Chamber orchestra or large ensemble

Concerto for chamber orchestra and solo harp

Karohirohi was commissioned by the NZSO, and is dedicated to harpist, Carolyn Mills who gave the first performance with the NZSO conducted by Alexander Lazarev in the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington on 21 June 2006.

About the work

Karohirohi — which means iridescent, shimmering, the sparkling of light on water — is the point of arrival rather than of departure in this piece.

Written for the forces of a classical symphony, Karohirohi draws on characteristics of classical form, and of classical concerto form, not so much in terms of exposition, development and recapitulation, nor in terms of the syntactical sentence and period structure (although these aspects are doubtless present), but more in the sense of classical style as it was perceived in the 18th century. At that time there was a gradual rather than an abrupt change away from the characteristics of Baroque music, and classical masterpieces drew on and seamlessly combined a variety of influences. In the background were the dance forms of the Baroque, but on to these were mapped remnants of older styles — learned style, such as fugue and imitation, styles from different genres, or forms of expression, such as brilliant or virtuoso style, singing style, or sensibility style, and even imitative styles, such as military fanfares and hunting calls.

Karohirohi, to my ears, like much music written today, is similarly eclectic, drawing on a range of references appropriate to this time and place. Its single movement incorporates various aspects of 3-movement concerto form, before dissipating in a coda.


Karohirohi is scored for: 2 (1+picc)222; 2200; timpani, strings, and solo harp.

Score and recording

Buy or borrow the score from SOUNZ.

Karohirohi — SOUNZ

Karohirohi is available on CD and can be bought from all good CD stores.

Alice — CD

RNZ Concert recorded Karohirohi in 2006.

Karohirohi — audio