Untitled design (1)


HORIZONS brings music, poetry and song from the old world and the new to map a story that bears witness to the ambiguous emotions of migration: the inescapable loss and trauma, the unexpected beauty and joy, the cruelty and violence and the endless and often futile dreams of a new home.

In this special immersive concert experience, audiences will be free to sit, stand or move around the ‘set’ following the Voices singers, storyteller Nathaniel Lees and the sound of drums to a peaceful pasture of chamomile, the excited hubbub of a bustling market and the craggy promontories of farewell.

Songs, stories and experiences from lands very much warmer than this one to snow-covered peaks thousands of miles away from here will open your hearts to the ebb and flow, the tragedy, tumult and celebration experienced by people from around the globe and across the centuries.

Concert Repertoire

Going Home /A gift to be simple (partner tune improvisation)

Going Home - Arr. Brent Stewart

Arabesques (Marsh) – III & IV - Joanna Marsh

Laevas Lauldakse / Singing Aboard Ship - Veljo Tormis

Huwiyati: Muhajer – Citizens of Horizons - Shireen Abu-Khader

Cry the Wounded Land - Rosa Elliot 

The Peace of Wild Things - Joseph Twist

Northern Lights - Ēriks Ešenvalds

V: He Tūrama Mutunga Kore / Lux Aeterna and VII: Nau Mai Ra / In Paradisum from Miha: A Mass in Te Reo Māori - Takerei Komene

The Team

Karen Grylls - Music Director


Dr Karen Grylls CNZM founded Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir in 1998 and the choir has achieved great acclaim internationally in performance and recording. She is Artistic Director of the Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand Trust, the managing body for the NZ Youth Choir and Voices NZ.  Dr Grylls was Conductor and Artistic Director of the New Zealand Youth Choir from 1989 to 2011, and Artistic Director of Toronto’s Exultate Chamber Choir from 2011 to 2013.

A graduate of both Otago and Auckland Universities, Karen studied post-graduate Conducting and Music Theory at the University of Washington, Seattle, for four years. In 1985 she returned to NZ to teach at the University of Auckland and take up the directorship of the Auckland Dorian Choir.

As a result of her musical directorship, the New Zealand Youth Choir has enjoyed notable international successes including: the Silver Rosebowl in the “Let the Peoples Sing” radio competition in 1992, “Choir of the World” at the 1999 International Eisteddfod in Llangollen and the “Grand Prix Slovakia” also in 1999.

With equal success Voices New Zealand won first and second placings in the mixed choir section of the Tolosa International Choral Competition in October 1998. With these choirs, she has won further prizes and accolades in Gorizia 2004, and Llangollen and Cantonigros, Spain in 2007.

In 1996 Auckland University honoured her with a Distinguished Teaching Award in Music and in 2023 she became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for her services to choral music. She is also the recipient of the KBB Citation from the Composers’ Association of New Zealand and the Lilburn Trust Citation for services to New Zealand music. TOWER Voices CD  Spirit of the Land took the 2006 Tui Award for  Best Classical Album, and the CD Voice of the Soul was a finalist in the 2013 Vodafone NZ Music awards.

Karen is much in demand as an adjudicator for competitions worldwide, including the 48th International competition in Tolosa, the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition, Bavaria, and The World Choir Games in Xiamen, China. She is sought internationally as a choral clinician and regularly conducts masterclasses and workshops in Wales, England, North America, Canada and Australia.

Jacqueline Coats - Stage Director



We’re excited to be working with Director Jacqueline Coats who has many feathers in her cap. She has worked as a director and an assistant director for the NZ International Festival of the Arts, NZ Opera, Victorian Opera in Melbourne, CubaDupa in Wellington and many more. She has won accolades from the NZ Fringe and the Wellington Theatre Awards, and in 2014 was ‘Director of the Year’ at the Dunedin Theatre Awards for her premiere of Anthony Richie’s This Other Eden.

Jacqueline has a passion for theatre and opera for young people. She has worked as an actor, a music director and a stage director for Capital E National Theatre for Children, most recently directing their touring production of Songs of the Sea. Jacqueline’s theatre credits include the original touring productions of Lines from the Nile and Home; a promenade production of Martin Sherman’s Bent; and co-directing two shows for Wellington Summer Shakespeare. She directed Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona for Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School at the end of 2018.

Nathaniel Lees - Narrator


Nathaniel is an accomplished actor and director who is well-known in New Zealand's dramatic arts. He has appeared in multiple Aotearoa theatre, TV and film productions, and many international movies.

A fluent Samoan speaker, Nathaniel is an active advocate of the cultures, languages, theatre and arts of the Pacific Islands and has used theatre and film projects to showcase these. Underscoring his career has been a commitment to share his knowledge, skills and culture, and to support others to do the same.

Highlights of his long career include directing American-Samoan John Kneubuhl’s Think of a Garden, for which he won Chapman Tripp Best Director of the Year in 1995. He directed Fresh off the Boat, written by Oscar Kightley and Simon Small for Ōtautahi Christchurch’s Pacific Underground, in 1993. He also directed another Kightley tale (co-written with David Fane), A Frigate Bird Sings, for the 1996 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts. The production was nominated for multiple Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.

In 2004 he was awarded the Senior Pacific Artist Award at the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards. He cast and produced The Orator - O Le Tulafale, a Samoan language feature film which won accolades at the 2011 Venice Film Festival.

Nathaniel’s many TV roles include Shark in the Park; Power Rangers; The Lost Children; Young Hercules; Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; Xena: Warrior Princess and The Dead Lands, amongst others.

His feature film credits include roles in Rapa Nui; The Matrix Reloaded; The Matrix Revolutions; Lord of the Rings; 30 Days of Night; Under the Mountain; Mr. Pip; Mortal Engines; Sione’s Wedding, Sione’s Wedding: Unfinished Business; The Legend of Baron To'a and Red, White and Brass.

Jeremy Fitzsimmons - Percussionist

Jeremy F

Jeremy Fitzsimons graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours in 1995. While at Victoria University he formed and led the Big Band, was appointed Principal Percussionist of the Wellington Sinfonia, played with many other ensembles including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and attended the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.

A Fulbright Scholarship took him to the United States where he received his Masters (1997) and Performance Certificate (1998) from Northwestern University in Chicago. While in Chicago Jeremy was principal percussionist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a member of the award winning Northwestern University Percussion Ensemble and also attended the Music Academy of the West in California and the LHS marimba seminar in New Jersey.

Jeremy was a founding member and director of percussion group Strike from 1993 – 2003, and has toured for Chamber Music New Zealand both as a duo with Bridget Douglas (flute), concert tango group Tango Virtuosi, percussion duo Double Lateral and with Pedro Carneiro. He has recorded a CD of Gareth Farr’s marimba music, Tangaroa, and played on John Psathas’ CD, Fragments, both on the Morrison Music Trust label. He is currently Principal Percussionist with the Vector Wellington Orchestra, casual with the NZSO, pursuing various chamber and solo projects and enjoying fatherhood.


VNZ and Horo_web crop



Celia Aspey-Gordon

Nicola Holt

Emma Roxburgh

Anna Sedcole

Chelsea Whitfield

Fiona Wilson



Melissa Absolum

Morag Atchison

Andrea Cochrane

Megan Hurnard

Keani  Taruia-Pora

Jess Wells



Matthew Bennett

Phillip Collins

Jared Corbett

Steven Rapana

Richard Taylor

Jack Timings



Gregory Camp

James Harrison

Rowan Johnston

Takerei Komene

Blake Nicholson

Blake Scanlen



Catrin Johnsson


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.