Reuben Rameka (b. 1997) is a music composer, arranger, performer, conductor, teacher and producer based in Auckland, New Zealand. He is primarily of Ngāpuhi and Te Arawa descent.
He completed his Bachelors of Music degree in 2019 (majoring in composition) at the School of Music at the University of Auckland. Here he studied under Dr. Leonie Holmes, Associate Professor Eve de Castro-Robinson and Dr. John Coulter. He developed skills in composing for solo instruments, ensembles, choirs, and orchestras, as well as composing for electroacoustics, MIDI instruments, film and video games. He also studied conducting underneath the well-known Australasian conductor Associate Professor Karen Grylls (ONZM).
While studying, his works were constantly performed and workshopped by professional ensembles and musicians. His work No Ordinary Sun, inspired by the poem of New Zealand Poet Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008), was workshopped by the NZTrio and was an Auckland finalist in the NZTrio Composing Competition 2017: Turn a Phrase. In 2018, His two piano work E Ka Tanuku, written in memory of his tupuna Kepa Ehau, was performed at the Llewelyn Jones Piano Composition Competition 2018 and was the winner of the competition. His work Ngā Rangi Tuhaha was workshopped by the APO as part of their ‘Our Voice’ Orchestra programme. Haeretanga o Mataatua is a piece for brass trio, which was selected for the APO 'Our Voice' Ensemble Workshop 2018. This portrays the story of Puhi-moana-ariki and the Mataatua waka and how he turned it to stone at the Takou awa. His piece Takoto mai rā, for SATB divisi choir and written in memory of his grandfather Waata Rameka, won the Douglas Mews Choral Prize in 2018. The work was also a winner in the Waiata Tira category in the Compose Aotearoa! competition 2020.
In 2019, Reuben was selected as the APO ‘Rising Star’ Young Composer-in-residence. His piece, Hīkoi, was premiered by the APO at the APO Summer School Finale Concert 2019. The piece was also performed again in 2020 for the Kiwi Kapers Concerts, where it supported the on-stage performance of the Massive Theatre Company, depicting the life of Māori tennis legend Ruia Morrison. Ko Māui me te Rā, a piece written for full orchestra and SATB choir, was premiered at the Discovery Concert 2019. This piece is a retelling of the famous Māori legend of Māui and the sun. Reuben maintains a good relationship with APO and is currently composing new works for them and other ensembles.
In 2020, he completed his graduate diploma in teaching, specialising in secondary music education. Here, he studied music curriculum design and education under Dr. Graham McPhail. He currently works as a music teacher and choral director at his old secondary school, Aorere College. His musical strengths include composition, traditional and contemporary Māori music, choral, singing, theory, aural, musical analysis and performance.
E KA TANUKU
For two pianos and voice
Winner of the Llewelyn Jones Piano Composition Competition 2018. Written for two pianos and voice. Premiered at the School of Music, Music Theatre, Auckland CBD 01/06/2018.
'E Ka Tanuku' (meaning 'It has collapsed') is dedicated to my great-great-grandfather Kepa Hamuera Anaha Ehau, who joined the Second Maori Contingent in 1915 to assist the Allies during World War I. He and his platoon travelled a lot, from Egypt to France, where Kepa and his group were attacked by shellfire from the Germans. Kepa was only wounded in his legs, but lost two of his friends right before his eyes. Years after the war his legs were amputated, due to complications. This piece is a retelling of his story in a musical form. The phrase 'E Ka Tanuku' is from one of Kepa’s favourite pohuatau (speech opening), which he would say at a tangihanga (funeral).
Pianists: Soomin Kim, Lulu Feng
Voice: Reuben Rameka
Audio: Clovis McEvoy
Date of recording: 01/06/2018
For full orchestra
Commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) for the APO Summer School Finale Concert 2019. Written for full orchestra. Premiered by the APO at the Auckland Town Hall, Queen Street, Auckland CBD, NZ 18/01/2019.
Through trouble and hardships, life seems to continue as if unaffected by surging spikes. Hīkoi (journey) looks to create its own journey in time, going through several phases of societal change.
Performers: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: David Kay
Camera: What Rameka (father)
Audio: Thomas Hamill
Date of recording: 18/01/2019