“The performing arts scene at St Peter’s was the best thing about my high school experience. It helped me discover my potential and love of performing arts. It gave me the freedom and space to develop my performance skills outside of the classroom. Most importantly, the friendly and supportive performing arts community gave me a place where I felt I truly belonged. I had the chance to grow socially in a positive environment where I gained self-confidence and made lifelong friends. With huge support from the school staff I was able to audition and be accepted into Birmingham School of Acting in the UK, which was a great launching pad for my career. Thanks to St Peter’s I am now able to apply everything I have learnt to all aspects of life as I embark on my professional career in Thailand today.” – Peevara.
From St Peter’s Peevara went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Acting from the Birmingham School of Acting, UK. Since his graduation from university, Peevara has been cast in a number of musicals and shows, most notably as a Swing in Miss Saigon (Thailand).
As an aspiring director, Peevara has directed a musical television performance for the occasion of the Royal Princess’s Birthday. Recently he has taken on leading roles in Jack and the Beanstalk, Fanfare to Murder and Comedy of Errors produced by Bangkok Community Theatre. Part-time, Peevara works as a drama instructor and facilitator for Curtain Up Drama & Magic Co. Ltd. providing drama programmes for Bangkok Patana International and Shrewsbury International School.
“To say that St Peter’s had a significant impact on my life would be a huge understatement. As well as providing me with a secondary education I know I was privileged to receive, the school instilled in me a deep passion for music and the performing arts, one, which I am convinced, I would not have found so easily at another school. Since school, although I have been lucky to know generous and influential people, I believe that I owe the most gratitude to my foundation and the early days of my musical development at St Peter’s where I really learnt the joy of this art.”
Timothy currently holds LRSM (Dist), a Bachelor of Music in cello, a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in conducting and organ, a Graduate Diploma in Music, and his Masters of Music in early keyboard is underway in 2016.
Timothy’s successes have been plentiful. He has been selected into conducting master classes in USA, Berlin, Venice, Australia and New Zealand, conducting orchestras including the New Zealand Symphony, the Melbourne Symphony, the Western Australia Symphony, the Tasmanian Symphony, the Berlin Sinfonietta and the Auckland Philharmonic.
Currently Timothy works as a freelance conductor and organist, while also holding the positions of Director of Orchestras at St Kentigern College, organist at Dilworth School, organ scholar at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Artistic Director of Hamilton Civic Choir, and Assistant Director of Bach Musica.
“St Peter’s has impacted my life more than I could've ever imagined. It was the beginning of my deep passion for music, drama and dance, as well as giving me a sound secondary education. I am very lucky and thankful to have been taught and mentored by so many inspiring and influential people at St Peter’s. I don't believe I would be where I am today without my foundation and the early days of my musical development, where I found my love for the performing arts.” – Tessa.
In her time at St Peter’s Tessa was dance prefect, and winner of numerous prestigious St Peter’s dance awards. On completing high school, Tessa was offered the opportunity to study in a number of prestigious dance schools including Brent Street, Sydney, Transit Dance, Melbourne and WAAPA, Perth. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) in Perth, Australia. Tessa trains in classical and contemporary dance for over 40 hours a week, and attends lectures in anatomy, alignment, dance history, nutrition and music.
Jesse Austin-Stewart is a Wellington-based sonic artist with a focus on spatial sound. He is currently completing his PhD at Massey University exploring the democratisation of spatial audio systems and experiences.
Jesse values his time at St Peter’s immensely, saying: “The music department allowed me opportunities to thrive in what I enjoyed, and gave me the chance to experiment with new ideas and creative practices. The culture of creativity and perseverance within the department taught me many lessons about the value of working hard when pursuing new ideas.”
As a sonic artist, Jesse has had works performed all over New Zealand and internationally. He has past and upcoming publications at the International Computer Music Conference, New Interfaces for Musical Expression, and the Australasian Computer Music Conference. As an audio engineer, he has recorded and produced work for Solomon Crook, Rob Thorne, Simon Eastwood, Glen Downie and many more.
Grace has gone on to make a career out of music. She has a Dip.ABRSM (Dist.) and a Bachelor of Music (First class Hons) from the University of Auckland, both in solo piano performance.
Grace found a place to belong in the performing arts community at St Peter’s: “The PFA community at St Peter's provided me with a ready-made group of friends who shared my interests and passions. Being part of the performing arts community was the first time I learned the power of creating music with other people - the deep emotional connection formed in that process remains very special to me, and I keep seeking it out in my musical endeavours today.”
By experiencing the range of musical opportunities available at St Peter’s Grace developed a versatility which has proved important in her ability to make a living today. Orchestras, ensembles and school shows, “ actually laid a foundation that now allows me to play gigs across lots of styles, and especially to get a foot in the door of the musical theatre scene. It's been a great joy to take the skills I learned (when I thought I was just having a good time!) and apply them in Auckland show seasons including West Side Story and Spamalot. I was enormously lucky to be given chamber music opportunities at St Peter's, and to play in the string and symphony orchestras. Many of my university peers didn't have the privilege of ensemble experience in their high school education - it gave me a wonderful headstart as I work continually to find the best ways to collaborate with others in all areas of my life, not just music.”
Grace has built a portfolio of accomplishments. Auckland Youth Choir tour to New York and performance in Carnegie Hall (2016), attended Cervo Summer Academy in Italy (2015), tutor and accompanist for choirs in the Big Sing National Finale (2013-2016), Wallace National Piano Competition semifinalist (2013 and 2015), continuo harpsichordist for Auckland Choral's Messiah (2014 and 2015), National Young Performer of the Year winner (2010), National Concerto Competition finalist (2010).
Currently, Grace is a freelance musician in Auckland. This includes working as: Assistant Musical Director of the Auckland Youth Choir; official exam recital accompanist at the University of Auckland; choir accompanist and vocal coach at Saint Kentigern College and Kristin School; piano and chamber music teacher at Saint Kentigern; and repetiteur for Opera Factory, a small company that stages productions aimed at providing opportunities for young up-and-coming singers.
“The St Peter's performing arts scene fostered a love of orchestral playing that has remained with me ever since. The experiences I had as a violinist in ensembles at St Peter's laid strong foundations which enabled me to hold my own through my orchestral experiences at university, in professional orchestras in New Zealand, and overseas in orchestras and ensembles in London and around Europe. The nurturing environment of the St Peter's performing arts department helped to begin the journey of my passion for orchestra, and it's now my dream to have a permanent full-time position as a member of one of Europe or New Zealand's greatest orchestras.” – Olivia.
Olivia’s career already has a number of significant highlights including: performing for Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace; recording with my RCM string quartet at Abbey Road Studios; being a member of the Rothko Quartet (winners of the Royal Over-Seas League International Scholarship) with whom I toured UK and Europe and played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; participating in festivals and courses in Cervo, Venice and Montepulciano (Italy) Morges (Switzerland) Valletta (Malta) Lake District (England) and Vienna (Austria); teaching at summer school in Berneray (Scotland); being concertmaster of the Auckland Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and RCM Philharmonic.
Olivia has gained a number of higher qualification with a major in solo violin performance: Dip.ABRSM with Distinction, LRSM with Distinction, a Bachelor of Music (Hons, First Class) from the University of Auckland and Master of Performance (First Class Honours) from the Royal College of Music, London. Olivia will continue her studies in 2017 in Zürich, Switzerland with professor Nora Chastain.
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