Geoff Pearce is a Kiwi who has spent about half of his life in Australia in two different periods.
Born in Leeston, near Christchurch, New Zealand in December 1955, he spent most of his childhood around the Ashburton area, developing a lasting interest in classical music and meeting his first oboe teacher, Ian Harris, who then played cor anglais with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
At eighteen, Geoff enrolled at Victoria University. He was taught by Ian Harris, Ron Webb and Luigi Ferletti, and completed a Bachelor of Music in 1977. He also taught oboe, worked as a freelance with the NZSO, Wellington Regional Orchestra and Scola Musica, and was a member of the Wellington Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra.
In 1978 and 1979 he played first oboe with the Dunedin Civic Orchestra, also continuing to teach, and then went first to Adelaide to study with Jiri Tancibudek and later to Sydney to play in the ABC Sinfonia and study with Guy Henderson and Josef Hanik.
In 1989 he returned to New Zealand, resuming freelance professional playing with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and teaching oboe and playing chamber music in his spare time.
In 1997 he travelled again to Australia, working for a while in non-musical areas, but has now resumed oboe playing and teaching, and currently lives in Sydney. He loves teaching and has more than forty years of oboe teaching experience. To keep himself current, he has also resumed oboe lessons with Josef Hanik.
Articles by Geoff Pearce
Music for strings by Alfonso Romero Asenjo intrigues Geoff Pearce. 'It showcases the composer's skill in writing for strings, and at the same time one can sense his development as a composer.'
Music for horn and piano. '... two superb musicians enjoying themselves in music which is not well-known ...'
Geoff Pearce listens to music for viola, played by Matthew Lipman. '... a delight for the listener and aficionados of the viola.'
Geoff Pearce listens to music for solo instruments and orchestra. 'The performance is very tight and exciting.'
Rhapsodies for Piano and Orchestra by Matej Meštrović. '... lovers of music that is tuneful and that does not require deep thought will really enjoy this disc.'
Music for oboe and cor anglais by Phil Salathé. 'This composer is technically assured, and has a unique perspective and voice.'
Schoenberg piano music. 'Yoko Hirota's performances here are truly exceptional ...'
Mariss Janssons conducts Bruckner's Symphony No 9. 'The precision, attention to detail, warmth and depth of sound really set this recording apart from the pack.'
Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music by John McCabe and David Ellis. '... superb performances delivered by the Camerata Ensemble.'
New works for large orchestra. 'All pieces on this disc are varied and the performances are satisfying.'
Music for vibraphone and wind quintet. 'There is some great vibraphone and bassoon work here ...'
Kamyar Mohajer's 'Pictures of the Hidden' engages Geoff Pearce. 'The performers here are superb.'
John McCabe's 'lost' Australian recording, commended. 'The music is unfamiliar, but interesting, full of surprises and variety, and the fine piano playing is insightful and committed.'
Orchestral music by Henri Dutilleux intrigues Geoff Pearce. 'The performances by soloists and orchestra are absolutely first class. Dutilleux should be heard much more than he is ...'
Orchestral music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg. 'Serenade Op 47 No 4 ... represents a happier and undemanding part of the composer's output, written, I guess, to appease the authorities.'
Todd Crow's Chopin Mazurkas. 'This disc contains some very fine performances ...'
Orchestral music by Harbison, Ruggles and Stucky. 'On hearing this work, you will thirst for more.'
Orchestral music by Svend Erik Tarp delights Geoff Pearce. '... this disc left me thirsting for more from this composer, and from Scandinavian music generally.'
Music for string quartet by Lyell Cresswell interests Geoff Pearce. 'The Red Note Ensemble, a Scottish group specialising in new music, gives taut, precise performances, played with conviction.'
Music by Paul Reale. '... the musical material evolves as it goes ...'
Twentieth century Polish songs. '... a fascinating journey into the evolving compositional style of Karol Szymanowski ...'
Jenny Q Chai explores sound and colour, impressing Geoff Pearce. 'The pianist is assured, exciting to listen to and totally compelling.'
Music for wind quintet. 'The members of Ventus Machina enjoy this music, as is evident from their well-balanced and joyous playing.'
Early music from Northern Europe, highly recommended. 'These are truly great performances of less familiar music, and all musicians featured are of the finest quality.'
Trios by Schumann, Smit, Mozart and Françaix. 'Music is in fine hands for the future with young artists of this calibre.'
Music by Kara Karayev. '... I think this composer will become more widely known - he certainly deserves to be, if these two quite contrasting and original works are anything to go by.'
Music by Bartók for Piano and Orchestra. 'I would recommend this disc for a great recording of the Piano Concerto No 3 ...'
Martin and Martinu choral music pleases Geoff Pearce. '... beautiful music, lovingly performed ...'
Music by Erkki-Sven Tüür. '... for those who enjoy contemporary music, and like to hear something new and refreshing, Tüür ticks all the boxes.'
J S Bach's 'St John Passion'. 'All in all, this is a fine set ...'
Wind music by Frank Martin. 'The rhythmic precision is impressive, the solos are played confidently and the intonation and quality of timbre of all instruments is absolutely spot on.'
Symphonies by Johann Evangelist Brandl. '... a great disc of unfamiliar music, well played and directed ...'
Chamber music by John McCabe. 'This is a fantastic disc, both for the performances and also for this largely unfamiliar music.'
Orchestral music by Barbara Harbach. 'The musical language is easy on the ear, and to me hearkens back to an earlier age of American Composers such as Aaron Copland ...'
Orchestral works by Martin Georgiev. 'Direction and performances are first class, and for people who appreciate contemporary classical music, there is a lot to enjoy here.'
The Altius Quartet plays Shostakovich. 'I hope that the Altius Quartet goes on to record the whole cycle, and perhaps the Piano Quintets and Trios as well. This is a very fine ensemble of exciting young musicians.'
Nineteenth century music for bassoon and piano. 'For bassoonists, this disc is indispensable. Bravo.'
Woodwind music by Scott Pender. 'This is a fine, enjoyable disc, and the performers are all first class.'
Gustav Mahler's 'Das Klagende Lied'. '... a fine performance of a somewhat little-known work.'
'The Snow Queen' by Kenji Bunch. '... there are moments of terrifying power, and also of great tenderness.'
English music for solo guitar. 'If you love English guitar music, and the performances of Julian Bream in particular, you will truly enjoy this disc.'
Symphonies by László Lajtha, welcolmed. '... the performance and recording are truly first rate.'
Music for clarinet and piano. 'This great disc will bring joy to everyone who listens to it.'
Chamber music by Gerard Schurmann. 'This fine performance is taut, accurate and driven.'
Ravel at his very best. 'The orchestral sound is sumptuous and detailed, and the solo vocalists are all first class.'
Dmitri Shostakovich's complete concertos. '... unreservedly first class, not just for the technical prowess of the soloists and orchestra but also in the artistic vision of all involved.'
Symphonic music by Hendrik Andriessen. 'I am really impressed with the music and the performances on this disc ...'
Chamber music by Marteau and Zemlinsky. '... never boring, but full blooded and passionate. All the players have complex passages and are equal partners.'
New music for piano and Chinese folk instruments. '... quietly expansive and evocative ...'
Mozart chamber music, highly recommended. 'One cannot fault the playing on this lovely disc ...'
Choral music by Jan Jirásek. 'There are some absolutely ravishing vocal passages, and I can't say I have ever heard music quite like this before.'
American orchestral music. '... impassioned and committed performances.'
Symphonies by László Lajtha. 'The fine Pécs Symphony Orchestra responds well to the direction of Nicolás Pasquet.'
Orchestral music by George Antheil. '... the performances are committed and of high quality from all concerned, and the Chandos sound is sumptuous.'
Music by Geoffrey Hanson. 'Performances are superb and everyone is a standout.'
Vocal music by Vincent Persichetti. 'Both singers are fine and expressive, accurately expressing the emotional content of each song.'
Schoenberg's arrangements of Mahler songs impress Geoff Pearce. '... I found this version very interesting and overall, more intimate ...'
Chinese and American art song. 'Juliet Petrus has a very fine voice and whose vocal timbre really sits well with these songs ...'
Dvorák's Slavonic Dances played by the Czech Philharmonic. 'There is balance and lightness here, not achieved by many other orchestras.'
Svjatoslav Richter plays Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky. 'Remind yourself that these are live recordings from 1954-60 and you will enjoy this disc.'
The New York Philharmonic plays Christopher Rouse, highly recommended. '... a fantastic whirl of sound and energy, guaranteed to make the most jaded listener sit up on the edge of the seat.'
Kirill Kondrashin conducts Rachmaninov. 'The final few minutes are electrifying.'
Trio Koch plays Moszkowski, Milhaud and Martinu. '... the players show a superb understanding of the melodic line and harmonic structure ...'
J S Bach, Haydn and Mendelssohn keyboard concertos. '... beautifully played ...'
Music by Xiaogang Ye. '... superbly directed and played ...'
Vocal and choral music by Lennox and Michael Berkeley. '... thrilling performance.'
Som Howie's debut recital. '... a lovely expansive open sound ...'
Folk songs from the Red River Valley. 'The performances and arrangements are unpretentious ...'
Music by Frances White and Valeria Vasilevski. 'Hats off to the four creative forces behind this work. All are exemplary.'
Contemporary music from San José, heartily recommended. '... lovely, approachable music ...'
Sibelius from Munich. '... the orchestra responds superbly to Jansons.'
Wolf-Ferrari's 'The Jewels of the Madonna'. 'Special praise should be given to the musical director, Friedrich Haider ...'
Khachaturian from Dmitry Yablonsky and the Russian Philharmonic. 'The orchestra and conductor are superb, and committed to bringing out the very best of this music ...'
Randall Thompson's Requiem, highly recommended. '... the choral forces and direction are superb.'
Chamber music associated with Frans Preumayer. '... the performances ... were truly marvellous by all concerned.'
Bruckner's Ninth. '... it has all the power it needs. It moves forward and does not get bogged down ...'
Vadym Kholodenko plays Prokofiev. '... a majestic, lovely recording, full of colour and detail.'
Don Gillis' music for wind quintet. '... always well-crafted, easy to listen to and often fun.'
'Feuersnot' by Richard Strauss,. '... the orchestra was sumptuous.'
Orchestral music by Louis Babin. '... the string sound of the Moravian Philharmonic is warm and sumptuous.'
Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets. '... a gem of a disc ...'
Erwin Schulhoff for violin and piano, strongly recommended. '... this music really suits these two performers like a glove ...'
Sacred music by Georgy Sviridov. '... beautiful, pure and never forced or showy.'
Danish and Faroese recorder concerti. '... Michala Petri is a champion of this instrument.'
Schumann and Strauss from Grimaud and Zinman. '... a marvelous disc to add to your collection ...'
Sibelius' 'Pelléas et Mélisande'. '... Leif Segerstam shows his love of this music by letting it unfold naturally.'
Prokofiev symphonies. '... Karabits has a real empathy with Prokofiev ...'
Music by Pamela J Marshall. 'The performances are professional and committed ...'
Vocal music by Wagner and Elgar. 'Sarah Rose Taylor's voice is warm and creamy.'
Lithuanian-born pianist Vytautas Smetona. 'His cantabile playing almost transports you to heaven ...'
Music by Malipiero. '... the forces on this disc are well up to the challenge.'
Music by James M Stephenson. '... tight, edgy and quirky ...'
Chamber music by Zae Munn. 'The performances are committed and unified ...'
Piano music by Alexandre Tansman. '... excellent performances ...'
Schubert and Vorísek piano music. '... a truly magical disc ...'
Piano music by Adolf Jensen. '... romantic, strongly melodic and individualistic, but never recorded before ...'
Music by and inspired by Axel Borup-Jørgensen. '... very descriptive, atmospheric music ...'
Vocal music by Michael Murray. 'I could not fault the performances, and believe that they represent Michael Murray's vocal works well.'
Scottish music from young performers. '... beautifully performed ...'
Music by twentieth century women composers. '... the Trio des Alpes is committed and convincing ...'
Moisey Weinberg's Symphonies 5 and 10. '... this music truly speaks with the language of our time.'
Choral music by William Averitt. '... the depth of sound is rich and satisfying, and the performances solid.'
Varda Kotler and Israel Kastoriano. '... partnership and sensitivity ...'
Orchestral music by Alan Hovhaness. '... an almost trance-like mysticism and beauty ...'
Orchestral music by Alexander Zemlinsky. 'The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra responds superbly to John Storgårds ...'
Music by Beth Anderson. 'The performances were well realized ...'
Sydney Hodkinson's Keyboard Odyssey. 'Much of this thoughtful compilation ... is very enjoyable ...'
Contemporary orchestral music. 'Very pleasurable and committed performances.'
Music for recorder and harpsichord from Denmark and the UK. '... this partnership works very well musically ...'
Challenging music for violin and piano. 'This recording is up there with the best of them.'
Piano music by Nils Vigeland. '... the pianistic skills of Jenny Q Chai are quite astounding ...'
Zenia Löffler's Venetian concerti impress Geoff Pearce. 'This disc will not fail to please ...'
Paris Conservatoire connections for flute and piano. '... a good addition to any collection ...'
Handel organ concerti played on the piano. '... the artists are first class, the sound is sumptuous ...'
Eastern European music for bassoon and piano. '... great performances from Maria Wildhaber and her colleagues ...'
Geoff Pearce remembers the New Zealand composer John Ritchie (1921-2014)
Music for violin and piano completely captivates Geoff Pearce. 'The partnership is incredible ...'
Greg Bowers' 'Rational Passions'. '... committed and skillful playing ...'
Vocalensemble Lalá. '... always musical and beautifully under control.'
Geoff Pearce muses on the career of Peter Sculthorpe
Geoff Pearce discusses intolerance in public life
Geoff Pearce asks if we've lost something precious in our search for perfection, and argues for a return to national styles of playing
(Features listed in grey are in our archive, and available to subscribers only.)