Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead - Composer

Ngāi Terangi | DNZM, MNZM

A prolific composer, Gillian Whitehead’s continuous stream of works includes operas, orchestral works, choral pieces, vocal and instrumental chamber compositions, solo works, pieces involving taonga puoro and compositions including improvisation.

Fourteen years in Britain and Europe firmly established Gillian’s international reputation.

Returning to her Maori and southern hemisphere roots in 1981, and began a 15-year teaching career at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Gillian took extended periods of leave without pay to focus on composition. Today she lives on the Otago Peninsula in Dunedin, devoting herself entirely to writing and is acclaimed as one of the most important composers in Australasia.