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May 14, 2007 | by  | in News | [ssba]

R.I.P. David Farquhar

An enormous contributor to New Zealand music, and particularly Vic’s School of Music, passed away last Tuesday.

Composer and Professor David Farquhar was born in Cambridge in 1928 and began composing at age 11. He studied compostition at Victoria and Canterbury Universities before completing his Masters in England at Cambridge University.

Upon returning to New Zealand, he took up a teaching position at Victoria, where he was a Professor of Music for 17 years.

Professor Farquhar was best known for his piece ‘Ring Round the Moon’, written for the New Zealand Players theatre group. He also had the privilege of presenting his piece ‘A Unicorn for Christmas’ to Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to New Zealand in 1962. He retired from the position of Professor of Music in 1993.

A university colleague, Jack Body, described his work as having as defining characteristics clarity of expression, lightness of touch, and a perennial youthfulness.

In 2004 he was recognized for his contribution to New Zealand Music by becoming a companion of the Order of Merit.

Tizard says he will be remembered as one of New Zealand’s finest composers.

Professor Farquhar’s first wife, Raydia d’Elsa, well-known as an actor, painter, sculptor, and poet, died in 2001.

He is survived by his children, Julian and Kate, and second wife, Marjorie Nees.

Jenna Powell with reporting from Radio NZ


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