perspectives on the world. Her main contribution to this concert was To Be At Peace, a short chamber work that uses text from fellow MCM students and explores themes around safety and comfort among youth. Shortly after the comma means breathe performance, Georgina was involved in the annual Montsalvat Choral Festival Young Composers’ programme, for which she composed The Gift To Sing for The Casey Choir.

 

For the past four months, Georgina has been interning at Melbourne classical radio station 3MBS as a production assistant. Exploring the broadcasting and administration side of the music industry has been a delight for her, especially when given the opportunity to be interviewed by the station (and, later, by her New Zealand local classical radio station, RNZ Concert).

 

Georgina has commissions for a variety of ensembles and performance contexts underway, and is excited to share more of her work online and in performances in the near future.

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