Jack Richards is sponsoring an annual series of afternoon recitals in the Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne, featuring student performers from the New Zealand School of Music.
There will be six concerts scheduled throughout the year. These will be free events for Gisborne residents and are intended both to showcase the talents of NZSM students as well as to help expand the community outreach of the museum.
Following the enthusiastic reception of the piece for bassoon and piano Jack commissioned from Chinese composer Gao Ping, Jack has commissioned a further piece – a trio for piano, flute and bassoon. You can hear the bassoon and piano piece played on Saturday Jan 10th 2015 during the Tiromoana Summer Concert Series or here.
Sonidos Para La Vida (Sounds for Life) is a Guatemalan organization dedicated to changing the lives of boys and girls in risky situations. The principal mission is PREVENTION through MUSIC. Dr. Richards has provided a grant for the children in this program.
The children, from economically disadvantaged communities, are studying English with Jack’s support in Antigua. They also receive free music lessons from their teacher – Edwin Ruiz, who has worked with children for over 30 years.
The children recorded this thank you video for Jack.
Dr Richards supports the restoration of the Toko Toru Tapu Church at Manutuke near Gisborne. The church combines the external look of a colonial church with a Māori carved timber interior featuring carved and painted panels. It was built in 1913, replacing an earlier church on the same site.
You can read more about the project here and here and get updates here.
Jack Richards provides a grant to enable young people in economic difficulty take English courses at the Modern American English School in Antigua, Guatemala. The pictures show some of the recipients of recent grants, together with school director Patricia Ruiz (in pink!) and one of the MAES teachers.
“Composers are often dependent upon commissions to enable them to devote time to full-time work on significant pieces. Many famous works in the musical repertoire resulted from private commissions, and in recent years I have begun sponsoring a range of both small-scale as well as larger-scale works by New Zealand (or New Zealand-based) composers, in order to help them enrich the New Zealand musical landscape.”
Jack commissioned a piano concerto by leading New Zealand composer Gareth Farr. The first performance of the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on March 28, 2014, with pianist Tony Lee. Read a review of the concerto here.
Jack Richard’s home town of Gisborne, New Zealand, has a long tradition of excellence in Maori arts.
Many of the finest examples of carved and painted meeting houses (known as Marae) in New Zealand are located in the district, and the region is home to a number of nationally renowned Maori carvers, weavers, ceramists and specialists in other fields of Maori art.
The local Polytechnic in Gisborne has a school of contemporary Maori art, called Toihoukura. It offers a range of courses in contemporary Maori art and design. Tutors in the program are nationally recognized leaders in the field of contemporary Maori art.
In order to facilitate participation by Maori students in Toihoukura programs and to encourage the wider recognition of the quality of work produced by students in Toihoukura, Professor Richards offers annual scholarships to students in the program and sponsors special commissions and awards.
Dr. Richards is an active supporter of the Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne, and gives funds to support different aspects of the museum and its activities.
A major category of sponsorship involves funds to purchase examples of contemporary Maori art. These funds allow the museum to purchase one work every year from the annual exhibition of works by students in the Toihokura program at the Gisborne polytechnic.
Dr Richards also donates other works to add to the museum’s permanent collection. Recent donations include works by Sandy Adsett, Bay Riddell, Steve Gibbs, and Rongo Tuhura. He has made a substantial grant towards the cost of redesigning the entrance to the Tairawhit Museum.