Russell Scoones | Composer, musician & music therapist

I was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1961 and am currently living in Auckland where I am involved in a variety of music activities. These include professional music therapy work at the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, music sessions for pre-schoolers and carers in cafes in Auckland, contemporary dance collaborations for performance and I write songs and play in The Verandahs, an indie/folk/rock band.

I learnt guitars at a young age and progressed to singing and writing songs for rock bands in the mid 1970's. By the 1980's I was touring Australia with Landing Party and The Modules, as well as performing with New Zealand actor and performance poet Peter Tait in Not Dead Yet.

In 1987 I returned to Dunedin to study composition with Antony Ritchie at the University of Otago and classical guitar with Sue Court. Collaborations with theatre director John Hudson at this time included Te Aomarama, Glimpse and the Rocky Quarry Show. My own theatre work, the song cycle Poems to Eat based on the Tanka poems of Ishikawa Takuboku toured New Zealand theatres in 1990 with my percussion duo Smith Vs Smith. My early dance collaborations began at this time with Carol Brown, Bronwyn Judge and Shona Dunlop MacTavish.

I began holding music workshops at Cherry Farm Psychiatric Hospital in 1988 and was then employed in 1991 to help establish Artsenta, an arts workshop in Dunedin for people with psychiatric disabilities following the closure of the hospital.

After receiving a Creative NZ study grant in 1992 I travelled to London to complete a diploma in Arts Administration and I continued to work with music, disability and dance based in London for the next 18 years. In 1996 I co-foundered Carol Brown Dances and collaborated with Carol on many dance pieces including Ocean Skin, Flesh Txt, Like A House On Fire and the BBC2 dance film The Lift, as well as the installation works Shelf Life and Nerve. In 2006 I composed the score for Aarero Stone, a commissioned work for the Wellington International Festival of the Arts. Many of these performances have toured internationally throughout Europe, Scandinavia, USA, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Until June 2007 I was artistic director of Planet People, a collection of musicians and composers with learning disabilities based in Surrey, UK. Planet People's extraordinary dance film Our Moving World was screened at the 7th London Disability Film Festival at London's National Film Theatre. In 2007 Planet People completed the music composition for GLOW, a dance performance to celebrate the opening of The Lightbox Art Gallery in Woking, Surrey.

In 2008 I completed my Post Graduate studies from Roehampton University, London to qualify as a Music Therapist. I have since been employed by Orchard Hill College in Sutton, UK, but following a move to Auckland, New Zealand in 2009 I now work with the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre.

Dance collaborations with Carol Brown continued. In 2010 we created SLIP for Auckland's Touch Compass Dance Company which has been included in three seasons of performances, the last time at Q Theatre in July. A large scale street work Tongues of Stone was presented in Perth, WA, in 2011 as well as Mnemosyne a performance archive that was performed at the Prague Quadrenielle. Also in 2011 we performed Revolve with media designer Anne Nemitz at the Christchurch Body Festival.In March 2013 we collaborated with Dorita Hannah to create 1000 Lovers for Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

I began running fun, interactive music sessions for pre-schoolers in London in 2008 and continue to enjoy this work in Auckland at ONE 2 ONE CAFE and GARNET STATION. A CD of new original children's songs LET'S GO HOME was released in December 2012.

The Verandahs is an original band that I have been singing, play guitar, harmonica and writing songs for since 2010. We perform occasionally and hope to release a CD in 2013.

I live in Grey Lynn, Auckland NZ with choreographer Carol Brown where we are bringing up our sons Rafe and Cassidy.

RS-Studio: Russell Scoones by RS R-n-R: Credit: Russell and Rafe. Photo by Fiona Dunlop Russell Scoones Piano. Russell by RS

Children's music. See it here Let's Go Home Buy the album here: Let's Go Home

THE VERANDAHS Like us on facebook The Verandahs. Someday One Day see it here The Verandahs Someday One Day

1000 Lovers. See an excerpt here 1000 Lovers

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