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Manhattan-bound Kiwi baritone wins Arts Excellence Award

Credit: Oliver Rosser

Talented young baritone Christian Thurston has had a boost to his study funds thanks to a $5,000 Arts Excellence Award from the Dame Malvina Major Foundation’s Wellington Committee.

The 24-year old has just moved to New York to study at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of renowned bass-baritone James Morris. Christian has recently completed an internship with New Zealand Opera as a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist and a postgraduate diploma in Classical Performance – Voice at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University.

Chair of the Foundation’s Wellington Committee Angela Gorton said the award assessors – Melissa King, Head of Artistic Planning New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Marc Taddei, Music Director for Orchestra Wellington – faced a tough decision with a strong field of applicants from across the performing arts.

Marc Taddei said it was always a real pleasure to serve as an assessor for the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Arts Excellence Awards.

“The Foundation’s committment to the future of art music in New Zealand is extraordinary. I was especially pleased that Christian was the recipient of this year’s award. He is a tremendous singer with an exciting future ahead of him.”

The Dame Malvina Major Foundation helps young New Zealanders in the performing arts achieve their potential by providing education and training opportunities. Arts Excellence Awards are awarded annually by regional committees in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Taranaki and the Waikato.

Dame Malvina Major said that the Foundation’s Arts Excellence Awards were all about fostering local talent and supporting the development of young emerging artists in their communities.

“Across the country, our hard-working committees – all volunteers – organise local events to showcase young artists and raise funds to be able to assist them through these Arts Excellence Awards.

“The Foundation is proud to help develop the huge potential of young artists like Christian. We wish him well in New York and will continue to follow and support his career with great interest.”


Update from Polly Ott


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