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Development & Mentoring

Auckland Youth Choir launched its Development & Mentoring project in 2021.
The project is an innovative and integrated choral development project that seeks to deepen the choir's impact in Auckland and provide young musicians with opportunities and experience for growth in the arts industry.​


Emerging Conductor

An aspiring young conductor has the opportunity to gain experience working with Auckland Youth Choir and to receive mentoring from our Director of Music.  The Emerging Conductor will conduct AYC in both rehearsals and performances, receiving feedback and training from our music team. The Emerging Conductor will also be a singing member of the choir. Open to ages 16-27.

Previous Emerging Conductors have included Takerei Komene, Blake Scanlen, and Miles Timmis.

Applications for 2024 are now closed.

Annabel Yu

Emerging Conductor 2024

Annabel Yu, a pianist, singer, and percussionist of Chinese-New Zealand background, achieved her Bachelors of Music and Arts in 2021. Since then, she has been dedicated to teaching piano and collaborating with musicians of various ages. Annabel expresses her passion of music through her role as a collaborative pianist for choirs, active percussionist in a chamber ensemble and a seasoned chorister. Currently completing her Master of Music, Annabel remains committed to ongoing learning and aspires to refine her skills on her path to becoming a great conductor.

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Emerging Collaborative Pianist

A talented musician studying piano will be mentored by our experienced pianist and gain unique experience accompanying AYC. The Emerging Collaborative Pianist will have the opportunity to accompany the choir in rehearsals and performance, receiving feedback and training from our music team. The Emerging Collaborative Pianist will also be a singing member of the choir. Open to ages 16-27.

Previous Emerging Collaborative Pianists have included Michelle Xu, Catherine Chang, and Krystal Wang.

Applications for 2024 are now closed.

Matthew Spooner

Emerging Collaborative Pianist 2024

Matthew is currently studying music at the University of Auckland under the tutelage of Dr Te Oti Rakena. He has also played the piano for over ten years. Combining his love for choir and piano led him to becoming an accompanist for choirs when he was a student at Takapuna Grammar School. Since then, he has played for various ensembles around Auckland and is grateful now to be working with the wonderful musical team at AYC as the emerging collaborative pianist for 2024.

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Young Composer in Residence

An emerging young composer will receive a commission for a work to be performed by the choir. The Composer will receive feedback on draft scores and mentoring from our music team. The composer will also sing in the choir and provide input in the rehearsal process of their piece. Open to ages 16-27.

Previous Young Composers in Residence have included Alex Taylor, Kitty Milner, Takerei Komene, Julia Francis, Reuben Rameka, and Sarah Fouhy.

Applications for 2024 are now closed.

Fergus Byett
& Grace Wellik

Young Composers in Residence 2024

Hailing from Lake Taupō, Fergus Byett is a graduate of the University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music, where he studied Classical Performance (piano) under Katherine Austin and Dr. Rae de Lisle. His instrumental and choral compositions have won national competitions, and in 2022 he scored a short film. Fergus has received several commissions, most recently from the New Zealand Male Choir. Based in Hamilton, he has sung with the St. Peter’s Cathedral Choir since 2019, and he is the organist for the Cathedral Singers. Fergus has won the Concerto, Chamber Music and Bach Competitions at the University of Waikato, where he was also a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar from 2019-2022.

Born and raised in Wellington, Grace Wellik is currently studying composition at The University of Auckland. Her love for music started with singing and piano lessons at the age of eight, and expanded throughout her time at Wellington Girls College where she composed and arranged music for productions, directed ensembles, and sang with multiple choirs. She is currently singing with the New Zealand Youth Choir and Auckland Youth Choir, alongside training with the New Zealand Choral Federation as a Young Conductor. As a young New Zealand composer, Wellik is interested in marrying traditional classical compositional ideas and techniques with a voice that is modern, fantastical, and undeniably New Zealand. Her works aim to simultaneously transport listeners into whimsical and nostalgic narratives, whilst having a base that shares the stories and voices of Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Chamber Singers

The Chamber Choir are a smaller auditioned group of singers drawn from the full choir. The Chamber Singers' purposes are to enable the performance of more demanding repertoire, create diversified concert programmes and further develop the musicianship of our singers. The Chamber Singers rehearse for an hour ahead of each full choir rehearsal.

Previous Chamber Singers projects have included tours to Sydney and New York City, Bernstein's Rejoice in the Lamb, a recording session at Roundhead Studios, the Silver Scroll Awards, and the University of Auckland Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Auditions for the 2024 Chamber Singers will be held on Monday 26 February.

Impact & Engagement

AYC is developing an engagement plan which will guide it in broadening and deepening its impact within Tāmaki-makaurau. This plan will be founded on the aspirations of its choristers and operationalised by members of the Youth Arts Leadership programme to ensure that the outcomes and methods truly reflect AYC’s values as a youth cultural organisation.

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