Distinguished trio of NZ Musicians join New Zealand School of Music — 19.07.12

In a bold move the New Zealand School of Music has snapped up three of New Zealand's biggest musical names for its academic staff, including two Laureates.

International opera star Simon O'Neill (Laureate), former NZSO chief executive, musicologist and conductor Peter Walls, and renowned New Zealand composer Gareth Farr (Laureate) have all recently started at Te Kōkī, New Zealand School of Music, as teaching fellows and artists-in-residence.

Professor Elizabeth Hudson, NZSM Director, says the additon of these three musisicans at the same time represents a rare opportunity and will add even greater depth to the school's classical performance, music studies and compositon areas.

"Students will have access to teaching, coaching and mentoring from three outstandingly talented and respected New Zealand musicians," she said.

"Simon O'Neill has established himself as one of the finest heldentenors on the international stage. He has been described in the international press as ‘THE Wagnerian tenor of his generation' - a testimony that New Zealand audiences have the opportunity to witness this month through his performances in The Valkyrie with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Simon is a principal artist with the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and performs regularly at the most distinguished houses all over the world, including La Scala and Bayreuth. He has already begun offering individual coaching sessions to advanced singing students at the NZSM.

"Emeritus Professor Peter Walls led the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as chief executive for nine years and is a former head of the the Victoria University Music Department. An internationally renowned musicologist, he brings to the school his expertise in historically informed performance practice, and will be adding courses in the history of the orchestra, as well as supervising advanced postgraduate research students.

"Gareth Farr is an award winning composer and performer whose work has featured at such prestigious occasions as the opening of Te Papa, several international arts festivals, the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the opening ceremony for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. While his orchestral, concerto and chamber works have been performed all around the world, he is also well known for his musical theatre work including Maui - One Man Against the Gods, Vula and Kia Ora Khalid. He performed with and composed for the outstanding New Zealand percusssion ensemble Strike and recent compositions include the soundtrack for the acclaimed televsion drama series Kaitangata Twitch. He will be contributing to the teaching of advanced orchestration, as well as participating in the supervision of advanced postgraduate students," Professor Hudson said.

Gareth Farr joins an already distinguished NZSM composition department featuring Professor John Psathas (Laureate), Associate Professor Jack Body (Laureate), Michael Norris, Dugal McKinnon, Ajay Kapur and Stephan Prock, all of whom have high national and international profiles. NZSM Composition and Sonic Art students continue to produce work at the cutting edge of new music and compositional practice in this country.

The school also boasts international opera singers Margaret Medlyn, Richard Greager and Jenny Wollerman among its Classical Voice Performance teachers. Its recent graduates include award winning singers Bryony Williams, Bianca Andrew and Kieran Rayner.

"In the six years since its inception, Te Koki New Zealand School of Music, has built a comprehensive and varied programme of performance, composition, music scholarship, and music therapy," Professor Hudson adds. "However, the entire curriculum rests on the quality of our teachers, which is what makes the appointments of Simon O'Neill, Gareth Farr and Peter Walls particularly exciting."

Sourced:  Stuff

Image:  l/h Simon O'Neill, by David Hamilton;  r/h Gareth Farr by Angela Busby