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

  • Pedro Silva

    Picture of Pedro Silva

    I discovered and have fallen in love with choral music while I was in high school in Lisbon. Later I joined Lisboa Cantat, a Lisbon-based symphonic choir for a few years. After coming to New Zealand, in early 2013 I joined Auckland Choral, and I have since been a member of the Bass section. 

    Alongside with choral music, I love motorbike riding, travelling and tramping the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. Professionally, I work for the Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland as Director of Faculty Operations.

     
  • Nigel High

    Picture of Nigel HighNigel grew up choral singing with the choirs of Kings School and Kings College in Auckland, but then took a break for the next 30 years while focusing on his career as a Consulting Engineer in Ottawa Canada where he moved with his wife in 1981. Later he joined a choir in Ottawa as a way of relieving the stresses of the daily grind, and found that he really enjoyed the challenge, stimulation, and therapy that choral singing provides. He sang with Coro Vivo Ottawa and the Ottawa Festival Chorus for many years, and part time with Auckland Choral since 2006 on his many visits back to New Zealand, before moving back to Auckland with his wife Ming, last year.  He sings as a Tenor 2.

    He thoroughly enjoys the music and camaraderie of Auckland Choral, and the high standards demanded by the professional team headed up by Uwe Grod.  While not singing, he spends as much time as possible sailing on the waters of the Hauraki gulf, and since retiring is a keen traveler and cruiser.   

     
  • Sandy Bulmer

    Picture of Sandy BulmerLike so many contraltos, I first got put in the alto section as a school girl because I could read music and manage to sing a line of harmony. I joined Auckland Choral when I was in high school and now I’ve been a member for 40 years! I started singing with my mum as a toddler, sitting on her knee while she played the piano and sang soprano and tenor Messiah arias. I used to come to Auckland Choral’s Saturday dress rehearsals in the Town Hall and follow the score in my early teenage years, and it was a natural step to join Mum in the choir when I was 15. I remember Choral Hall in Airedale Street where we used to meet (before Mayoral Drive was built). It was a dusty old building and freezing in winter, but the ladies in the alto section were very kind to me and welcomed me into the back row. Nothing really changes in that respect; the Auckland Choral altos today are a great bunch of people as well!

     
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