Jazz Club Tribute to Colin Hemmingsen

Sunday 16 October 5.00 to 7.00 pm. : Chancellor 1 at the James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel
Set 1

Drums-Lance Philip

Piano- Phil Broadhurst

Bass - Nick Tipping

Guitar - Nick Granville

Sax/clarinets - Colin Hemmingsen

Guest: Dave Lisik - Trumpet

Set 2

Drums- John Rae

Piano - Ben Wilcock / Anita


Bass - Patrick Bleakley

Sax/clarinets - Colin Hemmingsen


  • All the Things You are
  • Weaver of Dreams-(there'll never be another you)
  • Stella By Starlight
  • The days of Wine and Roses
  • I Hear a Rhapsody
  • Body and Soul
  • Someday My Prince will come
  • Just Friends
  • Autumn Leaves
  • I Remember You

Colin Hemmingsen

Colin Hemmingsen has had a dual jazz/classical career for more than 50 years. His father played cornet and encouraged Colin to play anything. His Uncle’s harmonica had a ‘beautiful sound’. At age 14 he started private lessons on the clarinet. At Mt Roskill Grammar he played clarinet in the school orchestra and his band “Downbeats” played at school balls. Listening to Pete Fountain on clarinet and a Lenard Bernstein record ‘What is jazz’ changed his life.

After high school he worked for the NZBC programme section for 18 months with John Joyce. Attended Auckland University majoring in Clarinet for the first year but was given a bassoon and continued his degree on that. (Executant Diploma of Music, Auckland University, NZ (1968)).

At age 18 he played Bassoon in the Auckland Symphonia and at the age of 22 became a professional musician. Colin answered an advert in Downbeat magazine and sent a tape of a tenor sax performance. Twelve months later (1970) he was offered a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. This lasted one term, and he was subsequently awarded a scholarship to New England Conservatory. There he completed a Master’s degree in bassoon with Sherman Walt as his teacher. After teaching and performing in the United States he freelanced with the Boston Philharmonia and Opera and ballet companies and in 1974 held a one year position at Virginia Commonwealth University as a as a member of the resident wood wind quintet.

Colin graduated Master of Music, New England Conservatory, USA (1973). He left the USA to join the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington as its principal bassoonist.

In 1983 Colin and his late wife Susan founded the New Zealand Jazz Foundation, and started the country's first jazz school. He eased back on his role in the symphony orchestra to allow more time for performing, recording and teaching. It was a time when many high-school music teachers formed their students into big bands, and competed for places in the New Zealand Youth Jazz Orchestra, but the country's tertiary institutions tended to steer clear of jazz. Colin Hemmingsen. Rodger Fox and others, filled the gap by training young students.

Other achievements

Introduction to Jazz, Victoria University Extension Course 1980-1993,

Performed with Colin Hemmingsen Quartet; Radio NZ 1974-1996;

NZ Youth Orchestra; NZ Jazz Youth Orchestra; Head of Jazz Studies at

Wellington Polytechnic 1979-1989.

Co-founder and director of Creative Music School, Wellington, 1975-1982;

Co-founder and President, NZ Jazz Foundation 1979-1986.

Colin retired from his position as a senior lecturer at the NZ School of Music Jazz Performance degree in Wellington at the end of 2013, though he continues to teach in the Jazz programme as an artist teacher with specialities in reeds and improvisation.

He has made numerous recordings over the years in classical and jazz including the “Scandinavian Suite” with the NZSO (jazz saxophone). His most recent recording is “The Rite of Swing” and was a TUI finalist in 2006. In 1993, 1995 and 1997 he played as a jazz soloist with the great John Dankworth in the NZSO Pops Series. For full list of credits see: www.colinhemmingsen.com

After a career spanning more than 50 years, Colin Hemmingsen was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music as part of the 2016 New Year Honours List: “Mr Hemmingsen was the Principal Bassoonist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra from the 1970s until 1992 and a member of the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra and the New Zealand Woodwind Quintet. He taught and performed in the United States with the Boston Philharmonia Orchestra and with opera and ballet companies, and was a resident at the Virginia Commonwealth University.

He established New Zealand’s first Jazz School for young people and, in 1983, the New Zealand Jazz Foundation where he still teaches and was a Trustee. He also founded the Creative Music School teaching sight reading, improvisation and music theory and has worked as teacher with the New Zealand Youth Orchestra and New Zealand Jazz Youth Orchestra. He was appointed Cultural Ambassador for New Zealand at the Singapore Jazz Festival in 1986. As a Senior Lecturer for 21 years and now part-time tutor at the New Zealand School of Music, Mr Hemmingsen has researched the bassoon in jazz performance, recorded acclaimed performances, including his own compositions, and continues to be in demand as a soloist and accompanist to leading groups and artists in New Zealand.”

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