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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » M » McLeod, Jenny



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Jenny McLeod

Jenny McLeod was born in 1941 in Wellington, New Zealand, and studied in the 1960s with Douglas Lilburn at Victoria University of Wellington, then in Paris with Messiaen and in Cologne with Stockhausen. An early avant-garde chamber work, For Seven, had some success over the years in Europe, Britain, the United States and New Zealand. Formerly Professor of Music at Victoria University, Jenny McLeod has composed piano, vocal, choral, chamber and orchestral works, film and television scores, as well as three large music-theatre ‘spectaculars’ for schools and amateurs—Earth and Sky (1968), Under the Sun (1970), and the Wellington Sun Festival (1983)—an ‘outdoor harbour extravaganza’. McLeod has had a long association with the New Zealand Maori people (a number of her texts are wholly or partly in Maori) and was a pioneer mover in the nation’s later burgeoning biculturalism. She is also known for her work with the ‘tone clock’ theory, a chromatic harmonic theory formulated by the Dutch composer Peter Schat (1935–2003) whom she first met in Kentucky in 1987. Her more recent output includes three song cycles to poems by iconic New Zealand writer the late Janet Frame, one of which cycles (The Poet, for chamber choir and string quartet) was chosen to represent New Zealand at the 2009 International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. In the 1996 Queen’s Birthday honours she was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and in 2008 received the CANZ (Composers’

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