Chissy Taonga Puoro Group Shines in Collaborative Performance with CSO & Riki Pirihi

Written by Pieta Hextall

In a stunning fusion of cultural and musical traditions, the Chissy Taonga Puoro Group recently participated in a groundbreaking project with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and renowned composer and conductor Riki Pirihi. This collaborative effort, guided by Riki Pirihi (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Māhanga), brought together the rich musical histories and vocabularies of taonga pūoro and Western classical music in a world premiere performance.

Riki Pirihi (of Fat Freddy’s Drop), an Aotearoa music legend and expert conductor, led this unique project with his extensive knowledge and innovative approach. Both musicians and the conductor worked together to compose music in real-time, using a series of signs and gestures to guide their collective expression. This method allowed for an unparalleled freedom of creativity, resulting in a truly dynamic and organic musical experience.

Our Taonga Puoro Group, mentored by the talented Mahina Kingi-Kaui, had the privilege of being part of this momentous occasion. The students engaged in an enlightening workshop where they learned the art of real-time composition, embracing the spontaneity and collaborative spirit of the project.

The culmination of this workshop was an open concert for the public, held at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū. The evening was a resounding success, as the harmonious blend of taonga pūoro and Western classical instruments captivated the audience. The performance was a testament to the beauty and power of cross-cultural musical collaboration.

Chissy Music extends its deepest gratitude to Riki Pirihi, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and Mahina Kingi-Kaui for their invaluable guidance and support. This event not only showcased the incredible talents of our students but also highlighted the rich cultural heritage of Aotearoa music. We look forward to more such inspiring collaborations in the future.

Catch our Taonga Puoro group at our next concert with Resonance Ensemble at the Piano for Matariki!

By Pieta Hextall