About New Zealand Youth Choir

The New Zealand Youth Choir (NZYC) has achieved considerable success since its formation in 1979. Performances in New Zealand and twelve international tours including visits to the UK, Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore, Russia, the Republic of Korea, China and the Pacific Islands have firmly established its reputation for consistency, energy and excellence. The Choir is comprised of around fifty 18 to 25-year-old singers and operates on a 3-year audition cycle.

Historic Highlights

1979: The ‘National Youth Choir’ of New Zealand is founded by Guy Jansen. As Music Director he invites Peter Godfrey as Guest Conductor.

1982: NYC performs at Wembley with Kiri Te Kanawa during their first international tour.

1983: Prof Peter Godfrey is appointed Music Director.

1986: NYC wins youth section of global competition ‘Let the Peoples Sing’.

1988: During the 2nd international tour to Europe NYC wins Best Choir at the International Festival of Youth and Music in Vienna and two second places at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

1989: Karen Grylls became Music Director.

1992: The Choir won the Silver Rose Bowl in the ‘Let the Peoples Sing’ competition in 1992 as the best choir in a field of 26 choirs from 15 countries.

1999 NYC celebrates its 20th anniversary in Wellington with a concert with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

One of the Choir’s greatest achievements was winning the ‘Choir of the World’ title at the International Music Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales (see image at top of page). A week later they won the ‘Grand Prix Slovakia’. The tour also included Ireland, the Czech Republic, Vienna, London and Singapore.

2001: Now renamed New Zealand Youth Choir, the Choir undertook an international tour to Texas, USA.

2004: On their tour of Europe, the NZYC achieved highest marks in several categories at the 43rd Int. Choral Competition in Gorizia, Italy. The Choir recorded a new CD, Gaude, which was released to critical acclaim in June.

2005: Gaude was nominated as finalist in the Best Classical Album category at the 2005 NZ Music Awards.

2007: NZYC returned from an award-winning tour through Canada, the UK and Spain, having taken podium placings at two International Choral Competitions in Llangollen, Wales and Cantonigros, Spain, including winning the Mixed Choir category.

2009: was NZYC’s 30th Anniversary. The Choir toured to Invercargill, Gore, Dunedin, Kapiti, Palmerston, Wellington, Warkworth and Auckland, reinforcing its truly national nature.

2010: On its international NZYC performs at the World Expo in Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.

2011: David Squire became Music Director.

2013: At the end of 2013 the Choir undertook a much acclaimed three-week tour of the USA and Canada performing in Los Angeles, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Boston, New York and Washington.

2014: In February NZYC performed in the NZ Festival in Wellington – ‘…this concert was a timely reminder of the quality of choral singing we have in this country.’ Dominion Post

2016: During its 2016 European Landmark Tour, NZYC won the GRAND PRIX at the 2016 IFAS in Pardubice Czech Republic and also all four categories it competed in.

2017: Performed at National ANZAC Commemorations in Wellington to 4,000 spectators and live on TV.

2018: 'Triple C' concert at Wellington Opera House with three local community choirs.

2019: 40th anniversary celebrations including joint anniversary concert with National Youth Orchestra, anniversary concert with Voices New Zealad. Release of double CD 'Hokorua' – 40 years of NZYC. Pacific Tour to Fiji, Tonga, Niue, New Caledonia and Sydney

2020: A new NZYC starts its three-year cycle

Under the artistic guidance of:

2011 -             David Squire, Music Director - New Zealand Youth Choir
1989 - 2011   Dr Karen Grylls, Music Director then Artistic Director from 2011
1983 - 1988   Prof. Peter Godfrey, Music Director
1979 - 1984   Prof. Peter Godfrey, Guest Conductor
1982 - 1987   David Wood, Assistant Music Director
1979 - 1982   Dr Guy Jansen, Music Director

and under the management of:

2016 -             Arne Herrmann
2010 - 2016   Roger Lloyd
2008 - 2010   Barbara George
2002 - 2007   Jenny Jamieson
2001 - 2002   Lucy Tod
2001 - 2001   Mark da Vanzo
1992 - 2001   Jacqui Simpson
1989 - 1992   Neil Henderson
1985 - 1988   Paddy Nash
1979 - 1984   Colin Brown