Music Staff

Music Staff

Head of Music, Barry WassonMr Barry Wasson, PPRNCM, BMus, PGCE, ALCM

Mr Wasson, Auckland Grammar School's Head of Music, studied performance music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and went on to enjoy a rewarding career as a freelance musician and teacher in the UK.

He performed regularly with orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Hallé and City of Birmingham Symphony as well as the shows Chicago and Barnum in London's West End. Recording sessions spanned television, radio, film and commercial CD recordings.

Having lived in New Zealand since 2005, Mr Wasson has taught at Auckland Grammar School since 2009. As Director of the Premier Concert Band and Wind Band, he takes a strong interest in all brass, wind and percussion players and is actively involved in talent identification and development pathways for these musicians.

Head of Performing Arts, Eddie HareMr Eddie Hare, BMus

Mr Hare, the Head of Performing Arts and the director of the School's Big Band, completed his Bachelor of Music at the New Zealand School of Music in 2009. He plays Piano, Saxophone and Guitar. Through his studies he primarily focused on Jazz Performance, Jazz History, New Zealand Music History, and other contemporary music studies.

He has played in many rock bands, jazz bands and has performed as a solo musician. He completed his teaching diploma in 2010 at began teaching music at Tauranga Boys' College in 2011.

Whilst living in the Bay of Plenty, he played in the local Big Band as Lead Tenor Saxophone. He has played numerous times at the Tauranga Jazz Festival and also the Manawatu, Bay of Islands, Wellington and other regional jazz festivals in the past.

Director of Performance Music, Chris AdamsMr Chris Adams, MMus (Hons), PGDipTL

Mr Adams, Auckland Grammar School's Director of Performance Music, studied music specialising in composition at the University of Canterbury and the University of Auckland.

He has been the Composer in Residence with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago and his compositions have been performed by a number of soloists and groups around New Zealand and internationally.

Mr Adams was previously Head of Music at King's College, Sancta Maria College and Liston College. He is the Director of the Symphony Orchestra and Grammar Virtuosi and oversees Chamber Music.

He is particularly interested in finding opportunities to extend and challenge students musically, both in performance and developing their appreciation of a diverse range of genres.

Singing teacher, Christine Treseder HallettMrs Christine Treseder Hallett

Mrs Hallett has a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Music, an FTCL in Vocal Performance, an LRSM, and was a recipient of a Woolfe Fisher Scholarship in 2017. She has also studied singing with Dame Sister Mary Leo, Beatrice Webster and Patricia Wright.

Mrs Hallett has taught music and classroom teaching for 23 years at primary, intermediate and secondary levels in Auckland, Napier and London, including 12 years as Head of Music at Mount Albert Grammar School. She enjoyed training soloists, choruses and conducting music theatre shows.

Some of Mrs Hallett's private students have furthered their singing study at University, Guildhall London, Cardiff, Sydney and France. Mrs Hallett has continued her own love of singing through performing in competitions, recitals, and as a soloist in Oratorio and Opera. Her singing highlights include being a finalist in the Mobil Song Contest (1979/1983) and being a chorus member of Opera New Zealand for 27 years and singing in 37 operas.

Mrs Hallett has attended World Singing Teachers Conferences in Auckland, Vancouver, Paris, Brisbane and Stockholm. She has a passion for building a solid vocal technique along with performance experiences for students so that they can become a skilled confident performer in any genre.

Oboe teacherm Alison JepsonMs Alison Jepson

Ms Jepson is a graduate of the Royal College of Music, London where she studied with Terence MacDonagh and Sidney Sutcliffe.

She is principal oboist of the Auckland Chamber Orchestra as well as a freelance oboist, playing with many orchestras including the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Bach Musica, Pipers Sinfonia and the Handel Consort. She is also a member of Trio Fleuve, a flute, oboe and piano trio.

Ms Jepson teaches students of all ages, from beginners to diploma level, and her students regularly excel in examinations and competitions.

Ms Jepson is co-founder and President of the New Zealand Double Reed Society and the co-organiser of the Ruapehu International Oboe Summer Schools.

Flute teacher, Christine MoriMs Christine Mori

Ms Mori won a scholarship to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and graduated with a Degree in Music Performance. She then joined the Australian Broadcasting National Training Orchestra on a scholarship for two years.

Ms Mori worked in Sydney as a freelance musician, mainly with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, but also in private practice, teaching at Newington College and Sydney Boys' High School. She then taught at the Canberra School of Music before taking up a similar position at the Sydney Conservatorium for four years.

On returning to New Zealand, Ms Mori took up the position of Principal Flute with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a position she held for 20 years, appearing as a soloist, tutoring at the Orchestra's summer music school and the NZ Secondary Schools' Orchestra, and acting as a mentor for secondary school students.

Ms Mori was a member of the Auckland Wind Quintet while playing with the APO. She has also taught at the Auckland School of Education and was a member of the Bach Musica Orchestra for many years. She has tutored many chamber music groups, orchestra and band sectionals, and has also a large private teaching practice as well as at secondary schools.

Pipe Band leader, Anton HodsonMr Anton Hodson

Mr Hodson started piping at just eight years old with the Scottish Society of Marlborough Pipe Band. He has competed with pipe bands at national level whilst domiciled in Wellington and then in Auckland, and in 2011 he played in competitions at Grade 3 level in Australia with the Band Club from Sydney, Australia.

Mr Hodson has been a piper in bands performing in the New Zealand Police Centenary Tattoo, the Year of the Veteran Military Tattoo, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Wellington and Sydney plus twice taking part in the Basel Military Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland. He has also competed at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland with the Royal Air Force Pipe Band from Leuchars, Fife Scotland.

To learn new techniques in piping and tutoring pipers, Mr Hodon attended the annual Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association Summer School in Christchurch, has taken part in the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Summer programme in Canada and has also taken part in the piping programme at the College of Piping at St Anns, Cape Breton Island to obtain the benefit of world class tutoring in the highland bagpipe.

Mr Hodson is the current Pipe Major of the Royal New Zealand Navy Pipe and Drums Club based at the Devonport Naval Base and also plays with the Auckland Police Pipe Band.

Drumming teacher, Glen RodgersMr Glen Rodgers, Advanced Certificate Drumming RSPBA

Mr Rodgers' achievements include being a former NZ Solo Drumming Champion, and winner of the NZ Pipe Band Championships in Grade 1. He stands on the RNZPBA National Judging Panel, and is a RZNZPBA College examiner.

Mr Rodgers is a regular member of the teacher facility at the National Pipe Band Summer School and Drumming Principal of the Auckland Piping and Drumming Academy.

He also adjudicated the Australian National Solo Drumming Championships in Melbourne, and in 2016, he won the New Zealand Pipe Band Championships as a guest player with Wellington based Red Hackle Pipe Band. The international publication "Modern Drummer' recently named him as one of the best drum teachers in the world.

Mr Rodgers is a passionate teacher of young people and several of his students have been chosen as members of the RNZPBA Youth Pipe Band, and the National Youth Orchestra. He keeps a busy timetable as a self-employed drummer/itinerant drumming teacher specializing in Scottish Pipe Band Drumming and Drum Set.

Cello teacher, Vigdis RelphMrs Vigdis Relph, FTCL (Performance/Piano and Cello), LTCL (Teacher's Dip/Piano and Cello), M. Musicology, B. Musicology (Hons)

Mrs Relph is a graduate and postgraduate of the University of South Africa.

Her postgraduate work was undertaken in Switzerland, London and the UNISA for her thesis The Synthesis of Eastern European Style Folk Music and Western Art Music in selected works of Bela Bartok from 1930-1940.

Mrs Relph played in the SABC Orchestra and has trained and conducted various choirs in South Africa. She also sang Contralto in the SABC Choir and A-Capella in the Chanticlear Singers.

With more than 30 years' experience as a tutor of cello, double bass, piano, theory musicianship and musical direction of large and small ensembles, Mrs Relph has trained and conducted orchestras and chamber groups in New Zealand, as well as choirs in South Africa.

Trumpet teacher, Norman McFarlaneMr Norman McFarlane, FTCL

Mr McFarlane studied the trumpet with Mr Mark Gould, Principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera, Mr Philip Smith, Principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, and Mr Ian Browne, Principal trumpet of the Covent Garden Opera Orchestra in London.

Mr McFarlane was Principal trumpet with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) from 1980 until 2004 and subsequently is now Associate Principal Trumpet of the APO.

Mr McFarlane worked as a Brass teacher working for the University of Auckland as their Artist/Teacher of Trumpet from 1994-1995. He has also maintained a private studio training young players towards trumpet exams. Norman was appointed a Trumpet teacher at Auckland Grammar School in 2009.

Mr McFarlane's wife Anne is a professional Viola player in the APO and their sons Laurence and Alexander are Grammar Old Boys (classes of 2005 and 2008 respectively).

Violin and viola teacher, Dr John ThomsonDr John Thomson

Dr Thomson has been teaching violin and viola and assisting with the orchestras at Auckland Grammar School since 2011. Prior to this, he spent 20 years as Professor of Violin in several universities in the United States.

Dr Thomson's research has been published in the USA and Australia, and he is featured on several CD recordings on the Albany and AK Coburg labels. He has performed as soloist throughout New Zealand, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America.

In addition to maintaining an active teaching and performing schedule, Dr Thomson frequently travels to Nelson where he serves as concertmaster of the Nelson Symphony Orchestra.

His students have achieved success in competitions, the ABRSM and Trinity examinations and have gone on to study violin at universities in New Zealand and overseas. He is pleased to be able to share his passion for string playing with the next generation of musicians of New Zealand.

Clarinet teacher, Andrew UrenMr Andrew Uren

Mr Uren is a keen educator of music and promoter of the bass clarinet and New Zealand music. He was a founding member of New Zealand's contemporary ensemble 175 East, performing over 200 pieces of which 50 were written for the group.

In 2009 the Composers Association of New Zealand (CANZ) awarded Mr Uren a Citation for Outstanding Services to New Zealand Music. In 2012, Andrew released New Zealand's first bass clarinet album titled Steep Steps (Atoll label) to critical acclaim.

Mr Uren has performed with all major New Zealand orchestras, Netherlands Chamber Ensemble and Rotterdam Philharmonic. He has performed in many professional musicals most recently touring around Australasia with Cats and Matilda.

His teachers include Peter Scholes (clarinet), Harry Sparnaay (bass clarinet) and Jim Langabeer (saxophone). Andrew has adjudicated many competitions including the NZ Woodwind Competition and the NZ Community Trust Schools Chamber Music Contest.

Violin teacher, Boris KipnisMr Boris Kipnis

Born in Moldova, Mr Kipnis started learning the violin at seven years old. He pursued his study in the Gorky Conservatorium of Music in the USSR. He has also studied Violin Performance with Prof. Semion Yaroshevich (as a student of Boris Belenky and David Oistrakh) and Chamber Music with Prof. Sofia Propischan.

Before moving to New Zealand in 1997, Mr Kipnis was a member of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Moldova, Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, and Tel Aviv Symphony Orchestra. He has also played with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Mr Kipnis has prepared students to pursue their music education in Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia, New York University, Augsburg University in Germany and Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, many of whom have been awarded major prizes in competitions such as, SAPACS, WAPACS, Kendall National Competition, Australia (2009), ASEAN Concerto Competition (2013), American Protege Music Competition (2021).

Mr Kipnis also enjoys teaching Chamber Music. The junior groups achieved Best Junior Award in Auckland District NZCT Chamber Music Contest (2013, 2019) and Newcomers Award (2018). His senior groups were NZCT Chamber Music Contest Auckland Regional Finalists in 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015, and were the National Finalist of NZCT Chamber Music Contest in 2005, 2006, and 2012.

With more than 25 years of teaching experience, Mr. Kipnis has written two books - Violin Virtuoso: First Steps to Perfection (for beginners) and Scales and Arpeggios for advanced students.

Mrs Rebecca Celebuski

Hailing from Gurnee, Illinois, Mrs Celebuski began playing percussion at age 11 in order to annoy her parents.

She quickly fell in love with the instrument through the many wind bands, orchestras and marching bands of her youth and went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree with Honours from the Royal College of Music and a Master of Arts from the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Mrs Celebuski works regularly with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and performs in the Antipodes Percussion Project, part of the APO Schools' Partnership programme.

Mrs Ruth Brinkman, BMus (Performance), Dip Teaching

Mrs Brinkman studied performance music at the University of Auckland, and was a member of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for 35 years. She taught bassoon at the University of Auckland for 20 years.

Mrs Brinkman has taught secondary students, both privately and in schools, for most of her professional career, with many students going on to study music at at tertiary level themselves.

Mr Mark Close

Mr Close has obtained degrees in Music (BMus in Performance), Politics (BA Hons) and Town Planning (Master of Planning Practice). He held the position of sub-principal trombone with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra from 1995-2018.

Mr Close was a founding member of BonaNZa trombone quartet and Aucktet (an Auckland-based trombone octet) and regularly assists various amateur music groups in Auckland.

In addition, Mr Close has for over 30 years taught a range of brass instruments at many Auckland schools and has been Music Director of Kumeu Brass, Auckland City Brass, Takapuna Youth Brass and Acting MD of the RNZAF Base Auckland Band.

Mr Carl Wells

A passionate performer and teacher, Mr Wells currently holds the role of 2nd Horn with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. In addition to maintaining a regular teaching schedule, he hosts the Horn Hang program connecting horn players throughout Auckland.

Mr Wells has performed with orchestras in Canada, Mexico, the United States, and all the major orchestras of New Zealand. He is an alumni of the University of Northern Colorado, University of Toronto, and New England Conservatory in Boston.