Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir

About Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir

Voices New Zealand

Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir, with Music Director Dr Karen Grylls, made its début at the 1998 New Zealand International Arts Festival and later that year won awards at the Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain.

Recent projects include appearances with Jack Body’s PASSIO, Tippet’s A Child of our Time and Brittens’ Requiem for the Fallen (all Auckland Arts Festival), Ross Harris’ Requiem for the Fallen (also NZ Festival and Dunedin Arts Festival) and a gala concert with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa for the last New Zealand Festival.

Critically acclaimed recordings include Spirit of the Land, and Voice of the Soul.

VOICES New Zealand was formed in 1998 with Dr Karen Grylls as its Music Director. As a nationally selected choir of the highest calibre, VOICES is a chamber choir that is flexible in size, and capable of performing a wide repertoire. Many of the singers are alumni of the New Zealand Youth Choir.

With its distinct New Zealand sound, performing music from Aotearoa/New Zealand and infusing the qualities of its pacific origins into the classic choral repertoire, VOICES has established itself as the country’s premier national and professional choir. VOICES regularly performs at Arts Festivals around the country, collaborates with orchestras, Chamber Music New Zealand, Taonga Puoro and other artists across creative genres.

VOICES also tours internationally and is the choir-of-choice for arts festivals and special projects.

History and Highlights

The choir made its début at the 1998 New Zealand International Arts Festival in a recital with the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra and Keith Lewis. Later that year it won gold and silver awards at the Tolosa International Choral Competition in the Basque region of Spain. In 2000 it appeared at the New Zealand International Arts Festival which led to a collaboration with the prestigious Aradia Ensemble from Canada, resulting in the completion of a world premiere recording of the Vanhal Masses for Naxos.

In 2004 the choir participated in the Otago Festival of the Arts, and concluded the year recording a CD which features New Zealand repertoire and composers - including two pieces commissioned especially for the choir with the assistance of Creative New Zealand. This CD, Spirit of the Land, won Best Classical Album at the 2006 NZ Music Awards.

In May 2005 the choir represented New Zealand at the 9th International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany. In 2008 Voices NZ performed at the New Zealand International Arts Festival in ‘The Poet’, a work composed for VOICES and the New Zealand String Quartet by Jenny McLeod, setting poems by Janet Frame.

In 2010 Voices NZ joined the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) in a performance of Mahler's Symphony No 8, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy. This concert was the opening Gala performance of the NZ International Arts Festival in Wellington and was broadcast live on a large screen in Wellington’s Civic Square and on the internet, reaching an audience of thousands.

In August 2011 VOICES was one of the 24 international choirs appearing at the 9th World Symposium on Choral Music in Puerto Madryn in Argentina. In the same year the ensemble performed two nationwide tours, including a tour with the NZSO performing Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ and a national tour of ‘Voices of Aotearoa’ for Chamber Music New Zealand.

In 2013 Voices NZ joined the NZ Youth Choir for acclaimed performances in the Auckland Arts Festival celebrating the centenary of Benjamin Britten, ‘War Requiem’ and ‘Little Britten’. In 2014 VOICES premiered ‘Requiem for the Fallen’, a Choirs Aotearoa/New Zealand String Quartet commission from Ross Harris and Vincent O’Sullivan in the New Zealand Festival; ’…the performance was a model of extraordinary polish and riveting intensity.’ Dominion Post

Voices NZ’s CD ‘Voice of the Soul’ on the Atoll label was released in 2014.

In 2015 VOICES performed Tippett’s ‘Child of our Time’, a return concert of Requiem for the Fallen’, and a joint concert ‘Ata Reira’ with the NZ Youth Choir at part of the Auckland Arts Festival.

A sell-out gala concert with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was one of the classical highlights in the 2016 New Zealand Festival. In the same year the premiere of ‘Salut Printemps!’, an all French programme, sold out in Auckland and will tour to Wellington, Tauranga and Nelson in 2017.