Early life and education
Maria Grenfell was born in Malaysia in 1969 and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, graduating with a Master of Music degree from the University of Canterbury. She completed further studies in the USA, gaining a Master of Arts from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and a doctorate from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she was also a lecturer. Her teachers have included Stephen Hartke, Erica Muhl, James Hopkins, and Morten Lauridsen in Los Angeles, and Joseph Schwantner and Samuel Adler in New York City.
Maria Grenfell’s work takes much of its influence from poetic, literary and visual sources and from non-Western music and literature. Her works are performed by musicians such as the Australia Ensemble, The Seymour Group, the Vienna Piano Trio, the New Zealand Trio, the Esperance Trio, Stellar Collective, and Antipoduo in the Netherlands. Orchestras that have commissioned, performed or recorded her music include the Adelaide, Queensland, Sydney, Tasmanian, West Australian Symphony Orchestras, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, Wellington Sinfonia and the Christchurch Symphony. Maria Grenfell’s music is broadcast regularly on ABC Classic FM in Australia and Concert FM in New Zealand, and is released on Kiwi-Pacific and Trust CDs. Her works are available from the Australian Music Centre, SOUNZ New Zealand Music Centre, Opus House Press and Reed Music.
Awards and career
Maria has been a violinist with the Christchurch Symphony and the New Zealand Youth Orchestra, and has performed bowed piano with the University of Southern California Percussion Ensemble. Her awards include the Jimmy McHugh Composition Prize and the Halsey Stevens Prize from the University of Southern California, the Composers’ Association of New Zealand Trust Fund Award and the University of Otago’s prestigious Philip Neill Memorial Prize.