Robert Wiremu - Maori Advisor

Robert says... ”I’ve been teaching musicianship skills and vocal coaching, in my role as Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland. As a choral coach, I’ve also been blessed to work with Choirs Aotearoa NZ’s reserves academy, Voices NZ (“Voices Loves Opera”), and with Voices NZ, NZ Youth Choir, NZ Secondary Students’ Choir, and the reserves academy (“Orff’s Carmina Burana”); and also, with some stunning emerging singers on behalf of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation for its “Singers of Interest” Programme.

I’ve done a bit of presenting, notably at the inaugural NZ Children’s Choral Academy in Pakuranga where I discussed ‘Vocal Technique – the warmup process’ and my diction model ‘The Wiremu Vowel Clock’. I also presented to a very receptive music class of graduates and undergraduates at the University of West Washington (via zoom) on ‘Choral Practice in Practice’. I’m designing further presentations on “The relationship between acoustics and aesthetics”, “The languages of supremacy and colonialism in music”, and “Ka mau te wehi: a story of legacy”.

There’s been quite a lot of writing, for a non-writer that is. I’ve made musical arrangements for Benson Wilson (“Victory and Glory – Ake Ake Kia Kaha E”, at the Leeds Lieder Festival); Te Ohorere Williams (“Hine, e hine”, accompanied by Steinway Artist Jason Bae, for the Sounds of Friendship Concert); The Auckland Opera Studio (“Whakaaria Mai”, for their Opera Gala Concert); Voices NZ (“Hine, e hine”, for The State Memorial Service for Queen Elizabeth 2); and I’m completing commissions for next year for The IO Festival in Kaitaia (“Kai a Te Rangatira”) and for Chamber Music NZ (“Reimagining Mozart’s Requiem”) in collaboration with Voices NZ – these will be presented in 2023.

I’ve accompanied lots of fabulous singers and a couple of choirs, but to mention just a few: the Auckland Chamber Choir, directed by Jonathan Palmer (International Society for Contemporary Music and the Farewell Concert for Associate Professor Dr Karen Grylls ONZM, which included my arrangements of “Leaning on a lamppost” and “Aio”); Luminata choir’s “Let her voice shine” with Vanessa Kay, in Auckland and Matakana; and most recently for superstar operatic bass Professor Jonathan Lemalu MNZM at The Piano, in Christchurch.

Watch out in 2023 for “Matariki – hunga nui”, which I’m co-producing. It’s a multi-choir/multi-composer collaboration which will be previewed the Holy Trinity Cathedral and then presented at the World Choir Games in Tamaki-Makaurau in 2024. I’m one of three founding trustees for The Auckland Chamber Choir Trust; I joined the SOUNZ board and made space for others at the NZ Choral Federation; I’ve continued my work with the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation; advised Choirs Aotearoa NZ and Te Reo Ruruku (Opera NZ).