Clive Cockburn

Clive Cockburn is a New Zealand based Musician with a career spanning many years as a working musician, songwriter and composer working in the Film and Television industry.

  • Recorded three albums that included five top ten singles as lead guitarist and organist of 60s group 'The Avengers' - "Everyone's gonna wonder", "Only once in my life", "1941", "Love, Hate, Revenge", "The Days of Pearly Spencer".
  • Co-composed Musical "Jenifer" - St James Theatre, Wellington
  • Co-composed Rock Opera "Valdramar" - Downstage Theatre, Wellington
  • Composed Television Pantomime "Pere"
  • Studied composing and arranging in Los Angeles at The Grove School of Music
  • Became house arranger for The Rodger Fox Big Band with music on "Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival"
  • Five times finalist and three times winner of the 'Best Music' category at the New Zealand "Film and Television Awards". "Ruapehu Tragedy", "A Town Like . . . . ", "The Sinking of the Mikhail Lermontov"
  • New York critic's choice of soundtrack of the year for "The Maori: Merchant of Venice"
  • Composed two hundred corporate television commercials winning several awards. Commercials included "Ford", "Holden", Mitsubishi" and "Mazda" cars and Shell", "BP" and "Caltex" petrol
  • Scored fifteen television series including "Location, Location, Location" "Our People, Our Century", "Frontier of Dreams" and "The Natural World of the Maori".
  • Eight television themes including "Good Day", "Frontline" and "Crime Watch"
  • Twenty film and television specials including "New Zealand and the United Nations", "Rescue South Pacific" and "1974: Death of a Prime Minister"
  • Three feature films - "The Returning", "The Land Has Eyes" and "The Maori: Merchant of Venice"
  • Commissioned to compose for choir and symphony orchestra for the opening of the Auckland Opera House "The Aotea Centre" - at the request of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Composed Rock Opera "Boadicea: Celtic Warrior Queen" - Monte Cristo Room, Auckland
  • Wrote and produced the two hundred video lessons of -


"When I was commissioned to compose a television pantomime I realised that I needed to learn more so I went to Los Angeles and the Dick Grove Music Workshops which is now the Grove School of Music. Many who attended this exclusive little school had already graduated with a masters degree from some prestigious university but wanted to learn the real 'nuts-n-bolts' that a composer/arranger needs to know, to survive in the 'real' world.

It was a privilege to be there in one of the years when Dick was actually teaching. We studied harmony for five hours a day during the first six months - he was such a wonderful teacher!

During the second six months, we would be given an A4 lead sheet every Thursday. We had a weekend to turn this into an arrangement for Big Band, often supplemented with woods and strings. The arrangement had to be completed and the parts copied, (for the 17 - 37 players) by the Tuesday morning. We were then given just ten minutes to direct the band and make it work. This weekly exercise taught us to deliver music to a deadline which is great practice for film and television composers. Usually we had to work right through at least one night of the weekend."

Many of the elements of the Grove course are in The Contemporary Music Course, so take your time, you will find there is a lot in here!

(Enjoy the music but please forgive the low resolution of these clips).

Clive Cockburn Film and Television History Reel

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