Sebastian Black

Chris Ward

Le Manaia Ponifasio



14 March 6pm

■ post performance talk



Prodigious international concert pianist and composer Sebastian Black has been in New Zealand since the first lockdown. On the eve of his return to the UK, he will perform a series of major classical works inside a former factory warehouse in Porirua.

A factory is the site of two competing systems of dominant modern economic thought - capitalism vs socialism. The factory floor is also where many migrant workers from the Pacific islands labored to create their communities and life in New Zealand.

The concert will be an encounter of music born from the European Renaissance with engineered sounds produced through computerized technology by BAFTA award winner and Academy-nominated New Zealand sound designer Chris Ward.

The performance will be accompanied by readings of Das Kapital by Karl Marx who argues that capitalism can only be achieved by bourgeoisie exploitation of the working classes. The German text of Das Kapital will be read by Le Manaia Ponifasio.




■ John Dowland, set by William Byrd Pavana Lachrymæ

■ Franz Liszt La Lugubre Gondola I

■ Alban Berg Piano Sonata

■ Claude Debussy La Cathédrale engloutie from Preludes Book I

■ Thomas Adès, after John Dowland Darknesse Visible


Sebastian is a New Zealand-British musician who was born in 1996 in Colchester, UK. His music has been commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, the BBC, Mahler Foundation for Het Concertgebouw, Cambridge University and New Music North West. Aged only 14, Kollaps, for clarinet and electronics, received its premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in 2010. This was followed by Five Lorca Settings (Jesus College, Cambridge, 2011), Notturno (Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 2012), and Narcissus (Chetham’s  Manchester, 2013). More recent works have included a song cycle, Chrysalis (Christ Church, Oxford, 2015, subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3), a work for large orchestra, Idyll-Cortège (Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, 2017) and Grand Pas de Cinq (Lontano Ensemble, London, 2018). In 2010, he won the BBC Young Composers’ Competition as one of the youngest ever winners. He completed a masters in 2019 with Sir George Benjamin at King’s College London, and was awarded the Hilda Margaret Watts Prize for the highest masters mark. He graduated in 2017 from the University of Oxford with a high first-class degree in music. Previously he studied at Chetham’s School of Music, and privately with Joseph Phibbs. Forthcoming projects include the (postponed) premiere of The Mosaique of the Aire, originally commissioned by the Mahler Foundation for Het Concertgebouw’s Mahler Festival 2020 in Amsterdam.





Chris Ward was seven when he watched Star Wars - A New Hope at the movies. Sitting there in the dark he decided that he was going to make sound for movies when he was older. His Dad said, “I think they only do that in America”. Watching Steven Spielberg's ET three years later, in the same small-town cinema, Chris realised - “The music is telling me how I am supposed to feel”. Recognising the influence that Music and Sound can have over our emotional states and wellbeing then inspired a life long adventure into all things Audio.

Fast forward to the present where Chris is a life member with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his contributions to Film Sound over the past 25 years. With over 50 film credits working alongside the industries top directors, actors, producers, sound designers and composers, Chris has dedicated his life to helping others tell their stories through sound. His work has been nominated for an Oscar and two BAFTAs and celebrated internationally by The Motion Picture Sound Editors guild and Cinema Audio Society. His Dad is the first to admit that he was wrong.

The adventure continues everyday and has afforded Chris opportunities to work in Theatre, Film, Music Recording and Production, Video Games, VR, AR, and other emerging technologies, Theme Park Rides, Museum and Art installations, Sound FX Recording, Live Sound for Concert and Events, as well as contributions to research in developing technologies, software, and engineering. He has a passion for sharing these experiences, to inspire the next generation of listeners, while continually pursuing new methods to master his craft.