Jeremy Mayall

Composer-in-Residence, University of Otago - Dunedin, New Zealand

Key Info

  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Music
  • Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship

Jeremy very nearly became a lawyer.

After finishing Hamilton Boys’ High School, Jeremy applied for a scholarship to study law – but never quite finished his application. “I had to write a one-page essay on why I wanted to become a lawyer. I tried to write the thing for two weeks – I couldn’t even make up a reason why I wanted to do it. So I decided to pursue something I was more passionate about”.

Just as well he did. Since beginning his Bachelor of Music in 2004, and later graduating with his PhD, Jeremy has amassed a serious amount of accolades as a performer and composer.

A Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, Jeremy was the Wallace Corporation Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year in both 2005 and 2011 and an inaugural winner of the Hillary Medal in 2006. Since 2014 he’s been the composer-in-residence at the University of Otago – a “dream position”, he says.

Stand-out moments from university for Jeremy are mostly ones where he was performing. “I’ve been lucky enough to have had my music performed by some excellent musicians. A highlight was my ‘Symphony No. 1’, which was the first orchestral symphony to include hip-hop turntablism, and it was played by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia”.

“Without my degree I wouldn’t have developed the skill-set or the portfolio of work required to take up a composer residency. Hopefully now that I’ve also completed my PhD, I’ll be able to move toward a future career at a tertiary institute as a lecturer where I can share my knowledge and continue working on my creative practice.”

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