2011 Music


Chamber ensemble (2-7 players)

For violin and piano

Tōrua was commissioned by Hilary Hahn for her 2010 encores project. She approached 27 composers asking for a piece under 5 minutes for acoustic violin and piano. She premiered my work with Valentina Lisitsa (piano) at the Constella Festival in Cincinnati, USA on 13 October 2011.

About the work

Tōrua, translated from the Māori language has several meanings — it signifies a change in wind or current, it is the name given to a weaving pattern, and in its third meaning of ‘twofold’ or ‘double thickness’ suggests the idea of duet.

Tōrua was written in the wake of the destructive Christchurch earthquake in February, 2011.

Hilary Hahn interviewed each of the composers about the work they wrote for her.

Hilary Hahn and Gillian Whitehead — interview


The score and part are published by Boosey and Hawkes along with the other 26 encores commissioned by Hilary Hahn.

In 27 pieces: the Hilary Hahn encores — publication

Buy or borrow the score of Tōrua from SOUNZ.

Tōrua — SOUNZ


Hilary Hahn recorded all the works in this project for Deutsche Gramophon.

In 27 pieces: the Hilary Hahn encores — CD

The work has also been released on 2 other CDs played by other violinists.

11 Frames — CD

Shadows crossing water — CD

A video of Tōrua recorded in 2022 at the World Music Days is also available.

Tōrua — video

The river flows on …

Chamber ensemble (2-7 players), Collaborations

For piano trio and Cambodian trio

the river flows on… was commissioned for the O Cambodia project with funding from Creative New Zealand. The first performance was given on 17 March 2011 by NZTrio and Tray So Ensemble at the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival in the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber.

About the work

There is a Cambodian proverb — ‘the rowing boat passes, the river bank remains’ — which to me suggests that isolated events in history, or in a person’s life, eventually pass, while history, or life itself, flows on.

Within the O Cambodia project, I wanted to present a narrative which moves on from the Khmer Rouge times into the future, moving from the hard times that affected every Cambodian who is now over 35, into a profoundly altered world. As much curated as composed, the river flows on … includes several songs and dances in their traditional form.

The first section of the river flows on… is ‘Prophecy’, which presents an ancient saying whose source is not remembered today. The second section, ‘Sokha’s Story’, tells the story of Sokha Mey, who currently lives and works in Wellington. She was a young girl living with her family in a small village near Siem Reap when Lon Nol’s forces were defeated and the Khmer Rogue came to power. The final section, ‘the river flows on…’ places Sokha’s story into the future, where she was able to make a new life for herself in New Zealand.

I am forever grateful to the Niborom Young, Sokun Chiv and particularly Sokha Mey for their invaluable help.

About the project

The O Cambodia project, devised and driven by Jack Body, involved 2 Cambodian and 2 New Zealand composers — Chinary Ung, Him Sophy, Jack Body and me — collaborating to create 4 works to be performed by NZTrio and the Tray So Ensemble — Him Savy, spoken and sung voice, and drums; Him Sophy, tro and spoken voice; and Keo Dorivan, wind instruments.


The river flows on … is scored for violin, cello, piano, chhing bowl, narrator, soprano, khloy, drums, paipork and sneng.

Score and recordings

Contact me if you are interested in seeing the score.


Buy the CD from all good CD stores.

O Cambodia — CD

Listen to an RNZ recording from 2011.

The river flows on … — audio