William Dart spends 10 minutes with the sax-wielding composer Yvette Audain whose Grooves Unspoken concert warrants a visit to Remuera tomorrow.

Why Grooves Unspoken?

It's the title of the opening work. As a deleted line from its programme note says: "Why

Grooves Unspoken

? Because we do not speak music, we play or sing it."


You play and you compose. What's the payoff?

Whatever music I am or have been involved in as a performer, has always had the most significant influence on me compositionally. Somehow when you are directly involved, the music goes "straight in" more than it does if you simply listen to it.

You have quite a line-up of reeds for your Saxophone Quartet

Zyia-Li The is an emerging performer while Donald Nicholls and Andrew Uren are like my "big clarinet/sax brothers" of sorts. I didn't even know Andrew played baritone sax until our original performer pulled out.

Do you feel the saxophone has been in the shadows for too long?

A big emphatic yes - I still think history should be rewritten so the saxophone becomes the permanent orchestral member it was originally intended to be. I'm proud to have added a few more pieces to its repertoire already, and aim to continue doing so.

Where do the Middle Eastern influences in your music come from?

Years ago I became rather taken with the music of the one-time Silk Road route, which included that part of the world. I loved listening to recordings by the Australian group Cantigas and the British group the Dufay Collective. I've always loved medieval dance music and have been wandering around trying to find myself a medieval band for as long as I can remember.


Why the funny titles to so many of your pieces?

I can't help it and sometimes they just sort of "happen". I keep a little notebook of possible titles and ideas and tomorrow's

A Charleston Kick With Steel Caps

waited for about six years for a piece to go with its title.

Do you think there is enough humour in contemporary music?

An instructor on the training course I did with the navy band some years ago put it nicely: "We don't all have the same sense of 'ha-ha'." Perhaps I've always been one of the comparatively more "playful" ones musically, within what can loosely be called the new music network.

What has been your biggest musical buzz lately?

I finally played Tauranga Jazz Festival last Easter with Brett's New Internationals, and am loving each APO Remix the Orchestra course I'm involved in. But an entirely different buzz came last year when two advanced students of mine rose to the challenge of learning works that I had written for myself to play.

If budget was not a consideration, what in your heart of hearts would you like to compose?

An orchestral epic. Actually, that may go ahead regardless. This is a rather depressing topic considering the budgetary constraints we're automatically used to as artists.

You're allowed three CDs on your desert island. What would they be and why?

Runnin' Wild: The Original Sounds of the Jazz Age

, a seminal album from which I've learned and played solos.

Jethro Tull: A Passion Play

. I'm still a sucker for prog rock, the perfect amalgamation of popular and "classical" sensibilities.

The Who By Numbers.

They're my idols. I experienced them live in 2009 when they played North Harbour Stadium. I even met Simon Townshend (Pete's brother, rhythm guitar) and Zak Starkey (Ringo's son, drums on the tour) after, in the bar.



Yvette Audain - Grooves Unspoken

Where and when:

St Luke's Church, 130 Remuera Rd, tomorrow at 2pm