Chris Gendall


Originally from Hamilton, New Zealand, Chris Gendall studied composition at Victoria University of Wellington before completing a doctoral degree at Cornell University with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky. He has participated in a number of festivals and conferences including the Wellesley Composers’ Conference, the Aspen Music Festival, the Britten-Pears Contemporary Composition programme, the Royaumont Voix nouvelles Composition Course, and the Aldeburgh Festival – bringing him in contact with such figures as Magnus Lindberg, Brian Ferneyhough, Mario Davidovsky, Oliver Knussen, and Anders Hillborg. He has held residencies at Orchestra Wellington and at the New Zealand School of Music, and he is the Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago for 2016 and 2017.

Chris Gendall’s works have received performances in Europe, Asia, North and South America, from such performers as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Stroma, NZTrio, the New Juilliard Ensemble and the New Zealand String Quartet. Select works are published by the Waiteata Music Press, Peer Music Hamburg and Promethean Editions, and recorded on the Atoll and Rattle Record Labels. His work Wax Lyrical was the winner of the 2008 SOUNZ Contemporary Award.

Composer website:

Featured Works

Incident Tableaux Part One, for orchestra.

Excerpted from the one-act chamber opera, based on a real-life incident in 1943 in which 48 Japanese Prisoners of War were killed in Featherston, New Zealand, after a cluster of cross-cultural confusion and miscommunication. All events surrounding the incident were kept secret until well after the war had finished: the Prisoner-of-War camp’s existence was hidden from the New Zealand public, and the official military report on the incident was riddled with ambiguities.

Featured in New Zealand Waves (Special Edition 2018)