Salina Fisher


Salina Fisher’s work explores the musical traditions of New Zealand and Japan, with experiments in timbre, colour, and temporal space. Her music has been performed throughout New Zealand and internationally, with performances by ensembles including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand String Quartet, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Stroma, NZSO National Youth Orchestra, St Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra (USA), Vimadean Duo (Russia), Emily Carr String Quartet (Canada), Mimosa Ensemble, and Lazarus String Quartet (Germany).

In 2016 Salina became the youngest ever winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award for her orchestral work Rainphase, written as the NZSO National Youth Orchestra Composer-in-Residence. She won the prestigious award again in 2017 for her string quartet Tōrino – echoes on pūtōrino improvisations by Rob Thorne, which was also selected to represent New Zealand at the ISCM World Music Days in Vancouver, November 2017. Her score for the New Zealand short film Misimpressions won ‘Best Score’ at the 2017 Canberra Short Film Festival.

As a violinist, Salina has frequently performed in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and was Concertmaster of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra in 2012-13. Salina studied Composition and Violin at the New Zealand School of Music with teachers including John Psathas and Michael Norris. She is currently studying towards a Master of Music in Composition at Manhattan School of Music, New York with composer/performer Susan Botti, on scholarships from Manhattan School of Music, Fulbright New Zealand, Creative New Zealand / Edwin Carr Foundation, and Dame Malvina Major Foundation.

Composer website: 

Featured Works

Tōrino – echoes on pūtōrino improvisations by Rob Thorne, for string quartet

Tōrino (meaning ‘spiral’) is based on my transcriptions of the pūtōrino playing of taonga pūoro musician Rob Thorne. The pūtōrino is a purely Māori instrument, and is unique in that it can function both as a ‘trumpet’ and ‘flute’. This results in two distinct voices: the deeper, mournful kōkiri o te tane (male voice), and the eerie, more agile waiata o te hine (female voice). The instrument’s shape is based on the New Zealand case moth cocoon and embodies Hine Raukatauri, the atua (goddess) of music.

Featured in New Zealand Waves (Special Edition 2018)