Our Judges & Conductors


Sharolyn Kimmorley AM

New Zealand Aria – Open Section

After studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sharolyn Kimmorley joined the Music Sta of The Australian Opera and has assisted in the preparation of a vast range of works with many distinguished singers and conductors. She has held the positions of Principal Répétiteur, Head of Music Sta , Artistic Administrator and Director of Music Administration.

Sharolyn Kimmorley is regarded as one of Australia’s nest vocal coaches and accompanists. She has recorded for the ABC Classics, taken part in Chamber Music Concerts, and accompanied some of the world’s most distinguished recitalists including Dame Joan Sutherland, Håkan Hagegård, Bryn Terfel, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Sir Thomas Allen, Désirée Rancatore, Barbara Bonney, Keith Lewis, Yvonne Kenny, Inessa Galante,

Dennis O’Neill, Ian Bostridge, Kathleen Battle and Jonathan Lemalu.

In January 2009 Sharolyn became a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work as an accompanist and the nurturing and mentoring of emerging artists.

Sharolyn is currently Artistic Adviser to the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust, Artistic Director of The Opera Club (Christchurch) Chorus Director for Opera New Zealand (Christchurch) and Guest Vocal Coach at the Tiroler Festspiele in Erl, Austria


Peter Lockwood

New Zealand Aria – Open Section

Peter Lockwood was born in New Zealand, where he received his initial musical and linguistic training. His interest in music and theatre led him to work as repetituer and accompanist on numerous projects throughout the North Island from 1976-1980. He travelled to London in 1980 where he continued his studies in piano, continuo work and conducting at the Royal College of Music (1980-81) and the National Opera Studio (1981- 82).

Peter Lockwood joined the music sta of Scottish Opera under Sir Alexander Gibson in 1982, working with the main company and with its touring arm Opera-Go-Round, aking opera to towns and regions that the main company could not reach.

His desire to work with a European company then took him to Brussels, where he became a member of the music sta of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in 1983, working under its director Gerard Mortier and conductors Sir John Pritchard, Marek Janowski, Sylvain Cambreling, Michael Schoenwandt, Friedemann Layer and Christoph von Dohnanyi during the time that the company gained and con rmed its reputation as one of the leading European contemporary opera houses. Singers he worked with during this time included José van Dam, Gwyneth Jones, Ann Murray, Felicity Lott, Alberto Cupido, Jaime Aragall, Teresa Stratas, Kurt Streit, Sharon Sweet, Malcolm King, Montserrat Caballé, Stewart Burrows, Robert Lloyd, Eva Randova, Anja Silja and Franz Grundheber.

He was invited to join the music sta of De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam in 1993 by its intendant Pierre Audi and chief conductor Hartmut Haenchen. Conductors with whom he has collaborated there include Sir Simon Rattle, Riccardo Chailly, Edo de Waart, Yves Abel, Carlo Rizzi, Marc Albrecht, Friedrich Haider, Constantinos Carydis, Ralf Weikert, Ed Spanjaard, Hans Vonk, Daniele Callegari and Paolo Carignani; singers with whom he has worked there include Nadine Secunde, Linda Watson, Reinhild Runkel, Annick Massis, Danielle de Niese, Luca Pisaroni, Charlotte Margiono, Katarina Dalayman, Violeta


Glenese Blake MA AT

New Zealand Aria Under 21

Winner of a number of prestigious awards, including the inaugural Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship, Glenese was awarded an Arts Council Grant for further study overseas where she enjoyed a successful singing career in England specialising in Handel, Mozart, Britten and lighter Wagner roles. Glenese developed an interest in vocal pedagogy which led to teaching positions at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Marylebone Voice and Therapy Unit and was a founding member of the British Voice Association.

Returning to New Zealand, Glenese was appointed Senior Lecturer in Voice at The University of Auckland where she developed an innovative and successful voice department. Moving to Cambridge for a lifestyle change in 2007, Glenese and her husband Michael founded a new creative venture called The Music Shed, which actively mentors young singers and voice teachers, choir conductors and Heads of Music who want to understand vocal complexity; she also facilitates workshops around New Zealand for Newzats.

Glenese recently completed her Master of Arts (Art Therapy) degree which enabled her to focus on her belief that music has the ability to heal and that voice is an integral part of the healing process. In 2014, Glenese was awarded the St. Cecilia Fellowship Diploma in Teaching; is a Music Performance Fellow -Voice Performance, at The University of Waikato; is a regular Tutor at the bi-annual New Zealand Singing School and is one of New Zealand’s most respected voice tutors. She has sung many original compositions for New Zealand Composers and continues to sing oratorio and concert works. She is a regular Examiner of Singing and has adjudicated some of the most prestigious singing competitions in New Zealand.


Gina Sanders

BMus(Auck), FTCL(voice), BA, BMus Hons(Qld), ATCL(piano), AIRMT(NZ)
New Zealand Aria Under 21

Well established in the performance, teaching and adjudication professions in NZ and internationally, Gina’s career began after completing seven degrees and diplomas in piano, voice, theory, musicology, pedagogy and languages at Auckland and Queensland Universities and Trinity College London.

Since becoming the rst NZ musician to be awarded a Rotary International Graduate Scholarship, and consequently undertaking post-graduate studies in Stuttgart, Germany, Gina has completed 13 international tours in the past 14 years.

These engagements have included recital and theatre appearances in numerous cities in Europe, Asia and the Paci c and extensive presentations of her comprehensive vocal tuition courses, The Developing Singer and The Developing Teacher in several languages. Emphasizing fact-based vocal teaching, these programmes are

designed to assist all levels of students, teachers, choir directors and other musicians who are keen to extend their knowledge of singing and the vocal instrument.

Most recent tours have included world premieres of operatic and sacred works by composer Vladimir Romanov in the Stuttgart Liederhalle, and the Hauptkonzertsaal (Staatliche Hochschule), and recitals in the Auferstehungskirche Stuttgart-Rot, Neues Schloß and Wilhelma Theater. In Italy she appeared at Villa d’Este (Tivoli), Villa del Cardinale, the In orata at Genzano and several NZ Embassies in Europe.

Closer to home, she has appeared as a soloist with every major choral society, orchestra and opera company in NZ, has released four CDs, Tonight, Somewhere, Love’s Philosophy and Capture This Moment and is a NZ Concert FM national recording artist and has over 60 operatic and oratorio roles in her repertoire.

An associate member of IRMT (NZ) and long standing National Executive Council member of NEWZATS, Gina has a keen interest in music education and a life-long love of choral music and choirs. She founded and directed The Valley Voices and is currently the senior voice tutor at King’s College Chapel Choir and the director of the college’s four choirs.

Gina has adjudicated throughout NZ and internationally, and is also currently an external examiner and adjudicator for Auckland and Waikato Universities.


Timua Te Kowhai

Maori Song Classes

Timua Te Kowhai is a New Zealand Maori; her tribal affiliations are: Te Arawa, Tuwharetoa and Ngai Tahu.

Timua is a graduate with her Masters of Music with first class honours in Voice, at Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Permanently residing in Rotorua, Timua has won many scholarships to further her musical studies in Voice. She received many scholarships and grants to pursue her musical education in Italy. This led to invitations where she had a two week extensive concert recital in Rome, Sicily and Tuscany, with a special performance for the New Zealand Ambassador, Julie McKenzie and invited guests in Rome. In Sicily Palermo, Timua and her group Canti Maori were the guest of Princess Constanza. All managed by Patricia Hurley Opera Tours.

Further concert recitals followed in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Tokyo and Beijing China.

Timua has performed in all the major cities and Town Halls throughout New Zealand, with the Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Music, New Zealand String Orchestra, Devonport Chamber Orchestra.

Timua has performed numerous indoor and outdoor concerts, both nationally and internationally. She is a regular performer in ‘Opera In The Pa – Rotorua’. She had the honour and privilege of singing God Save The Queen, Whakaria Mai and the National Anthem for the National Memorial Service for the Christchurch Earthquake in March 2011. His Royal Highness Prince William, Prime Minister John Keys, Prime Minister Julia Gulliard and many other MP’s were in attendance, with an audience of over 200,000 and broadcast live throughout Australasia.

She has performed a solo waiata Pokarekare Ana to His Royal Highness Prince Andrew on Mokoia Island, Rotorua. As a result of Timua’s performance in Christchurch, she was invited to perform at the CCTV Bao Forum Festival in Beijing China two weeks later, to a live audience of 300 million Asians.

She has performed on many occasions with the late Sir Howard Morrison and on the Good Morning Breakfast Show, to celebrate his 75th Birthday.

Master of Ceremonies

Helen Medlyn MNZM

Master of Ceremonies, New Zealand Aria Finals Night

One of New Zealand’s most versatile and popular singer-actresses, Helen Medlyn is a respected performer of opera, jazz, straight theatre, oratorio, cabaret, lieder and music theatre, appearing as a guest soloist with most arts organisations here in New Zealand, as well as with many of the major opera companies and orchestras in Australia.

In recognition of her career and her continuing body of work, Helen was honoured as a Laureate by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand in 2002 and made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the performing arts in 2013.

A few highlights from Helen’s unusually diverse “life upon the wicked

stage” include Joy Gresham in Nicholson’s play Shadowlands (Mercury); Concepcion in Ravel’s The Spanish Hour (NZO); Alice, a mono-drama, written especially for Helen by Gillian Whitehead (NZSO, APO); Mrs Rieper/Mrs Parker in Forster’s play Daughters of Heaven (Watershed); Flosshilde and Schwertleite in Pierre Strosser’s production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (SOSA); the Wicked Witch of the West in Arlen’s musical The Wizard of Oz (Peach Theatre Company); Klytemnestra in Strauss’ opera Elektra (APO); Fraulein Schneider in Kander and Ebb’s show, Cabaret (ATC); Handel’s Messiah with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; and the shows she creates and presents with pianist, Penny Dodd.


Hamish McKeich

Conductor, New Zealand Aria Finals Night

New Zealand born conductor Hamish McKeich has forged an impressive international conducting career alongside a passionate loyalty for developing the repertoire of contemporary and experimental music. He has established an acclaimed partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and served as the Orchestra’s Associate Conductor from 2002-2006 and performs and records continually with them to this day.He has worked with many orchestras and ensembles, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, ELISION ensemble, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Metropole Orkest, Asko Ensemble of Holland, Stroma, Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana, Adelaide Symphony, Armenian Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, Queensland Symphony, 175 East, Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony, Southern Symphonia amongst others.
Initially a bassoonist, he studied conducting with Ilya Musin, Valery Gergiev and Sian Edwards.

He has performed in New Zealand, Australia, China, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Armenia and Lebanon. Working regularly in Europe, Australia and with New Zealand’s major orchestras, he has given over 100 world premieres of new works and is also chief conductor of the contemporary ensemble Stroma. In 2012 Hamish McKeich was awarded a Douglas Lilburn Trust citation for services to New Zealand music.