Don McGlashan named Distinguished Alumnus
One of New Zealand’s most celebrated songwriters, Don McGlashan, has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of The University of Auckland.
He is one of six exceptional graduates of the University announced as winners of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards (DAA), to be presented at a dinner on Friday 9 March.
Don studied English and Music at The University of Auckland, specialising in composition and French Horn. He played horn and percussion in the Auckland Symphonia to pay his way through University, and gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982.
Don was singer and main songwriter for The Mutton Birds, known for classic kiwi anthems Anchor Me, Dominion Road and Nature. The band, formed in 1991, released four NZ top ten albums, including two platinum, and two top five singles. Anchor Me won the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Silver Scroll in 1994. The group signed to Virgin Records UK in 1995, and their album Envy Of Angels (1997) made the UK Sunday Times ten best records of the year list.
Don has five entries in APRA’s 100 best New Zealand songs of all time.
Prior to the Mutton Birds, Don was a member of music/performance art group From Scratch, band Blam Blam Blam, then The Front Lawn, performing worldwide and winning awards in New Zealand and overseas.
Parallel to his songwriting and performing career, Don has written music for many films and television programmes, including Jane Campion's An Angel at my Table, TV drama series Street Legal, TVNZ’s This is Not My Life, feature films Bliss and Sione’s 2, and Toa Fraser’s No 2. His song for that movie, Bathe in the River, is currently the third biggest NZ single of all time, and won Don a second Silver Scroll award.
In 2001 he was awarded the Auckland University Literary Fellowship for his song writing, and in 2002 he was named one of that year's five New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureates.
The Mutton Birds reformed for a highly anticipated reunion tour at New Zealand wineries in February and March this year.
The other recipients of 2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards are Professor Charles Alcock, Dr Priv Bradoo, Dr Mark Sagar, Emeritus Professor Ranginui Walker and Dame Robin White.