Henry Wong Doe

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Henry Wong Doe 

Henry follows his widely acclaimed Landscape Preludes (2014) with a vibrant account of the Mussorgsky classic, Pictures at an Exhibition, brilliantly paired with new works from New Zealand composer, Eve de Castro-Robinson.

Showing the courage of his convictions, Henry tackles Mussorgsky's difficult work for solo piano in grand style. Rich and resonate, full of verve and passion, the set is beautifully balanced by Eve's suite of miniatures, an inspired choice that makes this recording one of Rattle's 'must-have' new releases.

Inspired by works from the Wallace Art Collection, Eve’s pieces offer a contemporary counterpoint to the muscularity and sweep of Mussorgsky’s famous classic. The ten-piece suite is titled a zigzagged gaze, and for the booklet Eve offers brief comments about her reaction to each of the works and an accompanying haiku.

She says, “To be let loose among the art collection of the Wallace Arts Trust was a gleeful trawling through riches. I pared back my long list of favourites to arrive at ten works that spoke to me with singular, wildly differing voices.”

Recording an album of Pictures at an Exhibition has been one of Henry’s long-cherished ambitions. More to come from Henry ...


Produced by Kenneth Young
Engineered by Steve Garden, assisted by John Kim
Piano tuning by Glenn Easley
Cover photography by Alex Plumb, courtesy of Wallace Productions
Artwork reproductions courtesy of the Wallace Arts Trust
Design by UnkleFranc
Printing by Studio Q

Henry Wong Doe, Eve de Castro-Robinson, and Rattle Records gratefully thank Creative New Zealand, Sir James Wallace, and the Wallace Foundation for their generous support of this project


RAT-D072 (August, 2017)






Pictures at an Exhibition 
Modest Mussorgsky, 1874 , 1984


01  Promenade 1  (1:14)
02  I. The Gnome  (2:46)
03  Promenade 2  (0:49)
04  II. The Old Castle  (3:53)
05  Promenade 3  (0:31)
06  III. The Tuileries Gardens  (1:02)
07  IV. The Ox Cart (Bydlo)  (3:23)
08  Promenade 4  (0:49)
09  V. Ballet of the Chicks  (1:18)
10  VI. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle  (2:14)
11  Promenade 5  (1:17)
12  VII. The Marketplace at Limoges  (1:22)
13  VIII. Catacombs  (3:44)
14  IX. The Hut on Hen's Legs (Baba-Yagá) (3:12)
15  X. The Great Gate of Kiev  (5:40)


      Total playing time: 33:15


a zigzagged gaze 
Eve de Castro-Robinson, 2016 , 1984


16  The Troubadour  (1:37)
17  Diviner and minder  (1:27)
18  Tingler  (2:49)
19  White Interior #1  (2:46)
20  Trick-or-treater  (1:16)
21  Return  (4:40)
22  Blue Lady  (2:33)
23  The Passion Flower  (1:49)
24  x (life, still. Baby)  (1:21)
25  Big Pink Shimmering One (1:16)


      Total playing time: 21:34



Eve's notes


Notes for a zigzagged gaze 
Music for solo piano by Eve de Castro-Robinson , 1984


To be let loose among the art collection of the Wallace Arts Trust was a gleeful trawling through riches. I pared back my long list of favourites to arrive at ten works that spoke to me with singular, wildly differing voices. I offer a brief description of my reaction to each work, along with an accompanying haiku.

Eve de Castro-Robinson, March 2017


The Troubadour
Trusttum works big, thinks big, even the domestic and intimate is rendered ruggedly, realised boldly, with a sort of knock-the-bastard-off blokey vigour.

Come, come one, come all
Let me bombard you with bliss
Hue, cry, ballyhoo


Diviner and minder
I was struck by the bold whimsy of this work, its cheeky yet elusive attitude. An elegant shore-side talisman, with a winky smile in its finger.

two-tined woody stick
u v w wishbone
what you playing at?


This drew an interior belly laugh, it’s buffoonish, bulky, apparently clumsy, yet it has dignity, like that of an elephant in motion. Tingler’s exterior cumbersomeness belies its intricately layered depths, like a gargantuan millefiori paperweight.

oh bulky buffoon
oh your tongue-in-cheekery,
you pendulous blob!


White Interior #1
Jim’s work draws the gaze into the infinite through light, allowing the viewer to bask in a seductive celestial glow. The restrained White Interior #1 is like a downscaled Turrell, no less potent for its luminous containment.

still, luminous block
draw me into your shadows…
What, no answers there?


Parkes’ deliciously wilful concoctions of quasi-edible paint ooze and squeeze their way out of their confines in an exhilarating liberation.

lucky lumpy lush
tumbly tonguey push and shove,
lick me all over


For me, Vincent Ward is New Zealand’s Bill Viola, and Return captures something of that artist’s visionary grandeur. There is something dark in our midst, and Vincent is out to find it.

amniotic fall
you are dark devil creature
Bodily rhythms…


Blue Lady
The natural gravity of this hung form draws the eye downward, taking in the slippage and merge of its mottled, inky depths.

pour and bleed the paint
slip and blot across the fields
the ocean is held


The Passion Flower
I love the strop and thrust of Jacqueline’s heart-on-the-sleeve, painterly declamations. I based this piece on the anthem of the women’s suffrage movement, March of the Women (1911) by Dame Ethel Smyth, who conducted it with a toothbrush through the bars of Holloway Prison. JF and ES, a couple of fabulously feisty sheilas.

Wide blows our banner
and hope is waking
shoulder to shoulder and friend
[to friend!]


x (life, still. Baby)
John’s work has been quietly bowling me over ever since I saw his white carved-away wall years ago. The deeply affecting intimacy and humanity of this miniature painting is like a visual whisper.

hush, hush, not a breath
everything is momentous
nothing is known here


Big Pink Shimmering One
I couldn’t help but be struck by the muscular viscerality of Millar’s largescale work, reminiscent of a shopwindow cleaner with soapy mop in play.

Lichtenstein lady
swashbuckling zigzaggery
deals in pink boldness






Henry Wong Doe



Pianism is a whole different league, namely: art”.


These words from Tel Aviv’s Ha’aretz illustrate Henry Wong Doe’s sincerity and passion for music. Since winning “Audience Favourite” prizes at both the Rubinstein and Busoni International Piano Competitions, Henry has continued to engage audiences with a wide variety of repertoire and interpretations that combine stylistic awareness and sensitivity.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Henry received his early training from Susan Smith-Gaddis, followed by Bryan Sayer at the University of Auckland. In the United States, he received a Masters degree from Indiana University Bloomington, studying with Evelyne Brancart and Leonard Hokanson, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School, studying with Joseph Kalichstein.

His doctoral dissertation “Musician or Machine: The Player piano and composers of the Twentieth Century” examined the influence of the player piano on the works of Stravinsky, Hindemith, Nancarrow and Ligeti. A passionate educator as well as performer, Henry serves on the music faculty as Associate Professor of Piano and Keyboard Area Chair at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

An avid performer of contemporary music, Henry's debut performance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2008 featured solo and interactive works for piano and computer-controlled piano. Performing on a Yamaha Disklavier Mark IV, the program included the pioneering 1989 interactive work Eight Sketches - duet for one pianist by Jean-Claude Risset as well as a newly composed interactive work by New York based composed Brendan Adamson. An equally passionate supporter of new music from New Zealand, both his 2008 and 2012 recitals at Weill Recital Hall featured solo and chamber works by Gareth Farr.

Henry has released three commercial recordings: Horizon (2012, Trust Records MMT 2070) features works for solo piano by Gareth Farr; Five in the Sun (2013 Klavier Records K11193) is an album of 20th century chamber works for woodwind instruments and piano featuring the Keystone Chamber Players; and his most recent release, Landscape Preludes (2014, Rattle Records, RAT D046), is a set of 12 short works for solo piano by New Zealand composers which received critical acclaim in New Zealand and USA. Jed Distler of ClassicsToday gave the disc a 9/10 rating for both artistic and sound quality, writing, “the selections are appreciably varied, well crafted for piano … (and Wong Doe] mastered the notes and assimilated the music to the highest standards.”

Henry has been awarded two Arts Grants from Creative New Zealand (Arts Council of New Zealand); the first to record Horizon, and most recently in November 2016 to complete his second solo disc with Rattle Records. Pictures (RAT-D072) features Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and a suite of 10 newly commissioned works titled A Zigzagged Gaze by acclaimed New Zealand composer Eve de Castro-Robinson.

Visit Henry Wong Doe’s website here





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