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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

  • Richard J. Milne

    Picture of Richard J. MilneRichard has been a singing member of Auckland Choral for over 14 years, as a member of the Bass section, and is currently Deputy Chairperson and a member of the Finance and Management Subcommittee. He strongly supports the vision of the current Music Director, to develop Auckland Choral as a major symphonic choir, working with international and local artists and professional orchestras.   

    As a healthcare scientist, Richard believes that music, laughter and friendship are the best medicines; and he finds that Auckland Choral provides all of these. Richard has an adult son and daughter and two grandchildren who love music.

     
  • 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”.

     

     

     
  • Jim Allardyce

    Picture of Jim AllardyceJim Allardyce here from Whangarei. Commuting to Auckland for work, down on a Tuesday and back on a Friday, has opened up a new side to my social calendar. Rehearsals at the choir have become my weekly highlight forming a natural part of my week. Joining only this year, I remember going for my first visit to "check it all out" - I sat at the back amazed at the choir sight-reading Mendelssohn in German (as it was their first reading and performance of the piece). Very soon I was in the thick of it - rolling my r's in Mendelssohn's tongue with the other singers in my bass one section. My inaugural concert in the Auckland Town Hall was unforgettable as the choir was stupendous.

    My day job is highly motivating, as a health and safety professional.  Working throughout a range of industries spanning 25 years I continue to provide coaching to ensure people take ownership for managing risk. My daily priority is sustaining zero harm and I do this by ensuring safe work methods and promoting a great safety culture. 

     

     
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