Hosted by Simon Christie, Choral Kōrero is a new series of talks that aims to uncover a broad spectrum of insights and anecdotes from New Zealand’s choral community. Throughout the series, Simon goes behind the scenes to chat with singers, conductors, composers, teachers and students and gains some fascinating perspectives on choral singing in New Zealand.
In his latest kōrero, Simon talks with vocal consultant and opera singer Dr Morag Atchison. Morag is a Lecturer in Voice at the University of Auckland, and is a vocal tutor for the New Zealand Youth Choir and the University of Auckland Chamber Choir. Simon talks with Morag about the vocal balance she strikes between performing as a soprano soloist and as an alto with Voices New Zealand.
In this next kōrero, Simon talks with soprano Pepe Becker, choral composer, founder-director of Baroque Voices and a member of Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir. Their conversation traverses a wide range of topics including early music specialisation, the use of vibrato in choirs and fair payment for artists.
Rowan is Director of the Auckland Youth Choir, DOM at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, and has won multiple awards with his choir Choralation at The Big Sing and in festivals in Europe. In this fascinating conversation, Rowan reveals his secrets for leading a secondary school choir to national and international success.
In the first kōrero of the series, Simon talks with Michael Stewart, Organist and Director of Music at Wellington’s Cathedral of St Paul, Deputy Music Director of the New Zealand Youth Choir, and Director of The Tudor Consort. Together, Simon and Michael explore the traditions, discipline and challenges of cathedral choral singing.
Simon began his choral journey in 1984 as a chorister at St Mary’s Church in Karori, Wellington. He participated in The Big Sing Finale with Wellington College, sang with vocal jazz group Face Value and was a member of the New Zealand National Youth Choir in the mid-90’s. Simon studied singing at Victoria University and at the Amsterdam Conservatorium in the Netherlands, and followed his studies with a career as a soloist in oratorio and opera.
In 2010, Simon moved back to New Zealand, where singing is now a hobby alongside a professional career in IT management. He continues to sing as an oratorio soloist, as a member of the Tudor Consort, and with the 4-voice ensemble Aurora IV. He also directs Resonance – a non-auditioned choir of 70 singers back where it all began – at St Mary’s Karori.