Okta is the specialist contemporary music ensemble of the University of Waikato. It was founded in 2001 by composers Martin Lodge and Michael Williams, with the inaugural concert taking place in May 2002. Okta’s home is the Gallagher Concert Chamber in the WEL Academy of Performing Arts complex, located beside one of the lakes on the University’s Hamilton campus.
Okta takes its name from an old transliteration of the Greek word for eight. In traditional numerology, the number seven signifies completeness, including the four elements plus the three spiritual essences. Number eight – okta - consequently signifies a new beginning but also an embracing of the past.
Okta presents a wide spectrum of artistic styles and approaches in its concert events and its programming deliberately encompasses divergent aesthetic positions. Repertoire performed ranges from established twentieth century classics to very recent work, with a special emphasis on the inclusion of multimedia pieces and work involving computer technology.
Okta’s core performers are Music staff and students. The ensemble also is pleased to welcome guest performers who to date include Jessica Shaw, Mario Walsh, Richard Nunns, Ingrid Culliford, William Dowdall and the double bass section of the Auckland Philharmonia. Guest ensembles have included Ensemble Selisih from Germany.
Composers and multimedia artists performed by Okta to date:
John Adams, Rachael Barnes, Daniel Beban, Daniel Belton, Luciano Berio, Jack Body, Helen Bowater, Phil Brownlee, John Cage, Edwin Carr, Alexandra Chan, Chris Cree Brown, George Crumb, David Downes, David Farquhar, Brian Ferneyhough, Susan Frykberg, Kazuo Fukushima, Charley Gerard, Anna Griffiths, David Griffiths, André Hajdu, David Hamilton, Ryohei Hirose, Ben Hoadley, Janet Jennings, Nigel Keay, Dorothy Ker, Libby Larsen, György Ligeti, Douglas Lilburn, Jeremy Mayall, Martin Lodge, Jenny McLeod, Tigran Mansurian, Stephen Matthews, Peter Maxwell-Davies, Hirini Melbourne, Olivier Messiaen, Rachael Morgan, Richard Nunns, Daniel Peters, Steve Reich, Erik Satie, Sergei Shemalenkov, Daniel Stabler, Igor Stravinsky, Toru Takemitsu, Jenny Thomas, Joseph Turrin, Phillippa Ulenberg, Chris Watson, Paul van Wering, Ian Whalley, Gillian Whitehead, Michael F. Williams, Edgard Varèse.
Premieres - August 2012
Toru - May 2012
Strictly No Admittance - October 2011
Dances Mercurial - May 2011
Miscela Innovatrice - Innovative Blend - September 2010
Music at the Edge - In Surround Sound! - May 2010
A View Forward - September 2009
Ensemble Selisih (from Freiburg, Germany) - August 2009
Poles Apart - July 2009
The ANZAC Dimension - May 2008