Competition success for NZSM student and graduate

The calibre of training at the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī is highlighted by the success of a student and an alumna in a prestigious Australasian singing competition.

Katherine McIndoe and Pasquale Orchard

Master of Musical Arts (MMA) student Pasquale Orchard and Bachelor of Music with Honours, First Class (BMus(Hons)) graduate Katherine McIndoe have both won places in the finals of the 2018 IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition.

Recognised as one of the longest running events of its kind, this competition for Australasian opera and classical singers under the age of twenty-six offers career-launching opportunities and prizes, with the main prize being the AUD$30,000 Marianne Mathy Scholarship.

Pasquale and Katherine were selected for the semi-final out of about 100 contestants. From there they have both made it to the final to be held on 8 September, where five singers will compete for a range of prizes and scholarships. As semi-finalists, the women had to prepare four or more songs and arias including a piece by a Baroque or Classical composer and a song for voice and piano.

The contestants performed their selections at a private adjudication session followed by a public concert where each of the singers performed a lied—a German poem set to classical music, typically of the Romantic period—and an aria.

Currently studying for her MMA, Pasquale graduated with a BMus(Hons), First Class, in Classical Performance Voice in 2017. Pasquale’s performance in the semi-finals won her the Radzyminksi Family Prize consisting of a year of French lessons at Alliance Française.

“This is another amazing step on my musical journey and I am so thankful for all the support I have received so far,” she says. Pasquale had another success this year when she was named a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera for 2019.

Also a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist (2016), Katherine holds a BMus(Hons), First Class, in Classical Performance Voice. In 2017, she was awarded GBP£10,000 to study an Artist Masters in Vocal Studies at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

“It's such a wonderful boost just to be selected for the final, but it will also be amazing to get the chance to sing some of my favourite repertoire with an orchestra of this calibre—I can't wait,” says Katherine.

Senior lecturer in Classical Performance Voice Jenny Wollerman has taught both Katherine and Pasquale and is currently supervising Pasquale for her MMA. She says, “It’s a tremendous thrill for me to have two students in this year’s final and I’m planning to travel to Sydney for it. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to gain exposure at this level in Australia—with only five singers in the final, I’m looking forward to an exciting evening in Sydney on the 8th September.”