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.
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.
Recent performance highlights include the 2018 European Tour to London, Hamburg, Berlin, Aix-en-Provence and Barcelona, appearances in Jack Body’s Passio, Tippet’s A Child of our Time and Britten’s War Requiem (all Auckland Arts Festival), and Ross Harris’ Requiem for the Fallen (also NZ Festival and Dunedin Arts Festival). A sell-out gala concert with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was one of the classical highlights in the 2016 New Zealand Festival. VOICES performed an especially commissioned work The Unusual Silence by Victoria Kelly at the WW100 commemorations in Le Quesnoy, France in November 2018. VOICES created a new, dramatically-staged, environmental programme Toanga Moana in 2019 which toured to nine New Zealand centres with Chamber Music New Zealand.
Critically acclaimed recordings include Spirit of the Land (winner of a 'TUI', a New Zealand Music Award for Best Classical Album), and Voice of the Soul.
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 tours internationally and is the choir-of-choice for arts festivals and special projects.
HISTORY & HIGHLIGHTS
2 Premieres: Taonga Moana & Follow the Star
July and October 2019
Voices NZ toured two new programmes; Follow the Star a midwinter programme featuring well-known Christmas carols and new arrangements of known Christmas songs by 5 New Zealand and 1 Pasifika artist.
Taonga Moana - A love letter to the oceans, is an innovative, fully staged concert event that Voices NZ toured to 9 centres in New Zealand to overwhelming audience response:
"The concert of the year"
"Beauty of a high order’"
"Stunning – from the first note to the last"
Directed by Sara Brodie with video art and soundscapes created by Mic and Tim Gruchy, Taonga Moana toured with Chamber Music New Zealand and was part of three regional arts festivals.
The King's Singers and Voices NZ
10/11 March 2018
Performing jointly to celebrate The King's Singers 50th and Voices NZ's 20th anniversaries at the New Zealand Festival in Wellington and Auckland Arts Festival this concert was seen by nearly 3,000 people. The Wellington concert was also recorded by Radio New Zealand for future broadcast. This concert also featured the world premiere of the commissioned 'This Watershed Time' by New Zealand composer Leonie Holmes. 'It was an unmitigated pleasure to experience the vocal sheen and expertise when the two groups joined forces' - The New Zealand Herald.
PASSIO at Auckland Arts Festival
19 March 2017
Immersive and surprising, the staging of late New Zealand composer Jack Body's PASSIO invited audience members to promenade around and passed soloists, orchestra and choir, creating an experience that many regarded as their festival highlight in 2017. Featuring soprano Madeleine Pierard, Auckland Chamber Orchestra and VOICES, conducted by Peter Scholes and Karen Grylls.
“The full immersive festival experience… for 75 minutes, we were almost part of one of the greatest stories ever told” New Zealand Herald
“Passio exerts its own mystical power” New Zealand Herald
“Passio was an uplifting and memorable musical experience” National Business Review
“The soloists, Lachlan Craig as St Mathew, Joel Amosa as Christ and Madeleine Pierard as the holy spirit were a trio of exceptional voices” National Business Review
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Voices NZ
13 March 2016
This one-off, sell-out New Zealand Festival gala recital in Wellington featured one of the most honoured sopranos of all time – Dame Kiri Te Kanawa – as soloist and alongside the ‘supreme polish and breath-taking accuracy’ The Dominion Post of Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir. Supported by internationally renowned piano accompanist Terence Dennis in works by Schubert, Strauss and Brahms.
National ANZAC Day Commemorative Service
25 April 2015
Voices NZ Chamber Choir sang at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington during the National ANZAC Day Commemorative Service, broadcast live on national television, in the presence of government dignitaries and armed forces representatives.
Requiem for the Fallen at Auckland Arts Festival
13 March 2015
This one-off, profoundly moving musical experience, Requiem for the Fallen, was written by composer Ross Harris, poet laureate Vincent O’Sullivan and taonga puoro specialist Horomona Horo to commemorate the centenary of World War I. A beautifully staged, wide-ranging musical drama featuring Conductor Karen Grylls, Director Jonathan Alver, Tenor Richard Greager, NZ String Quartet, VOICES NZ Chamber Choir and the NZ Youth Choir.
18 March 2015
Voices NZ and the NZ Youth Choir under their respective Music Directors, Karen Grylls and David Squire, jointly presented a recital entitled ‘Ata Reira’ in Auckland Town Hall. With Kristin School’s Euphony and James Tibbles on organ performing Bob Chilcott’s ‘Canticles of Light’ in a programme around the first light of dawn.
Michael Tippett's 'A Child of Our Time' at Auckland Arts Festival
21 March 2015
Voices NZ and NZ Youth Choir join conductor Eckehard Stier and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time.
Fauré Requiem by Candlelight
7 June 2014
A sell-out performance of Fauré’s Requiem with soprano Jayne Tankersley, mezzo Bianca Andrew, baritone Christopher Hillier and organist Michael Stewart in Wellington’s Cathedral of St Paul. Orchestra Wellington and Voices NZ Chamber Choir conducted by Karen Grylls.
Voices NZ in Australia
In November 2014, Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir performed in Sydney and Melbourne. It was the second time in the choir’s 16-year history that it visited Australia – in 2000, the female chorus of Voices NZ collaborated with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for a performance at the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival.
Little Britten, A Tribute to Benjamin Britten
20 March 2013
Voices NZ and NZ Youth Choir perform works by Britten in a recital in Holy Trinity Cathedral. Conducted by Karen Grylls and David Squire with organist James Tibbles, marking the centenary of Britten’s birth. Works included A Hymn to the Virgin, Five Flower Songs and Festival Te Deum.
Britten's War Requiem at the Auckland Arts Festival
23 March 2013
Voices NZ Chamber Choir and the NZ Youth Choir in a sold-out Auckland Town Hall with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Eckehard Stier in Britten’s magnum opus War Requiem. With fêted Irish soprano Orla Boylan, tenor Timothy Robinson and baritone Ivan Ludlow, and a combined local children’s choir.
Mozart Requiem by Candlelight
6 June 2012
An enchanting performance of Mozart’s Requiem, the Süssmayr version, in St Paul’s Cathedral with Orchestra Wellington, soprano Morag Atchison, mezzo Bianca Andrew, tenor Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua and bass Shane Lowrencev and Voices NZ Chamber Choir
18 December 2012
A beautiful performance of the Mozart arrangement of Handel’s Messiah with soprano Morag Atchison, mezzo Bianca Andrew, tenor Henry Choo and bass James Clayton. Orchestra Wellington and Voices NZ Chamber Choir conducted by Karen Grylls.
Voices of Aotearoa – Chamber Music New Zealand Tour
19-24 November 2011
The spine-tingling call of a conch shell, the strains of Hildegard von Bingen and medieval organum intertwined with traditional Maori, Samoan, and Taiwanese chant. Music inspired by New Zealand's geographical landscape, including Helen Fisher's Pounamu, with its haunting Maori flute accompaniment. Folksongs from the British Isles, Europe and Scandinavia, as well as our neighbouring countries in the Pacific. A successful Voices NZ Chamber Choir tour of Wellington, Napier, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Tour of Argentina and New Zealand
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.
Mahler Symphony No. 8 with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
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.
'Spirit of the Land' wins a TUI, a National Music Award
A recording featuring New Zealand repertoire and composers - including two pieces commissioned especially for the choir with the assistance of Creative New Zealand won Best Classical Album at the 2006 NZ Music Awards.
9th International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany
In May 2005 the choir represented New Zealand at the 9th International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany.
Voices NZ and Canadian Aradia Ensemble – NZ International Arts Festival
World premiere concert and CD recording of the Vanhal Masses for Naxos with the prestigious Aradia Ensemble from Canada.
Tolosa International Choral Competition, Spain
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 Gold and Silver awards at the Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain.