We asked young artists the Foundation has supported over those 25 years to send in anniversary wishes for Dame Malvina. Here we share their kind thoughts and words….
David Kelly, repetiteur
Wade Kernot, bass
Carleen Ebbs, soprano
Tavis Gravatt, bass-baritone
James Ioelu, bass-baritone
Kristin Darragh, mezzo soprano
Ella Smith, soprano
Jason Bae, pianist
Josh Guillemot-Rodgerson, dancer
Elisabeth Harris, mezzo-soprano
Thomas Eves, trumpet player
Christian Thurston, baritone
Christie Cook, mezzo-soprano
Xingxing Wang, soprano
Emily Scott, soprano
Eliza Boom, soprano
Hedda Maria Oosterhoff, set designer
Alexa Thomson, violist
Claire Egan, soprano
Kieran Rayner, baritone
Bianca Andrew, mezzo-soprano
Oriana Kershaw, soprano
Matthew Allison, trombonist
Tasman Davids, ballet dancer
Nicholas Hancox, violist
Chris Clark, conductor and trumpet player
Alice Sip (nee McIvor), violist
Jarvis Dams, baritone
Emma Sloman, soprano
Andrew McKenzie, director
Isabella Moore, soprano
James Harrison, baritone
Todd Gibson-Cornish, bassoon player
Paloma Bruce, soprano
Elisha Hulton, mezzo-soprano
Emma Fraser, soprano
Amina Edris, soprano
James Benjamin Rodgers, tenor
Oliver Sewell, tenor
Anthony Schneider, bass
Bryony Gibson-Cornish, violist
My first steps into the operatic world were playing for Dame Malvina’s students at the University of Canterbury, and I will always be immensely grateful for that experience – she also encouraged me greatly when I first auditioned for New Zealand Opera. That was in the early 2000s, and the relationship has continued to the present day; this year I was involved with Dame Malvina’s new opera course at the University of Waikato, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the country, and very typical of her generosity in creating opportunities for young singers and musicians.
I would like to say a huge heartfelt congratulations and thank you to Dame Malvina and to everyone from the Dame Malvina Major Foundation! The support and guidance you provide for young New Zealand artists is just incredible. I will be forever grateful to have received support throughout the different stages of my career, including masterclasses in Italy and France, being a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist, taking part in the Pacific Opera Programme and receiving an Arts Excellence Award to help towards my studies in Berlin. It was also such a special time to have had four wonderful years as a student in Dame Malvina’s voice studio in Christchurch. Thank you to the DMMF for all that you do!
Congrats to Dame Malvina, the DMMF and all those who’ve supported it over the years. But for their actions I certainly wouldn’t be enjoying the career I am having. I wish the Foundation another strong 25 years!!
Congratulations on your Foundation reaching this wonderful milestone of 25 years! I still remember with so much fondness the 21st anniversary celebrations at the Michael Fowler Centre.
The support that I received for my training in Cardiff from your Foundation came at a key point in my vocal development, and without your assistance to enable this, I’m not convinced I would have achieved the performance opportunities that I have done so far in my career. I remain so grateful and have no doubt that your Foundation will go on to inspire and support many other fortunate recipients.
Thank you so much for your support of the musical fabric of the country. What we can achieve can only happen if people like you pave the way making it possible.
Sending my best wishes to you and your foundation at this special time of celebration.
I have experienced first-hand your generosity and support over the years, particularly during my time back in New Zealand after my Master’s at the Manhattan School of Music. We shared the stage for a Foundation fundraising concert and I fondly remember your unceasing support especially during the 2013 NZ Aria competition; I remember that from the very beginning of the competition you were there encouraging all the participants – I particularly remember your warm words of support to me. I was also fortunate to find you in the audience at our performance of Don Pasquale at the Merola Opera Programme in San Francisco – talk about going the extra mile!
I will always be grateful for your support and wish you and your Foundation well for all your future endeavours.
Congratulations on your Foundation celebrating a grand 25 years! I am so grateful to be working in this wonderful profession, now 12 years on since my first exciting meeting with you when I was a DMMF Emerging Artist. Thank you for all that you bring to the young up and coming singers of New Zealand.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dame Malvina for all she does for the young singers in New Zealand. Her limitless generosity with her time and funding allows young singers like me to aim higher and achieve more than they could without her support.
After a few months travelling through Germany and Austria and getting an idea of the music scene over here, I’ve realised that the number of opportunities we have as young performers in New Zealand is really extraordinary. And I think we can safely say that a large part of that is due to Dame Malvina’s efforts.
I would like to sincerely wish you a very happy birthday Dame Malvina. Your legacy of supporting young artists in New Zealand is an inspiration. I would like to follow and continue your legacy for the next young generation of artists in New Zealand. Thank you ever so much for what you have done and what you are doing for all of us.”
Happy Anniversary Dame Malvina. I am wishing you the same incredible year that you have recently gifted me by enabling me to continue my pursuit of becoming a professional dancer. To be someone so incredibly talented while also being someone that values encouraging another generation of artists so highly is extremely rare, and I know your generosity has affected so many people around New Zealand. You are such an inspiration and I hope I have to good fortune of meeting you in person soon.
It is with deep gratitude that I write to congratulate you during the year of your foundation’s 25th Anniversary. As a teacher, singer, mentor and woman, you are an inspiration and I feel very privileged to have worked with you over the years. I will never forget that afternoon at Creyke Road where you spun me around in dizzying circles in an attempt to free up my breathing; or how at the end of the Pacific Opera Programme you sat down at the piano and performed impromptu songs for us all.
Your passion and dedication, immense wisdom and desire to facilitate the careers of young musicians from all walks of life is invaluable and I know without a doubt that if it had not been for you and the hugely generous support of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, I would not be continuing to embark upon a career I know I cannot live without.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything and as you continue to make such a difference in the lives of those you encounter I wish you all the very best.
Congratulations on a fantastic 25 years of this wonderful foundation. Your generosity has helped so many young Kiwis like myself to further their musical experiences in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. You are helping us to stamp our mark on the world of music and goes to show the immense talent we have in this country. Thank you so much for your continued support of us and here’s to another 25 years!
A huge congratulations on your 25th anniversary! What a fantastic achievement. The support and guidance I have received from the Foundation over the years has allowed me to pursue my dream and without your help it would not have been possible. The DMMF is a national treasure!
Warmest wishes for the celebration of the Foundation’s 25th year – what an achievement! All Kiwi singers are indebted to you for your absolute generosity, continuous hard work, and unfailing kindness and positivity. You and the Foundation have made such a difference in the lives of so many aspiring opera singers, and helped realise many dreams. HUGE thanks to you and your outstanding team.
Since knowing Dame Malvina personally during my Emerging Artist period, she has always been a role model to me. Her generosity and attitudes towards life and music career has influenced me greatly in finding my own happiness in life. I still remember vividly how she got up at 8am after a late night final party during the Merola Programme in Christchurch in 2011, to show me her technique in singing coloratura passages and easily hit a high D that morning!
Recently she was introduced in China in a classical singing social media platform, I have shared my experience with her in that article. Besides the EA programme, I was also supported twice with the Arts Excellence scholarship, helping towards my study in Germany where I was accepted to study the Meisterklasse (equivalent to a DMA) programme in Leipzig. I have given recitals and tours in Czech Republic which were very well received. All these could not have been realised without the generous support from Dame Malvina Major!
A huge congratulations on 25 years of celebrating and supporting local talent! You are literally making our dreams come true! Sending all my love and hoping to make you proud!
Thank you Dame Malvina and the Foundation for all you have done supporting me in my journey; though it’s a cliché, I truly couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for having a listening ear and a kind heart.
What you offer to New Zealand arts is incredibly special and we appreciate you more than you know. Congratulations on 25 years!
Happy Birthday to the Foundation! Thank you for all the great opportunities that the generosity of the Foundation has given me, and lots of others in New Zealand. Celebrate this milestone in style and all the best for the future!
The Dame Malvina Major Foundation is such an incredible legacy, helping New Zealanders reach all corners of the globe and spread their message of music. The Foundation provides so much more than monetary help – it is so important to realise that what we do as artists has a positive impact in the world, and support from the DMMF is such an encouragement for us to keep pursuing what we do to the very highest of our abilities.
I’m having such an amazing experience in Houston, Texas studying at Rice University. I have only been here for a few weeks and already I have the opportunity to perform as a member of the Shepherd School Symphony in Carnegie Hall, New York City! I feel so honoured to be able to participate in this tour and represent New Zealand on such a prestigious international concert stage, and without the support of the DMMF I may not have been able to take advantage of opportunities such as these.
Thank you, most sincerely, for your nourishment of the arts, and wishing you a very happy anniversary.
Congratulations to the Dame Malvina Major Foundation on reaching its 25th birthday, a wonderful achievement of such an important and significant foundation.
I feel honoured to have been a grant recipient from the Foundation, and I send my most heartfelt thanks. Your help financially made it possible for me to grow and continue my journey into a career in opera, and Dame Malvina’s kindness, warmth and encouragement was vital at a time when I wasn’t so sure about continuing. Although practically the financial support makes the expensive journey and training possible, having such a down-to-earth, positive and understanding role model to look up to, such as Dame Malvina, is an absolute inspiration.
Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me, and all singers like me, over the last 25 years of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation. All the careers you’ve enabled, all the New Zealand artists who have thrived thanks to your work – what an achievement!
I have been so fortunate to be supported by the Foundation at many different points in my career so far – from attending the New Zealand Opera School, to receiving an Arts Excellence Award, and through doing the fantastic DMMF Emerging Artist Programme with NZ Opera, where I learned so much to prepare me for the singing world. Even now I have left New Zealand, the Foundation’s presence in my life is ongoing: next week I will attend a series of masterclasses in Tuscany, made possible by a scholarship from the Foundation!
I am very proud to be a Dame Malvina Major Foundation artist. From you and the Foundation I’ve received key musical guidance and performance experience, generous financial help, and the invaluable feeling of being strongly supported emotionally in the face of this tough industry. I can confidently say I would not be where I am right now if it were not for your help. For all of this, I am deeply grateful.
Thank you so much to the Dame Malvina Major Foundation for supporting me with my studies and granting me scholarships to further my development in New Zealand and earlier this year giving me the opportunity to head overseas to the US and work with some incredible teachers. I am even more honoured and lucky enough to have had Dame Malvina as my teacher and mentor for the past five years. She is one of the most hardworking, caring, loyal and devoted people I know and I am forever grateful to have her in my life.
Thank you so much Dame Malvina for all that you have done for me and continue to do, words cannot fully express how truly thankful I am.
Ever since the beginning of my young career in New Zealand, the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, its trustees, committee members and Dame Malvina Major herself have been constant supporters. I have been able to make the most of so many artistic opportunities over the years thanks to the encouragement and support of the Foundation – I have attended the New Zealand Opera School in Whanganui, I have been able to conduct research into French vocal music in Paris, I have been a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, and I now study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
The Foundation has helped so many of my friends and colleagues to do similar things in New Zealand and all around the world, giving promising young artists the backing they need to achieve their goals. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be where I am now if it had not been for Dame Malvina and the tireless work of her Foundation, and I sincerely thank them for their dedication.
Wishing the Dame Malvina Major Foundation every success for your 25th anniversary and beyond. The Arts Excellence Award I gratefully received to assist my studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music was invaluable, and a great honour.
A very happy 25th anniversary. You were supporting me way back in 2008 when my greatest hope was to dance somewhere… anywhere! As the years went by and my goals got bigger the Foundation was with me all of the way – in fact all of the way to Russia! By the time it was my last year studying at the Vaganova my goal was huge, I wanted to dance with the Mariinsky. I was however thrilled to be contracted to the second state company in St Petersburg, the St Petersburg State Academic Ballet of L.Yacobson.
The big dream came true this year when I was ‘borrowed’ by the Mariinsky to dance in a series of galas honouring Maya Plisetskaya at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. There I was onstage with one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, Diana Vishneva, with Valery Gergiev conducting the orchestra. All I could think as the only non-Russian was, how on earth did I get here? Truth to tell I never would have done so if it hadn’t been for the generosity of people in New Zealand and mainly for you and the Foundation starting the ball rolling by having faith in a very young teen with nothing more than passion, a dream and some local training.
I have since danced in the Mariinsky as a soloist in Swan Lake for a month this year during my company’s season in the theatre. A huge thrill to dance as a professional on the most historic ballet stage in the world. And I have even performed with Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky – what voices!
So a HUGE thank you. WE DID IT!!!
Firstly, a heartfelt congratulations to Dame Malvina and the Foundation for this special anniversary and best wishes for another 25 years of supporting Kiwi musicians.
I received a grant in 2011 as I was beginning studies in Munich, Germany with Prof. Hariolf Schlichtig. Following my graduation, I won the job of Principal Viola of the Lübeck Philharmonic where I have recently begun my fifth season.
It is with pleasure that I write to you from the UK for your 25th Anniversary celebrations. I am so appreciative of the positive impact you have made for the arts in New Zealand and on the world stage. It is a privilege to count myself among your scholars. Thank you very much for your generosity in facilitating part of my artistic journey, I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support. Every good wish for your continued success and here’s to another 25 fantastic years!
Congratulations on 25 years. A quarter century of changed lives, achieved dreams.
Words cannot express the gratitude so many young musicians feel towards both yourself and the Foundation. The memories made, the opportunities taken, those are etched on each one’s heart.
You have sent young Kiwis all over the world. We make our mark, leave our footprint because of your generosity. We have been able to show that New Zealanders have something to say. You have created community.
When I hear of fellow DMMF beneficiaries succeeding, I have a sense of pride. Their success is yours. My success is yours. Thank you.
Congratulations on 25 years of supporting young performers in New Zealand. Without organisations like the DMMF, undertaking a career in performance would be impossible for many New Zealanders and for that I think we are all eternally grateful.
I am so proud to have benefited from your unlimited wisdom, kindness and been witness to your own fabulous talent. My EA year back in 2002 was truly made enjoyable by your inspiring and enthusiastic coaching – I know that you give this to all your students and that they develop not only as artists but as human beings as a result. Thank you Malvina, for all your hard work and dedication to the art of singing and performance!
Thanks again for enabling me to get over to Sydney to spend time with Opera Australia in 2011. I still have vivid memories of sitting in rehearsal rooms watching work-in-progress on Carmen, Madame Butterfly and The Barber of Seville. You put me in the same room as seasoned professionals and gave me valuable insights into the realities of repertory opera production at a world-renowned opera house. To this day, I have still not witnessed a feat of logistics comparable to changing the Carmen set over to the Butterfly set – complete with water features, no less! – all in the space of a small afternoon window, in time for the evening performance.
The city was beautiful and held me soundly in its warm embrace. It was a marvelous opportunity to look around and see other theatre pieces – I have many fond personal memories of that too.
I use the skills and knowledge I gained on a daily basis in my work with New Zealand youths in the state education system, and the experience has been invaluable in mounting my own productions, and ensuring the logistics run smoothly and the artistic vision is realised. Thank you again – your help has made a lasting impact on my development as an artist.
Peter Lees-Jeffries Memorial Scholarship 2010
I would like to wish Dame Malvina Major my heartfelt congratulations for all of her passion, artistry, support and inspiration that she has brought so many of us.
Dame Malvina Major has to be one of the most generous and kind New Zealanders I have ever had the privilege of meeting. She kindly supports young singers, both financially through her foundation, and by giving her time.
I remember she made a trip to London to visit with some of us Kiwi singers, and I was having a bit of a tough time. She really took the time to listen to me, and gave me some very helpful advice, which has helped me get to where I am today.
Whenever I am in New Zealand, she finds time to catch up and asks me about my studies and singing journey abroad. She takes a keen interest in all of us and it’s wonderful to know I have her love and support! Without her generosity I would not be studying abroad, and living the dream.
I am writing to you from backstage at the Kilden Arts Centre in Norway where I am singing the role of Conte Almaviva in a fabulous production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and I have to say that I’m not entirely sure I’d even be here if it wasn’t for you, Dame Malvina, and the Foundation which bears your name.
As an Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, I had a year to explore and experience an art which has become my life. I also had the opportunity to benefit from your immense generosity in terms of your time, your experience and your guidance. Those words of wisdom and that attitude to opera and singing which revolves around a love for the art form and an attitude of ‘ensemble’, being involved together and encouraging those around you, have stood me in very good stead.
I have been lucky enough to sing for the English National Opera, at the Royal Opera House, the Wigmore Hall and the Royal Albert Hall and am very happy to be returning to New Zealand to sing next year; but most of all I feel fortunate to have had a very happy career, surrounded by wonderful colleagues, gifted students and a supportive family. My early experiences of this career, a time during which you were a huge influence and a patient, kind mentor, set me on a path which has brought me and hopefully others a great deal of joy.
All the very best on the occasion of this anniversary and I do hope we can meet up when I return to New Zealand next year.
My very best wishes for a wonderful celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks for the support the Foundation gave to me to assist with my bassoon studies at the Royal College of Music in London.
In July of this year I graduated with my BMus(Hons) First Class and was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal for outstanding contribution to the RCM – this will be presented to me by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2017. Immediately following my graduation, I moved to Sydney to take up the position of Principal Bassoon with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, I love performing in this world-class orchestra.
The Foundation’s support during my study meant such a lot to me, so that I was able to focus on my study and strive to reach my goals.
What an incredible legacy you are building in New Zealand for the next generation of talented creative musical artists.
I was so blessed to have been an Emerging Artist in 2005 and to benefit from time with you both in lessons and around the stage. My greatest memory however will always be of your glorious voice and wonderful technique in performance – there is no role model greater than one who leads the way as a brilliant shining beacon and inspires you to follow.
You are so supportive of your country and fellow musicians that you help us to grow into a future we can only imagine. We are so lucky to have so much talent, it just needs nurturing and support to blossom so that it can keep spreading its seed far and wide. Long may our country be filled with beautiful music and song!
Happy 25th Anniversary, DMMF! I am so grateful for the help and generosity you have given me towards my development in becoming a professional singer. Dame Malvina Major herself was and is a huge inspiration in my life as my tutor and mentor during my time at the University of Waikato in 2014 – I am forever grateful for her guidance!
Wishing the DMMF many more years of success in helping future young singers achieve their goals and aspirations.
Thank you Dame Malvina for all your wonderful support over the years. You have always been so kind and friendly every time I see you.
Thank you to you and the Foundation for continuing to support us young singers with big dreams! Here’s to many more years!
The DMMF plays a significant role in the development of young artists in New Zealand. As an up-and-coming young artist you need a helping hand as you embark on your journey to further your skills and technique. I know I wouldn’t have been able to achieve many of my goals had I not had the support of the Foundation. I am eternally grateful to Dame Malvina and the Foundation for their continued support. Happy 25th anniversary DMMF!
I want to extend a huge thank you to the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and all its remarkable people. You have made, and continue to make, a remarkable contribution to the musical life of New Zealand. Your financial support and artistic nurturing has enabled many young artists, such as myself, to pursue the gruelling goal of a life in music. The arts would simply not survive without organisations like yours and I cannot put into words what it means to have received your support.
The support I have received from the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, right from the very beginning of my journey, has helped me enormously get to where I am today. I am hugely grateful for the support and encouragement Dame Malvina and the Foundation has always given me. I wish the Foundation all the very best for its 25th anniversary. Long may the DMMF continue having such a positive impact on young New Zealand performers!
I would like to wish Dame Malvina Major my heartfelt congratulations for all of her passion, artistry, support and inspiration that she has brought so many of us.
My very best wishes to you and the Foundation on your 25th anniversary! It’s hard to believe that I met you almost ten years ago as one of your junior singing students at the Pettman National Junior Academy. You have been such a generous mentor to me since then and I really appreciate your support on my journey, which of course has now become viola focused.
I have been so lucky to benefit from ample financial and performance opportunities offered by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and I’m convinced that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Foundation. I am very proud to represent New Zealand and the Foundation over here in London, where I am on trial with the Philharmonia Orchestra and playing with ensembles such as the English Chamber Orchestra and various chamber music groups.
Thank you for everything that the Foundation does for young musicians like me – your belief in us enables us to aim for the stars!
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