News and events

Back-to-back wins for Christchurch conductor

Vincent Hardaker
Dame Malvina Major Foundation Christchurch Arts Excellence Award recipient

Christchurch conductor Vincent Hardaker has won a Dame Malvina Major Foundation Christchurch Arts Excellence Award for a second year running as he continues his studies at the esteemed Royal Danish Academy of Music.

The Arts Excellence Award, worth $5,000, was awarded by the Christchurch Committee of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation as part of the Foundation’s wider programme to help talented young performing artists to achieve their potential.

Dame Malvina Major Foundation Christchurch Committee Chair Anna Midgley said the adjudicators were impressed with the enormous improvement Vincent had shown after his first year studying in Denmark.

“He is demonstrating considerable maturity, technique and artistry; exceptional for his age.”

Vincent, who was raised in Christchurch and attended Burnside High School, completed a first class honours degree in conducting at the New Zealand School of Music. He was Conducting Fellow with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Conductor for Orchestra Wellington for two years. He is about to enter his second year on the Royal Danish Academy of Music’s three-year advanced postgraduate programme in orchestral conducting.

Vincent said he has loved every moment of the programme so far and believes it will give him more of the skills he needs to flourish in the professional world.

“I’m exceedingly grateful for the continued support I have received from the Dame Malvina Major Foundation. To know that New Zealanders in my situation are being encouraged by their home country is a testament to how much organisations like the Dame Malvina Major Foundation are looking out for our country’s artistic growth.

“I look forward to the time when I can share back what I have learnt here in Denmark with my fellow Kiwis.”

As part of its Arts Excellence awards, the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Christchurch Committee also awarded the Cecily Maccoll High Achiever Award, worth $1,000, to Christchurch-born baritone Angus Simmons.

Angus studied music at the University of Canterbury and has been a member of the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus since 2014. He was recently selected as a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera.

Angus plans to use the funding towards a trip to Europe later this year for lessons with leading tutors and to research future places to study.

“This support is a huge help for me. I would like to thank the Foundation for the ongoing generous support of young artists in New Zealand. They truly are an invaluable organisation.”

Dame Malvina Major says the Arts Excellence Awards are just one of the ways the Foundation supports young artists at a grass roots level.

“The focus of our regional committees is on fostering local talent and supporting the development of young emerging artists in their communities. Alongside financial support, this can include offering professional guidance and organising events where young talented artists have the opportunity to perform.

“The Foundation is very proud to be able to support promising young artists like Vincent and Angus, and we will watch their progress with great interest.”


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