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Showcasing exceptional homegrown talent, all the presenters for this year’s conference were either born in New Zealand, or have made Aotearoa their home!

Elise Bradley MNZM – Guest Conductor and Choral Clinician

A passionate musician, award-winning teacher and conductor, and internationally respected adjudicator and clinician, Elise was recently named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in recognition of her services to Music. During her three decades as a teacher and conductor in New Zealand, Elise served for many years as the Head of Music at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland, and was director of the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir from 2001-2007. She was also a soloist and member of New Zealand’s national Chamber Choir, Voices NZ.

Since moving to Toronto in 2007 to take up the position of Artistic Director of the Toronto Children’s Chorus, Elise has been praised for her artistry and for her deep commitment to children and the art of treble choral music. The Chorus is internationally recognized for its high standard of performance and its challenging and eclectic treble repertoire that spans diverse cultures, languages, and traditions. She has led the Chamber Choir on eight international tours - Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany (2009), Brazil and Argentina (2011), Sweden (2012), South Africa (2013), Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (2015), Boston and New York City (2016), Nassau, Bahamas (2016), and Spain (2017), to represent Canada at the 11th World Symposium on Choral Music, hosted by the International Federation for Choral Music.

Dr Karen Grylls ONZM – Artistic Director and Conducting Strand Tutor

Karen Grylls ONZM is Associate Professor in Choral Conducting at the University of Auckland. She conducted the New Zealand Youth Choir from 1989 to 2011, founded Voices NZ in 1998 and is currently Artistic Director of these two internationally acclaimed national choirs. From 2011 to 2013, Karen was also Artistic Director of Toronto’s Exultate Chamber Choir.

During her time at the University of Auckland, Karen has established a postgraduate pathway in Conducting at the Masters and Doctoral level. She received an Auckland University Distinguished Teaching Award in Music (1996), and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her services to choral music (1999). She is also the recipient of two national citations for services to New Zealand music.

Karen is much in demand as an adjudicator for competitions and festivals worldwide, most recently in  Bali and Taipei, the 48th International competition in Tolosa, and the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition, Bavaria. She is sought internationally as a choral clinician and regularly conducts masterclasses and workshops in Wales, England, North America, Canada, Singapore and Australia. In August 2019 Karen will be a plenary speaker  at the Oxford Conducting Institute and at the Sydney Conservatorium Conference.

Catrin Johnsson – Voice Pedagogue

Catrin Johnsson, mezzo soprano, was born in Sweden and trained at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm and at the Royal Academy of Music, London. In 2018 she was awarded an ARAM. Other awards include the prestigious Christina Nilsson Award. She has worked as a principal artist for companies such as English National Opera and Opera Holland Park and in 2016 Catrin made her debut for NZ Opera in their production of The Magic Flute as Second Lady. In concert she has performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and St John’s, Smith Square in London. Catrin is a Performance Teacher in Voice and Stagecraft at the University of Auckland, is language and vocal coach for Voices NZ Chamber Choir and the Auckland Chamber Choir and is Principal of Faculty and Curriculum for the New Zealand Singing School. In 2017, Catrin was National Adjudicator for the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition. Catrin is also an accomplished organist who began her professional career at the age of 15 years.

David Squire – Conducting Strand Tutor

David Squire, MMus Hons, PGDipMus, DipTchg, is music director of the New Zealand Youth Choir, the Westlake Symphony Orchestra, and top-performing Big Sing choirs Voicemale and Euphony. He is in demand as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, mentor and workshop presenter. He has been teaching secondary school music for over 25 years and his musical ensembles have frequently won local, national and international awards. He was a member of the NZ Youth Choir and Dorian Choir, and a foundation member of Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir.

Dr Andrew Withington Conducting Strand Tutor

Andrew has a PhD in Music (Choral Pedagogy). In 2000, as Senior Scholar in Music at the University of Canterbury, he completed a Bachelor of Music (First Class Honours) in Conducting, Orchestration and Analysis, and was awarded the prestigious Vernon Griffiths Prize for Outstanding Musical Leadership. After three years as a school teacher, Andrew completed a Master of Music (First Class Honours) in Choral Conducting with Associate Professor Dr Karen Grylls at the University of Auckland. During his Masters’ programme, he represented New Zealand in a masterclass at the World Symposium on Choral Music 2005 in Kyoto, Japan. Andrew is a former Director of the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir (2008-18), University of Canterbury Chamber Choir Consortia (2013-16), Christchurch City Choir (2014-16), Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival (2011-12) and Christchurch Boys’ Choir (1997-2004). He has adjudicated and run choral clinics in New Zealand and internationally and is an Advisor for NZCF. Andrew's PhD research poster was recently selected for presentation at the American Choral Directors' Association 2019 Conference in Kansas City.

Jono Palmer – Artistic Programme Coordinator & Conducting Strand Tutor

Jono Palmer, MM, BMus Hons, Dip Tchg, is currently a doctoral student in Choral Conducting at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His choirs have won national and international acclaim, including two Gold Medals at the 2015 Grand Prix of Nations in Magdeburg, Germany. As a conductor, Jono has been selected for masterclasses at the World Symposium on Choral Music and the NCCO National Conference. In October 2018, he was one of six finalists in the Grand Final of the inaugural London International Choral Conducting Competition.

Rachel Fuller Guest Presenter & Accompanying Strand Tutor

Rachel Fuller, M.Mus(RAM), studied piano at the University of Canterbury with Diedre Irons and went on to gain her Masters in Piano Accompaniment from the Royal Academy of Music in London. As an experienced vocal accompanist, répétiteur and coach, Rachel has worked at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at Opera Kristiansund and Opera Nordfjord in Norway, and also with leading British opera companies including Diva Opera, Opera della Luna and London Opera Players. She has accompanied some of the world’s finest singers including tenor Keith Lewis. She has been a regular accompanist and coach for the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.

Rachel is Co-Principal of the New Zealand Singing School and is a professional teaching fellow at the University of Auckland where she teaches collaborative piano to pianists at all levels of study, is a vocal coach and accompanist as well as coordinator of piano.  Rachel is also a highly sought-after chamber musician and has recently collaborated with cellists Ramón Jaffé, Edith Salzmann and Martin Rummel as well as violinists Leo Phillips and APO concertmaster Andrew Beer.

Megan Flint Guest Presenter & Repertoire Reading Session

Megan Flint, M.Mus.(Hons), B.Ed., Dip. Tchg., ATCL (Voice), has a background in education and music, as both a primary school teacher and music specialist. Megan completed her Masters degree in Choral Conducting through The University of Auckland with Dr Karen Grylls. She is a practitioner of Kodály-inspired music education, having completed her training through The Cuskelly College of Music, Australia. Megan is the face behind Kodály Aotearoa and fills her time making music with students, mentoring teachers and facilitating professional development opportunities for educators around the country. Megan is the co-author of Hear Our Voices, a handbook for leaders of children’s choirs and presents the successful national workshop series Primary Gestures for the NZ Choral Federation, as well as being a conducting mentor.

Mark Stamper Repertoire Reading Session

Mark L. Stamper began his musical training on the piano at the age of three. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Winthrop University in 1986 and was awarded a Master of Music degree with a concentration in Choral Conducting from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas in 1989. During his career, Mark has directed professional choirs, university choirs, various community choirs, church choirs, and most recently founded Inspirare, a professional choir in Wellington. Many of these ensembles have performed with instrumentalists, ranging from solo instruments to full orchestra. In addition to his choral experience, he has conducted a wide array of genres, including opera, oratorio, ballet, orchestral, and Broadway musicals. In Wellington, Mark leads six different ensembles: SYLO – a chorus for older adults who are chronically ill, Wellington Young Voices, Wellington Youth Choir, Wellington and Queen Margaret College Chorales, and Inspirare. Mark emigrated from America in 2015 and is now a resident of New Zealand.

Julie Wylie –  Guest Presenter

Julie Wylie MNZM founded the New Zealand Musical Parenting Association 26 years ago. She is the founder of the musical play programme at the Champion Centre, Burwood Hospital, Christchurch, where she is the senior music specialist. Julie has been invited to present music workshops and papers in many countries, including Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. She has received awards for her music leadership, and her music resources have won international awards. Julie was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours. She has her own music school for mothers and babies and children aged 0-8 years, and is Co-Director of a Postgraduate online training programme in Play Therapy and Musical Play. Julie is currently involved in a research project at the Champion Centre, with mothers and their prematurely born infants.

Other presenters will be announced soon.