The Graduate Choir NZ is very proud to have as its patron Dame Malvina Major, ONZ GNZM DBE. Dame Malvina is a well-known and much loved New Zealand soprano. Born in Hamilton in 1943, into a large musical family, she first performed as a child at various concerts, singing mainly pop music and songs from the shows. She began to study singing in 1955, and was later accepted as a pupil by Dame Sister Mary Leo in Ponsonby, Auckland. Following her wins in the 1963 NZ Mobil Song Quest, and the Melbourne Sun Aria competition in 1964,
Dame Malvina went on to further study at the London Opera Centre in 1965. She won the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 1966. Her stellar operatic career has been international, singing more than 30 operas in their original languages, and producing many recordings and CDs.
Dame Malvina was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1991 in recognition of her services to music, and a Principal Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008. This was later exchanged for the Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to opera. This highest honour of the NZ Order of Merit was awarded to her in 2012. In 1992 Dame Malvina established a Foundation that helps young New Zealanders to achieve their potential in the performing arts by providing a range of grants, prizes and scholarships. She is currently Professor of Voice at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Dame Malvina Major was officially installed as The Graduate Choir New Zealand’s Patron at a sell-out gala event in Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral – A Major Occasion – in September of 2015. She performed not only solos, but also sang with the choir, and with brothers Pene and Amitai Pati of Sol3 Mio fame – both alumni of The Graduate Choir NZ.
Dame Malvina Major performing with Amitai Pati and The Graduate Choir NZ - 2015