About the Composer

Educational, Musical, and Creative Background

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1969, and was baptised and grew up in the parish of St. Mary's in Avondale. In the early 90's, I left the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Music (in Performance Piano) and a Masters of Music (with 1st Class Honours in Musicology (Analysis)), during which time I co-wrote with Stephen Depledge an opera comedy "Singerella" for Class Act Opera to use in their annual tour of New Zealand schools.

For some years I taught piano and indulged my travel bug with regular stays in Europe, before becoming the Director of Religious Studies at St. Mary's College (until 2000). To mark the 150th Anniversary of that school, I co-wrote a musical with my brother Michael, based on the first voyage of the early mercy sisters to New Zealand with Bishop Pompallier (1849-50) and telling the story of the Mercy foundress, Catherine McAuley.

Since 1994, I have regularly assisted the annual national 10 day Catholic summer school for young adults (c. 18-35 yrs), "Heart's Aflame", and have directed and developed its liturgical music for over 20 years now. I also started and conducted the liturgical choir "Sursum Corda" in Auckland, which helped several parishes there rediscover the motets of old as well as recent liturgical music of quality.

Since 2000, I devoted time to deepening my theological and philosophical training, studying at Good Shepherd theological college in Auckland (2000-1) and as a lay student with the Community of St. John in St. Jodard, France (2004-8), after having been a member of the Beatitudes Community in New Zealand (2002-3). During a 10 year stint as Head of Music at Massey High School, I decided to formalise my philosophical studies and returned to the University of Auckland, where I graduated in 2020 with a Ph.D. in philosophy, specialising in Ethics, with the thesis: "Deep Friendship, Virtue and Fulfilment". I am currently transforming the chamber opera "Singerella" into an original Rap-Opera, in collaboration with 'Manzy', New Zealand rap artist Malachi Tamepo.

Dedication to Renewing Church Music

Since my early 20's, I have seen the need to devote time and effort toward the renewal of sacred music for worship at the parish level. A life-long truth seeker, it is my joy to share what has inspired me over the years, from great teachers, travels to holy places, retreats, study, and encounters with God's saints around us; and to encapsulate insights in simple and accessible songs, that the faithful may not only be better formed, but able to lift up their hearts, minds and voices in a spirit of genuine prayer for the greater glory of God.

My exploits into sacred music have allowed me to combine two of my life-long loves in the service of God, namely music and theology. It is my way of responding to the call that Vatican II made on church musicians in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium):

121: Composers, filled with the Christian spirit, should feel that their vocation is to cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures. Let them produce compositions which have the qualities proper to genuine sacred music, (adding delight to prayer, fostering unity of minds, and conferring greater solemnity upon the sacred rites ... for he glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful ... (cf.112)), not confining themselves to works which can be sung only by large choirs, but providing also for the needs of small choirs and for the active participation of the entire assembly of the faithful. The texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine; indeed they should be drawn chiefly from holy scripture and from liturgical sources.

118: Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered so that ...the voices of the faithful may ring out ..."

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium)

I am currently based in North Canterbury, though I embark in frequent travel, giving talks to laity, priests and religious, in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. I particularly enjoy opening up the ancient ways of composition to children, so that they can enter the world inhabited by the great composers, who so benefitted from this approach in their own childhood.

You are welcome to contact Robert here to discuss possible commissions (eg. A song for the patron saint of your parish, school or other institution) or possible commercial use of his music.

Our affordable 

Unlimited access
License for non-commercial use
Complete audio & scores

US $99 /year

For personal, non-commercial use
Get Started

US $99 /year

For church services
Get Started

US $799 /year

For use in church services throughout the diocese
Get Started
Our Testimonials

What others are saying about us