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Picture of Uwe Grodd, Auckland Choral Music director, with a conductor's batonUwe Grodd enjoys an international reputation as a conductor. He has won a number of significant awards including First Prize at the Cannes Classical Awards 2000 and two Gramophone Editor’s Choice in the UK. He has performed in Handel Festivals and conducted a season of Handel’s recently re-discovered opera Imeneo in Germany. Besides helping to promote little-known but important composers of the past, he is strongly committed to the music of our own time.

A graduate of Mainz University, Germany, Uwe studied with teachers of international repute. A strong musical influence during his study was choral specialist Helmut Rilling during several summer courses at the Bach Akademie in Uwe’s hometown of Stuttgart. He attributes his major musical growth to the guidance of two of Europe’s finest musicians, Robert Aitken and Maestro Celibidache.

Uwe gained worldwide attention when he won First Prize at the Cannes Classical Awards 2000 for Best 18th Century Orchestral Recording with his CD of Vanhal Symphonies on which he conducted Hungary’s Nicolaus EsterházySinfonia. Two recordings of music by J N Hummel, one featuring the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, earned him Gramophone magazine’s Editor’s Choice. He has had an exclusive recording contract with the Naxos label since 1997.

Uwe Grodd’s ambition to conduct and record the Complete Works for piano and orchestra of Beethoven’s longstanding friend and student Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) began in 2003. November 2012 marked the international launch of the fifth and final volume with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and pianist Christopher Hinterhuber on the Naxos label. The first four volumes feature the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Sweden’s Gävle Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, UK  and include a remarkable set of variations for piano and orchestra of Rule Britannia. Uwe agrees with FANFARE USA Magazine which wrote: ‘Thus, slowly, Ries is finally occupying the place in music history that is rightly his.’ He believes these recordings will transform people’s understanding of a composer who still lives in the shadow of Beethoven’s genius.

Performance highlights in recent years include the final concerts of the 53rd and the 54th Händel Festival in Halle, Germany. This prestigious event – a televised open-air concert – involves a combined choir of 280 and the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Halle. In his first year, Uwe conducted the gala opening night of the Händel Festival Halle with Le Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre from Grenoble, a number of frontline soloists and the Halle Opera Orchestra performing on original instruments. This was followed in 2003 and 2004 with a sell-out, highly successful season in the Halle Opera House of Händel’s recently rediscovered opera Imeneo. Uwe Grodd was awarded the Badge of Honor by the Mayor of Halle – Handel’s birth town –  for his services to the Handel Festival and the City of Halle.

Uwe made his Mexican debut in March 2004 with the Mexico City Philharmonic, conducting Beethoven’s First Symphony, Liszt’s Mazeppa and Dvorak’s Czech Suite. He returned in June that year to conduct Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony, and another eight concerts featuring Beethoven’s and Schubert’s Fifth Symphonies and Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben.

In 1993 Uwe was appointed Music Director of the Manukau Symphony Orchestra, and between 1998 and 2002 acted as Artistic Director of the International Music Festival New Zealand. He was invited to become Music Director of the Auckland Choral Society, New Zealand’s longest-established symphonic choir, in July 2008. Uwe Grodd is an Emeritus Professor at The University of Auckland’s School of Music.

 

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Auckland Choral 100th Hallelujahs Documentary trailer

Who we are: Get to know some of our choir members

  • Jane Gee

    Picture of Jane GeeI joined Auckland Choral in 2008. I enjoy the challenges of the big works which are inspired by Uwe's leadership. Singing with Auckland Choral is as important to me as breathing! And second only to my husband and family. My grandmother said that you should 'do The Messiah' at least once before you die! I have have had the privilege of singing it many times. I have made many friends and hope to sing with Choral for many years to come.

     
  • Ann Whitehouse

    Picture of Ann WhitehouseI learnt to sing on my mother's knee and have been singing ever since! In school in Wales I sang in small and large choirs in the eisteddfod. As soon as I left school I joined a choral society and have always been a member of one choir or another. I joined Auckland Choral in 2006 and have been on the management committee for the last 2 years. Choral singing has given me opportunities to make and keep wonderful friends, to travel, to see magnificent buildings, to hear all the major works and many new compositions, and to be part of a fabulous music making machine, always striving to improve. I have sung Handel's Messiah in 4 continents, in 2016 clocked up my 70th Messiah, and I still love it. I am also a semi retired speech language therapist and enjoy spending time with my 5 grandchildren.

     
  • Keith Guyan

    Picture of Keith GuyanKeith spent most of his life as a self-employed freelance graphic designer after graduating with a degree in fine arts. Over several further years of study he obtained professional qualifications in advertising, marketing and tertiary teaching, enjoying being a tutor for fifteen years introducing graphic design to young students, then seven years as a part-time senior lecturer in graphic design at AUT University. He has been a self-taught church organist from the age of thirteen, and since 2002 he has been the Parish Elder, Administrator and Organist in the large multicultural Onehunga Co-operating Parish. His love of singing, church and organ music was nurtured from an early age in a musical family. Since 1980 he has sung Bass in Auckland Choral, conducted by Ray Wilson, Peter Watts, Professor Uwe Grodd and many other inspiring and talented musicians. To quote from Hallelujahs & History  “...for bass Keith Guyan, Auckland Choral has everything: thrilling repertoire, inspiring conductor, friendly and caring singers, satisfying discipline, high musical standards and the privilege of performing some of the masterpieces of choral writing”.

     
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