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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

Watch the full documentary of about Auckland Choral's 100th consecutive performance of Handel's Messiah: 

 

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

  • Tom Bishop

    Picture of Tom BishopTom Bishop was born in Australia, but has spent more than half of the time since out of it. He started choral singing at the age of nine in the fourth grade, where his teacher, a tall, elegant “confirmed bachelor” embraced new methods of education, which mostly consisted of allowing the class to run wild, but managed somehow to hold onto the idea of discipline enough to conduct the School Choir. In addition to singing, he also mangled the clarinet. Since then he has sung in high school, at University, at work, for work, in his spare time, and in less likely venues such as showers, streets and supermarkets, sometimes to the amazement and annoyance of partners, his children, and random passers-by. More formally, he has sung with the Yale Glee Club, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, and the Cleveland Early Music Singers, and has been fortunate to work with conductors such as Fenno Heath, Robert Shaw, Pierre Boulez, Richard Hickox, Simon Rattle, and Christoph von Dohnanyi, as well as Uwe Grodd. In his non-singing time, he teaches at the University of Auckland, where he lectures principally on Shakespeare and Drama. He is pleased to be a Tenor 1 because it means he gets a break at auditions.

     
  • Becky O'Gram

    Picture of Becky O'GramMy earliest memories of singing were car songs, where my sisters and I were squashed in the back of the car while my mother lead the chorus from the front. I started singing in small groups and choirs at age 12 for church events and friends' weddings. I've been a member of some form of choir ever since and now count myself very lucky to be a member of Auckland Choral. I joined in January 2017, with my first concert being the huge St John Passion by Bach. We performed it at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, in German! Singing out that first loud "Herr" gave me goose bumps and was an unforgettable experience. In December that year I got to perform in the Messiah for the first time and hope to do the same every Christmas for a long time to come.

     
  • Jacob Siohane-Royle

    Picture of Jacob Siohane-RoyleI joined late last year in the Soprano 1 section, and am currently Auckland Choral’s youngest member, at 14 years old.  Born and raised in Auckland, I have worked with professional music companies such as New Zealand Opera, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Opera Factory, and others.  Auckland Choral rehearsals are generally the highlight of my week.  In 2015 I gained first place in Opera Factory’s Idol competition. This year in the Aria international vocal competition, I came 1st in two of the four categories available.  Outside of music, I study in year 10 at Kristin School in Albany, and I play flute and piano.  

     
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