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Composer Philip Norman

Classical, Music

Dr Philip Norman, CNZM

Composer, author, conductor, speaker and publisher Philip Norman has been entertaining New Zealand audiences for forty-five years. Beginning in the early 1970s with student operettas such as Stiff Luck for the Undertaker, his output of over 250 compositions ranges from orchestral overtures, suites, concertos and chamber music, through secular and sacred choral works to stage musicals with playwright Roger Hall including Dirty Weekends (a gardening musical), Love Off the Shelf (published by Samuel French, London), Footrot Flats (still New Zealand’s best selling musical), concertos for car horns and cake mixers, and six ballets including the highly successful Peter Pan ballet, with three national tours by the Royal New Zealand Ballet and two seasons by the West Australian Ballet.


Philip has a PhD in musicology. The book he wrote on New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn won the Montana Award for best biography in 2007. He was invested as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 ‘for services to music and music theatre’, and was the 2018/19 holder of the prestigious Creative New Zealand Michael King Writer’s Fellowship.


In his spare time Philip conducts an orchestra and a choir (Risingholme Orchestra and Jubilate Singers). He was a founding trustee of The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts which opened in 2016, and helped re-name the Christchurch Town Hall Auditorium the Douglas Lilburn Auditorium. He lives in Christchurch with his wife Alison, is the father of four children Oliver, Marcus, Isla and Caroline, and the co-custodian of a fun-loving cat and a mischievous mini lop rabbit.



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