Music Staff

Music Staff

Head of Music, Barry WassonBarry 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 HareEddie Hare, BMus

Mr Hare 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.

Mr Hare joined the Music department at the beginning of 2016 and is the director of the Big Band, as well as the Head of Performing Arts.

Director of Performance Music, Chris AdamsChris 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 has taught at Auckland Grammar School since the beginning of 2018, having previously been 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 HallettChristine Treseder Hallett

Mrs Hallett has a Diploma of Teaching, an LRSM from the Royal Schools of Music, London, a FTCL from Trinity Guildhall, London, as well as a Diploma in Singing Performance and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Auckland.

She has appeared and sung in 40 operas with New Zealand Opera Chorus, was a finalist in the Mobil Song Quest, has held many soprano roles in operas, oratorio and music theatre and specialises in teaching singing at secondary school level and developmental instruction on vocal technique (such as breathing, posture, phonation, resonance, diction and musical literacy) to maintain a healthy, artistic expressive voice.

A number of Mrs Hallett's Grammar students have continued their passion for singing by studying opera and music theatre at universities in Auckland, Wales and London.

Oboe teacherm Alison JepsonAlison 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 MoriChristine Mori

Ms Mori won a scholarship to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (now part of Sydney University) 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.

On returning to New Zealand, Ms Mori took up the position of Principal Flute with the Auckland Philharmonic 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 is a member of the Auckland Wind Quintet and taught at the Auckland School of Education, as well as a member of the Bach Musica Orchestra.

Choir Director, David HamiltonDavid Hamilton

Mr Hamilton was Head of Music at Epsom Girls Grammar School, conducting the award-winning girls' choir Opus. He has been Deputy Music Director of Auckland Choral (1996-2011) and Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra (1999). He maintains part-time involvement in music education as a composition tutor and choral conductor.

He is well-known as a choral conductor, workshop leader and adjudicator (including the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in Wales in 2012 and 2013). His choral music is widely performed, and is published in the UK, USA, and Finland. Works have been commissioned by choirs in Japan, England, USA, Finland, Canada, Australia and Ireland. His music has won competitions in Italy (2000), the USA (2005, 2006 and 2008). and Israel (2007).

In 2008 Carol of Cold Comfort was awarded second place in The Chapter House Choir Composers' Competition in England and in 2014 Wairau for solo harp took first place in the NZ Harp Society's competition.

In 2013 Mr Hamilton was guest composer at the national choral event Sing Aotearoa, and in 2015 was the composer-in-residence at the NZ Singing School. Check out his website here.

Pipe Band leader, Anton HodsonAnton Hodson

Tutor of the School's Pipe Band, Mr Hodson started playing the bagpipes in 1980 and was involved in competing at Provincial and National Competitions under the auspices of the Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Associations.

He has played in various competitive bands, including the New Zealand Police Centenary Tattoo, the Year of the Veteran Military Tattoo, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Wellington and the Basel Military Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland.

Apart from competition piping, Mr Hodson is involved with piping for the Highland Dancing Association for dancing competitions in the Auckland and Northland areas. He competed at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland with the Royal Air Force Pipe Band.

Mr Hodson is currently the Pipe Major of the Royal New Zealand Navy Pipe and Drums and took part in the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the River Plate Military Parade through Auckland and other performances as required by the Navy.

Drumming teacher, Glen RodgersGlen 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 RelphVigdis Relph, FTCL (Perf), LTCL (Teacher's Dip.), 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.

She also sang Contralto in 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 orchestras and chamber groups in New Zealand, as well as choirs in South Africa.


Trumpet teacher, Norman McFarlaneNorman 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 May 2011.

Prior to this, he spent 20 years as Professor of Violin in several universities in the USA. 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.

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


Clarinet teacher, Andrew UrenAndrew 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.

He has been a performer at least fifteen time for Nelson Composers Workshops.

Violin teacher, Boris KipnisBoris Kipnis

Born in Moldova, Mr Kipnis started learning the violin at 7 years old. As he developed a passion towards the violin, 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 coming 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.

He has prepared students to pursue their music education in Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia, New York University and Augsburg University in Germany, many of whom have been awarded major prizes in competitions such as, SAPACS, WAPACS, Kendall National Competition, Australia and the ASEAN Concerto Competition).

Mr Kipnis also enjoys teaching Chamber Music. The junior group achieved Best Junior Award in Auckland District NZCT Chamber Music Contest in 2013. 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.

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.

Ruth Brinkman, BMus (Performance), Dip Teaching

Mrs Brinkman studied performance music at the University of Auckland, and has been a member of the Auckland Philharmonic 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.

Mark Close

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

Mr Close is 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 20 years taught a range of brass instruments at many Auckland schools and has been Music Director of the Kumeu Brass band since 2012, leading them to the National D Grade Championship title in 2015.

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.