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Tower Voices New Zealand is a nationally selected chamber choir of the highest calibre. Adding to the already well-established reputation and base of the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir, Tower Voices New Zealand provides a senior performing choir, flexible in size, and capable of performing a wide range of repertoire.
Tower Voices New Zealand aims to perform with top orchestras and recording companies, and presents a cappella programmes of challenging repertoire not usually heard in New Zealand. With 32 singers coming together from around New Zealand the choir is directed by Karen Grylls.
Already, Tower Voices New Zealand has achieved international accolades. In 1998, the Choir was invited to represent Oceania, travelling to the Basque Country, Spain where it achieved gold and silver awards in the Tolosa International Choral Competition. It was also invited to compete in the European Grand Prix Competition as one of the top choirs from Tolosa, but was unable to travel at short notice to this event.
Debuting at the International Festival of the Arts in 1998 in a recital with the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra and Keith Lewis, they went on to perform Bach's St John Passion in Auckland and Wellington in June. In March 1999, Tower Voices New Zealand performed the Fauré Requiem and Poulenc Gloria with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington.
In 2000, Tower Voices New Zealand performed at the New Zealand International Festival in a solo recital as well as with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Glucks Orfeo and Euridice. Then in July, the Choir appeared in Auckland and Napier as part of the International Chamber Music Festival. Their collaboration with the prestigious Aradia Ensemble from Canada resulted in the completion of a world premiere recording of the Vanhal Masses for Naxos.
With 2001 comes national appearances and in August the choir represents New Zealand at the first Asia South Pacific Symposium on Choral Music in Singapore.
"Formed of singers older than those in the National Youth Choir, they display the same wonderful freshness allied to superb discipline and technical security."
(John Button, Dominion, March 1999)
"This choir has a remarkable level of control, vocal development and musicality. The fact that they are all trained voices means that an effortless power is available to them, with a wide and dramatic range of dynamic variation, and a nearly flawless blend of sound. All this is subject to an intensely disciplined musical sense, to provide undoubtedly the best chamber choir sound this country has ever heard."
(Simon Tipping, Capital Times, March 1999)
Musical Director: Dr Karen Grylls, ONZM
Ph.D. (Theory) Washington, M.M. (Choral Conducting) Washington,
M.Mus. Auckland, LRSM, LTCL, Dip. Teaching
Karen Grylls, Senior Lecturer in Conducting and Theory/Analysis and Head of Choral Studies and the School of Music, directed the Auckland Dorian Choir (1985-1998) and is currently the Musical Director of the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir. In March of 1998 she founded the chamber choir, Tower Voices New Zealand, under the auspices of the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir.
A graduate of both Otago and Auckland Universities, Karen studied post-graduate Conducting and Music Theory at the University of Washington, Seattle. After four years of study in the USA she returned to New Zealand in 1985 to teach at the Auckland University School of Music and to take up a position as Musical Director of the Auckland Dorian Choir.
In November 1988 Karen was appointed Musical Director of the prestigious Tower New Zealand Youth Choir. In 1992 this choir won the Silver Rose Bowl for the best choir in the international radio competition "Let the Peoples Sing" in Cologne, and they represented New Zealand at the 1993 World Choral Symposium in Vancouver and at the 1996 World Symposium in Sydney. With equal success, TOWER Voices New Zealand won first and second placings in the mixed choir section of the Tolosa International Choral Competition in October 1998.
Karen is much in demand as a clinician (most recently in Singapore, Melbourne and Brisbane) and she has several CD recordings to her credit. As Head of Choral Studies at Auckland University she also directs the Auckland University Singers and Campus Cantoris. In 1996 the university acknowledged her work with a Distinguished Teaching Award in Music, and in January 1999 she received a New Year's Honour, ONZM, for her services to choral music. She was appointed Head of the School of Music by Auckland University in March 2001.