IVAN BOOTHAM (20 July 1939 -14 August 2016) was born in England and emigrated to New Zealand as a teenager. He lived in provincial New Zealand – Invercargill, Auckland, New Plymouth, Levin, Lower Hutt – before settling in Wellington.

He worked as a book binding apprentice, farm labourer, shoe salesman, ticket writer/window dresser, radio copywriter, radio programme producer, publicity officer for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and in clerical, advisory, administrative and editorial jobs for various Government departments.

Ivan Bootham's formal studies in music started with piano lessons at the age of eight. His music teachers included Maxwell Fernie (the dedicatee of his poem Of Passing Note) and Loretto Cunninghame.
He made his first attempts at composition in his early teens, a period during which he also learnt the trumpet, which he played in various ensembles. Ivan Bootham is best-known for his opera "The Death of Venus". He has also composed a mass and various works for piano, voice and other musical ensembles, although many of these have not been publically performed.

Queries about obtaining scores for any of the musical works featured on this site should be sent to rpbj.marshall@gmail.com.

The composer does not charge for use of his music.

Ivan Bootham was also a novelist, short story writer and poet. His works are published in New Zealand by RiverStone Books.


RIGHT: Ivan Bootham at the piano in his home in Wellington. In the early 1960s he attended several Cambridge Summer Music Schools, participating in the Jules Wolfers piano class and performing solo items in the evening concerts given at the school. He won local piano playing competitions and performed as a soloist but described his abilities as a pianist as "average".

"I continue to practise the piano, albeit not to the extent I did in my youth and early twenties. Composing and writing have taken great chunks out of piano practice times. A pity, in one respect, because through experience my interpretive ability is greater than what it was. I'm now in the situation of my musical sensibility outstretching my technical ability as a performer!"