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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

  • Anna Bassett

    Picture of Anna Bassett

    Hi, I’m Anna, and I am originally from the UK but have called New Zealand home for over 20 years. I sang in choirs in the UK in a past life but had a long sabbatical owing to a transient career in the yachting industry, sailing far and wide. I joined Auckland Choral in 2011 when work brought me closer to home, and became a member of the Management and Marketing committees. I sing sop 1, and I am thrilled to be singing again, particularly as part of such an inspiring, fun and talented choir.

    More recently I got a degree in Sport Management at Unitec, and I freelance between sport events, the marine industry and a Youth Leadership programme at Unitec. For kicks, I love to tramp, ski, swim, climb, sail, paddle – and generally go for really long walks in the beautiful New Zealand “outback”.

     

     

     
  • Katherine Hong

    Picture of Katherine HongHi, I am Katherine Hong - Alto 1, joined Auckland Choral in the early 2016.  I am crazy about 18th and 19th century classical music and dreamt one day I could sing "Messiah" in a symphonic choir.  And now not only I sing "Messiah" but also have lots of  opportunities to sing other beautiful and heavenly music which I never dreamt that dream.  No single rehearsal I want to miss.

    I have one son and one furry kid.  I spend most of my time with my furry kid and enjoy watching ballet and will never get bored.

     
  • Olive Leddy

    Picture of Olive LeddyI have sung ever since I can remember, joining choirs through school and university, and in the course of teaching, took up conducting choirs. Around this time I re-discovered the personal joy of singing in a choir and have sung with Auckland Choral for over ten years now. As Chair of the Auckland Committee of the New Zealand Choral Federation, I am doing all I can to strengthen the choral community in our city, supporting  many choirs in primary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as our adult choirs. I have many other areas of interest, enjoy travelling with my husband and connecting with our three children. Music is an integral part of my life that I believe benefits in a multitude of ways those who participate in it. Everyone needs to find places of personal well-being and coming to Auckland Choral’s practices each week, is one of mine.

     
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