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Composing student awarded $10,000

16 May 2018

Abby Pinkerton

Abby Pinkerton

Musician Abby Pinkerton is $10,000 better off thanks to a 2018 Freemason’s Scholarship. Abby, a composer, is studying for a  Master of Music at the University of Waikato.

The money makes further musical opportunities more accessible, she says. “It will help me gain more experience and exposure for my music. I'm now no longer limited by cost in terms of having my works performed and recorded, or having to purchase necessary equipment. It frees me up to do things that I otherwise wouldn't be able to and will hopefully open the door to some very valuable experiences this year.”

Abby has been learning music most of her life but it wasn’t until she got to Waikato University that she focussed on composition. “Piano has always been my main instrument, but I wanted to see where music could take me outside of solo performance. I’m now playing percussion for local community groups including the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra, and have just started learning the violin. All of this helps to grow my experience as a composer. ”

For her Masters Abby has to produce a composition portfolio. It will include six works. “In the last couple of years I have had a focus on writing for taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments) within a Western chamber music setting. I’m continuing with that this year with a collaborative and slightly experimental piece for taonga pūoro and cello, exploring different ways to bring together these two different musical traditions.”

She also writes for local community groups and is working on a large-scale piece for viola and piano, a song cycle for choir, and a set of nine piano pieces for students. “My overall project will also include extensive research and analyses relating to each piece,” she says.

The Freemasons have been awarding scholarships to students all over New Zealand for 40 years. They are given to students who have consistently high grades through their study years and who also have a strong record of community service. Each year there’s one $10,000 postgraduate award and three $6000 awards presented to each university. The other 2018 Waikato recipients are management student Nicholas Broome who is studying financial economics and game theory for his masters degree, Apriel Jolliffe Simpson who is studying social sciences with twin interests in psychology and sociology, while Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel (Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahu and Ngāi Te Rangi) is studying for a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science majoring in te reo Māori and biological sciences.

89 Freemasons web
Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel, Apriel Jolliffe Simpson, Nick Broome and Abby Pinkerton, winners of 2018 Freemason scholarships.