Elizabeth Lau | FOUNDER & MUSIC DIRECTOR
Elizabeth Lau is the founder and Music Director of Wairua Sinfonietta. Her goal was to “bringing musicians and audiences together in order to support wider community through the gift of music performance at the highest possible level”.
Elizabeth’s background is diverse, holding a master’s degree in conducting from The University of Auckland as well as bachelor degrees in composition and performance including piano and double bass. Elizabeth studied conducting with Professor Uwe Grodd and Dr Karen Grylls, and piano accompaniment with Rae de Lisle. She divides her time between conducting, piano teaching and accompanying, work as a repetiteur, chamber music coach and professional engagements as a double bass player. She is currently the Deputy Music Director of Conductor, teacher assistant (conducting study) at The University of Auckland and Artistic Advisor of the Mozart Orchestra.
In 2014, Elizabeth took part in conducting workshops in Switzerland, and in Britain where she has been invited to join the class of Prof. Peter Stark and was invited to attend rehearsals and recording sessions taken by Simon Halsey with the London Symphony Chorus and John Wilson with the Philhamonia Orchestra. In June this year, she was the accompanist and conductor for the Suzuki Annual Concert in the Auckland Town Hall and in July she served as adjudicator in the New Plymouth Music Competition.
Elizabeth has attended conducting workshops in the Czech Republic and New Zealand with distinguished conductors including, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Prof. Peter Stark, Kirk Trevor and Chun Yeh, Anton Armstrong, Prof. Rod Eichenberger, Tecwyn Evans, Simon Halsey and Dr Jo-Michael Scheibe. She made her conducting début with the Manukau Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and has directed many ensembles during the last ten years. From 2004 until 2011 she was the Music Director of MAA - Auckland's Chinese community choir and in 2009, Elizabeth was invited to conduct the Suzuki International Conference Orchestra in Melbourne, Australia.
In recent years, Elizabeth has increasingly worked with Auckland Choral, teacher assistant in conducting study at the University of Auckland and the Auckland Primary Principals Association Symphony Orchestra during the annual music festival. A highlight in 2012 was her appointment as assistant conductor for the world première of LEN LYE the opera with music by Eve de Castro-Robinson, a project under the auspices of The University of Auckland performing for a season in the Maidment Theatre, Auckland.
Uwe Grodd | ARTISTIC ADVISOR
Uwe Grodd’s contributions to classical music have brought him considerable international acclaim as conductor, flautist, editor and teacher. To date, he has made world premier recordings of more than 70 works of 18th and early 19th century music. Three of these masses and 19 symphonies have not been heard since the 18th century. In 1997 he joined Naxos Records as an exclusive artist, a partnership which has allowed him to reintroduce the oeuvres of many undervalued or forgotten composers.
Grodd initially gained worldwide attention when awarded First Prize at the Cannes Classical Awards 2000 for Best 18th Century Orchestral Recording for his CD of Vaňhal Symphonies on which he conducted Hungary’s Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia. At the time, few people knew of Vaňhal as one of Vienna’s most popular 18th century composers or of his vast output. Grodd continued to deepen his understanding of Vaňhal’s musical language, recording two previously unknown masses and editing and recording his flute quartets. Two recordings of music by Hummel, one featuring the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, earned Grodd Gramophone magazine’s Editor’s Choice in 2004 and 2008.
In 2003, Grodd began to conduct and record Ferdinand Ries’ Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra, and in 2012 launched the fifth and final volume of the series, on which he conducted the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and pianist Christopher Hinterhuber. The CD received the coveted IRR OUTSTANDING recognition from the International Record Review. The series features the NZSO, Sweden’s Gävle Symphony, the UK’s Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Ries had lived in the shadow of his friend and teacher, Ludwig van Beethoven. FANFARE USA now wrote: ‘Thus, slowly, Ries is finally occupying the place in music history that is rightly his.’
Grodd is continually expanding his repertoire as a musicologist and editor. His scholarly research into original manuscripts and creation of modern-day performance scores has brought to life many previously unknown compositions. He recently recorded his new editions of Hummel’s arrangements of Mozart’s last six symphonies for flute, violin, cello and piano. With their generous suggestions for phrasing, articulation, dynamics and, most importantly, metronome markings for tempo, they offer an intricate insight into how Mozart’s most prominent student shaped these masterworks.
Recent performance highlights include the final concerts of the 53rd and the 54th Handel Festival in Halle, Germany. This involved a combined choir of 280 and the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Halle. In 2003 and 2004, Grodd conducted sell-out seasons of Handel's recently rediscovered opera IMENEO in the Halle Opera House, and was awarded the Badge of Honour for his services to the Handel Festival and the City of Halle.
Grodd is equally committed to the music of his own time, playing a pivotal role in commissioning more than 50 works from New Zealand composers. He conducted the premier season of the multi-media opera GALILEO, with music by John Rimmer and libretto by Witi Ihimaera, and, in 2012, was Artistic Director of LEN LYE the opera, with music by Eve de Castro-Robinson and libretto by Roger Horrocks.