DAME MALVINA MAJOR
Dame Malvina Lorraine Major PCNZM DBE (born 28 January 1943) was born in Hamilton, New Zealand into a large musical family. As a child she performed at various concerts, singing mainly country and western pop and music from the shows. She received her first classical training in 1955, from Sister Mary Magdalen at Ngaruawahia, north of Hamilton. Sister Febronie continued with her voice training and Sister Liguori gave her piano tuition. As her potential blossomed, Major began travelling weekly to Ponsonby in Auckland, where she received further tuition from Dame Sister Mary Leo at St Mary’s College Music School. Sister Mary Leo was internationally recognised as one of the great music teachers, and she later taught another famous New Zealand soprano, Kiri Te Kanawa.
Major later moved to England for further study at the London Opera Centre under the guidance of renowned teacher Ruth Packer.
Her successes include winning the 1963 New Zealand Mobil Song Quest beating Kiri who was second (The 1965 contest was in fact won by Dame Kiri). She also won the Australian Melbourne Sun-Aria in 1965, and the prestigious London based Kathleen Ferrier Award in 1966. Malvina later performed in international concerts including a BBC concert broadcast in London, an outdoor concert at the pyramids in Egypt with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, and a charity concert for Vera Lynn in London. She has performed more than 30 opera roles in their original languages. She has recorded numerous records and CDs.
Michael Houstoun is the most outstanding pianist in New Zealand. He was born in 1952 in Timaru, and began to learn piano at a very early age. In 1973, having won every major competition in the country, he ventured abroad and entered the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition where he was placed third. Other international competition successes came in 1975 (the Leeds Competition) and in 1982 (the Tchaikowsky Competition).
For some years, Michael lived away from New Zealand and during this time he studied in the USA, and performed numerous concerts there, also in the UK, and in Germany and Holland.
However, in 1981 Michael followed his heart back to New Zealand where he has continued to live and concertise ever since, performing also in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. He plays from a large repertoire which stretches from J.S. Bach to the present day, including 40 concertos and chamber music.
OFFICE MANAGER – CLARE MONTI
Clare Monti has been involved with the School of Music most of her life; playing piano from the age of 6, later violin & percussion. She performs regularly with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra and Samba de Sol as well as accompanying students of musical theatre. Clare has also worked for the Adam Chamber Music Festival since 2008 and became Chamber Music New Zealand concert manager for Nelson in 2012. Clare was appointed Office Manager at the School of Music in February 2015.
RECEPTIONIST/ADMINISTRATOR – JAN SELLERS
Jan Sellers has a long involvement with the Nelson School of Music. She is a firm believer in education and feels that every child should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. She is a keen gardener.
Roger was educated at Nelson College and University of Canterbury graduating with a BA and MCom. He is a chartered accountant CA and practised as a corporate finance adviser and company director. Roger is a director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, a council member of Victoria University of Wellington and director of Port Taranaki Limited. He is a trustee of the Adam Chamber Music Festival and a former member of the QE11 Arts Council and the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company.
Bob has a long association with the School spanning over 27 years. He was appointed Director of the School in 1987 and served through to 1994 where he organised the School’s centenary celebrations which included Nelson’s first music/arts festival. He is a free lance performer and sound engineer and currently manages the Adam Chamber Music Festival. Bob joined the board in August 2014.
Educated at Huntley School Marton, New Plymouth Boys High, and partially at Canterbury University. Mark has had involvement in the arts since 1972 as an event and festival organiser, theatre manager, craftsman woodturner, and occasional musician. During this time he has served on the Buller Arts Council, the Southern Regional Arts Council, and currently chairs the Nelson Historic Theatre Trust. In 1992 Mark founded Multishowcase Cinemas to redevelop the State Theatre into the modern cinema multiplex it is today and is a director of the company. He is the current president of the New Zealand Motion Picture Exhibitors Association, a member of NZ Motion Picture Industry Council, and a board member of the Independent Cinemas Association of Australia. In his spare time he installs projection and sound systems and provides design consultancy to cinemas.
Susannah grew up in Invercargill and Dunedin, and gained an Honours degree and a Phd in Education at the University of Canterbury. After working in policy development and research in the Ministry of Education she went to London where she worked in policy development in a Local Authority. She had the good sense to make Nelson her home in 2003 when she returned to New Zealand to raise her family. Since arriving she has been involved in a wide range of community activities, including as a Board member of the Nelson District Kindergarten Association, and three years as Chair of the Nelson Central School Community Group. During this period she also completed a Diploma in Primary School teaching, taught and worked as a self-employed research consultant.
For the last four years she has been the Manager of the Fifeshire Foundation, Nelson’s own charity that supports people in domestic crisis and she has recently begun teaching Research Methods at the NMIT Business School. Susannah joined the Board in December 2014, and she, her partner and their boys are all involved in music in various ways.
Jan grew up in Auckland, attending Takapuna Grammar School and gaining a BA (University of Auckland), Dip Ed and Dip Tchg. She spent most of her working career in education, teaching at primary and secondary schools to senior management level and lecturing at Auckland College of Education. In the last 10 years, Jan has been based at the University of Auckland, gaining an Honours and Masters’ Degree in Organisational Psychology, concurrently working as an advisor to various Boards in schools and industry. She recently completed a PhD investigating Stage Challenge and maintains a Research Fellowship at the University of Auckland. She is also a consultant to the Stage Challenge Foundation, mentoring schools throughout NZ during the Stage Challenge journey. In Nelson, Jan is Musical Director of the Off Your Rockers Chorus, a rock choir for young at heart over- 60s. Jan moved to Nelson in 2007 to marry a local man, and also has a married daughter and 3 grandchildren here.
Louise Walsh grew up and was educated in Wellington where a wide range of music has always been a part of her life. She studied law at Victoria University and was admitted to the bar in 1999. Subsequently, she has had ten years’ legal experience, working in both the private and public sector in New Zealand and the UK. Louise and her husband moved to Nelson in 2006. They have three children, two of whom are now enjoying music lessons at the Nelson School of Music.