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New Conducting Roles For New Zealand's Premier Choir

The next step in nurturing conductor talent

Choirs Aotearoa NZ is delighted to announce the establishment of four new Associate Conductors of premier national chamber choir Voices New Zealand, Auckland-based Nicholas Forbes, Fiona Wilson, Rowan Johnston, and Wellington-based Isaac Stone. Associate Conductors will engage in our regional development activities and will also support the Artistic Director in various leadership and musical roles in rehearsal, and on the concert platform.


Artistic Director Karen Grylls says these four have contributed significantly during their time so far with the choir, and hopes this role will create opportunities for their development as future conductors on the professional stage.

Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir made its debut at the 1998 New Zealand International Arts Festival and later that year won awards at the Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain. With its distinct New Zealand sound, Voices NZ regularly performs at Arts Festivals around the country, collaborates with orchestras, taonga puoro and other artists across creative genres. Many of the singers, like Isaac Stone, are alumni of the New Zealand Youth Choir.

Isaac will be the first of the four Associate Conductors in action later this month, he will be leading a Voices NZ ensemble of six singers at 'Classical on Cuba' from CubaDupa, an upcoming two day music festival. The Voices NZ ensemble 'Six on Cuba' are performing at various bars and an art gallery on 27 and 28 June.

More about the Associate Conductors:

Fiona Wilson shared that "being a member of Voices NZ has deeply informed and influenced my musical journey as a singer and conductor." Fiona has been a member of Voices NZ Chamber Choir since 2006 and has previously sung with NZ Youth Choir, London’s BBC Symphony Chorus, Auckland Chamber Choir and Dorian Choir. Fiona is currently the Director of Cantare, the premier girls’ choir at Westlake Girls High School in Auckland, and is the Head of Music. "The opportunity to work with Karen, who first sparked my love of choral music, is a significant and personal honour".

Originally from Christchurch, Nicholas is a tutor and postgraduate student at the University of Auckland, studying conducting. He is the Musical Director of Harbour Voices and GALS choirs and currently, the acting Director of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Auckland. New Associate Conductor Nicholas Forbes shared that "to work with a choir of Voices NZ's stature, under the guidance of Dr. Grylls, is a great privilege."

Rowan Johnston was a member of the NZ Youth Choir from 1993, and has been part of Voices NZ since 1999. Rowan agreed that it was a "huge privilege" to be asked by Dr Grylls, who he described as a "taonga in the NZ choral scene", and is excited to work with the whole musical team. Based in Auckland, Rowan conducts the acclaimed school choir, Choralation and is Director of Choirs at Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland.

Isaac Stone teaches classroom music, classical singing and leads the choral programme at Tawa College, including the chamber choir Blue Notes which recently received a Gold Award at the NZCF Big Sing Finale. He is the founding musical director of the innovative Wellington-based choir Supertonic and sings in a number of choirs in Wellington, including Tudor Consort and Inspirare. Isaac has said "It's an absolute privilege to be asked by Karen to take on this role, and I'm thrilled to be able to contribute the skills and knowledge I have acquired back into this incredible organisation."

More about Voices NZ:

Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir made its debut at the 1998 New Zealand International Arts Festival and later that year won awards at the Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain. With its distinct New Zealand sound, performing music from Aotearoa New Zealand and infusing the qualities of its pacific origins into the classic choral repertoire, Voices NZ regularly performs at Arts Festivals around the country, collaborates with orchestras, Chamber Music New Zealand, taonga puoro and other artists across creative genres. As a nationally selected choir, Voices NZ runs nationwide auditions annually.

Classical on Cuba will take place on the 27, 28 June 2020, Wellington. Tickets are available from this website: https://www.cubadupa.co.nz/classicaloncuba

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