AYC History

Brief History

The choir was set up in 1984 because it was felt there was a need for such a choir to provide choral training at a time when it was not provided in all schools, to bridge the gap between school-leaving age and the more adult choirs and to provide a training and development vehicle for young choristers and to achieve high standards of performance.

The list of attendees at the inaugural meeting reads like a musical “who’s who” and more than 100 young people auditioned and were accepted into the choir.  Andrew Carter, now a well known English composer, conductor and tutor was offered and accepted the initial conductorship.

Following Andrew’s return to England, Brigid McLafferty took over the reins for 5 years and established the choir as a major part of the youth music scene in Auckland and the choir gained an international reputation under the conductorship of Terence Maskell when it won music competitions in Sydney and Melbourne in 1993 and 1994 respectively.  Subsequent conductors have been Stuart Weightman, Claire Caldwell, Iain Tetley, Rachel Young, Rostislava (Ronnie) Pankova-Karadjov.

The current choir under the direction of Lachlan Craig has had significant success with sell out, innovative performances and large membership growth.  Recent projects have included Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, Faure’s Requiem, Durufle’s Requiem, Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs, Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Chilcott’s Little Jazz Mass as well as the NZ Premieres of Paul Mealor’s Stabat Mater, Thomas LaVoy’s Lux Aeterna, Christopher Marshall’s Birds of a Feather, Cortlandt Matthews’ Sine Paenitentia, Sid Chand’s Surrexit Dominus, James Whitbourn’s All Shall Be Amen and Alleluia and Ola Gjeilo’s Dark Night of the Soul.  In 2016 the choir was part of a World Premiere of Paul Mealor’s music under the baton of Dr. James Jordan in Carnegie Hall, New York City. The choir also has a regular schedule of community performances – giving service to wider Auckland over 20 times a year.

‘The Auckland Youth Choir is a truly wonderful and extraordinary musical ensemble: technically brilliant and full of a deep understanding of musical and artistic emotion that is way beyond their years. It is always an immense delight to work with them.’
Royal Composer, Professor Paul Mealor FRSA