Associate Professor Karen Lesley Grylls

PhD, MMUs(Hons), BA, MM, DipTchg

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Associate Professor


Karen Grylls, ONZM, is Undergraduate Advisor and Associate Professor in Conducting and Head of Choral Studies at the University of Auckland. She has directed the Auckland Dorian Choir (1985-1998), assumed the position of Musical Director of TOWER NZ Youth Choir in 1989 and founded TOWER Voices NZ in March 1998. In addition to being the current Musical Director of both of these national choirs Karen also conducts the Chamber Choir at the University of Auckland and directs courses in choral ensemble skills.

Karen is much in demand as a choral clinician and has many CD recordings to her credit. Invitations to adjudicate have taken her to Australia, Singapore, Tolosa, Hong Kong, Gorizia, Xiamen and Marktoberdorf. In 1996 the University honoured her with a Distinguished Teaching Award in Music and in 1999 she received a New Year’s Honour (ONZM) for her services to choral music. Karen has recently been appointed to the board of the International Federation for Choral Music IFCM. In May 2005 she was awarded an Artistic Leadership Scholarship Award from Creative NZ to attend the Seventh World Choral Symposium in Kyoto. In 2006 she was awarded the KBB Citation for Services to NZ music from the Composers’ Association of NZ and the Lilburn Trust Award for services to NZ Music. Also in 2006, “Spirit of the Land”, recorded by TOWER Voices NZ, won the NZ Tui Award for the best classical album. She also held an appointment as Artistic Director of the Exultate Chamber Singers in Toronto, 2011-2013.

Research | Current

  • Choral conducting and pedagogy
  • Music theory

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • ONZM
  • LRSM
  • LTCL

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Grylls, K. L. Voices New Zealand European Tour, 27/10/2018. [Public Recitals], (75 minutes), European Tour Recitals, 1.Cadogan Hall, London; 2.Laiszehalle. Hamburg; 3.Kleine Saal, Konzerthaus, Berlin; 4.Église Notre Dame de l’Assomption, Le Quesnoy; 5.Conservatoire Darius Milhaud, Aix-en-Provence; 6.Palau de la Musica (Petite Palau), Barcelona. Commissioning body: Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Catrin Johnsson
  • Grylls, K. L. Bach St. Matthew Passion, 4/10/2018. [Public Recital], (2.5 hours), Bach St. Matthew Passion, APO, Conductor Stphen Layton, Town Hall, Auckland. Commissioning body: Auckland Philharmonia Related URL.
  • Grylls, K. L. Rossini's "Petite Messe Solennelle" with the University of Auckland Chamber Choir: a staged performance, 26/5/2018. [Public Recital], (2 hours), Rossini "Petite Messe Solennelle", St-Matthew-in-the -City. Commissioning body: School of Music
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Morag Atchison
  • Grylls, K. L. Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Voices NZ Chamber Choir (Karen Grylls Conductor), APO Conductor Hans Graf, Holst "The Planets," Op.32, 10/5/2018. [Public Recital], (55 minutes), Recital, Auckland Town Hall. Commissioning body: CANZ, APO Related URL.
  • Auckland Philharmonia, & Grylls, K. L. Face by Ross Harris, 19/4/2018. [Public Recital], (30 minutes), , Auckland Town Hall. Commissioning body: Auckland Philharmonia Related URL.
  • Grylls, K. L., & Holmes, L. King's Singers and Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir in Recital: NZ Festival, Michael Fowler Centre March 10, Wellington; Auckland Arts Festival, Auckland Town Hall, March 11, 9/3/2018. [Two public recitals], (90 minutes), KIng's Singers and Voices NZ Chamber Choir, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington; Auckland Town Hall. Commissioning body: Creative New Zealand, NZ Festival 2018, Auckland Arts Festival 2018 Related URL.
  • Grylls, K. L., Fuller, R., & Johnsson, C. Salut Printemps!, 21/10/2017. [Live recital], (1.5 hours), Voices on Tour, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Wellington; Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga and Old St. John's, Nelson, New Zealand. Commissioning body: CANZ, Creative NZ
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Catrin Johnsson
  • Grylls, K., Maunder, S., Johnsson, C., & Kelly, V. The unusual silence: Songs of remembrance, tragedy and the strength of the human spirit, 30/9/2017. [Public Recital], (1.5 hrs), Voices in Concert 2017, The Sanctuary, Auckland Museum and St. John's Cathedral, Napier, New Zealand. Commissioning body: WW2 Commission, CANZ, CNZ
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Catrin Johnsson

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 206
New Zealand