Past Reviews & Feedback

See what reviewers and audience members have said about us

"The event was the 10th Anniversary Concert of the Graduate Choir NZ which was a concert of the highest quality music that we have come to expect and get from this choir. A feature of the concert was the premiere of a new Christopher Marshall composition based on capturing a sequence of aural snapshots of Samoan life and culture written for a double 5-part choir and sung entirely in Samoan. Christopher Marshall has been a pioneer in bringing together the traditions of choral music and those of Samoan culture. This was another wonderful addition to that oeuvre."

  • Stuart Middleton, EdTalkNZ, 17 October 2011

"What a fantastic service - exciting & gripping, and they did it wonderfully!"

"Congratulations on a wonderful concert yesterday afternoon in the Cathedral. The Graduate Choir is something we Aucklanders and New Zealanders can be very proud of, and this is due to your great leadership, enthusiasm and musicianship."

"What a fantastic concert, thank you so much Terence and the choir and everyone else who made it possible. Such a happy atmosphere, beautiful singing, great choice of music, wonderful Christopher Marshall piece, teary Te Aroha, etc etc etc!"

"Thanks for a great concert yesterday. Congratulations on sustaining such choral excellence over the 10 years."

"That was the most beautiful thing I have heard in a very long time! THANK YOU!"

"We thoroughly enjoyed the performance. There is amazing talent in the choir and we could appreciate the enormous amount of time that has gone into rehearsing for this event."

  • 10th Anniversary service and recital patrons, 9 October 2011

"The Graduate Choir's resonant final chorale was a preview of its well-handled florid singing in the later Cantata 80."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 23 July 2011

"After interval, the finest vocal contribution came with Edward Bairstow's Blessed City, Heavenly Salem. Terence Maskell conducted with a real feeling for the weave of the music, while Hughes' translucent registrations blended with various voicings from the choirs."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 23 March 2010

"Before a note was in the air, Kerry Stevens, the evening's smooth MC, told us the acoustics about to be experienced were 'nowhere near those of your lounge'... The Graduate Choir's Mendelssohn Remembered was clearly destined to be a special occasion and so it was. The opening liturgical settings revealed the excellence of Terence Maskell's choir. A singer himself, with an unrivalled grasp of the voice, Maskell has an enviable ability to create billowing choral textures... There was so much to admire, from the shapely phrasing of Im Grunen to the thrilling surge of tenors in Abschied vom Walde."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 10 November 2009

"The Graduate Choir, a small group of highly trained singers drilled by Terence Maskell, sang the unfailingly exciting choruses with focused precision."

  •  Rod Biss, NZ Listener, Issue 3625, 31 October 2009

"The Graduate Choir may be comparatively small in numbers but the singers held their own magnificently, taking on the sturdy Handelian writing of choruses like "Stimmt an die Staten" in full and confident voice."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 19 October 2009

"The Graduate Choir... showed the careful grooming of director Terence Maskell in its sensitive phrasing and dynamic control and forthright way with a fugue."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 13 October 2008

CD Review, A Sound Came From Heaven: "This multi-ethnic Auckland choir of 35 has strong Polynesian numbers.  That’s a guarantee against bloodless singing and towards a full and rich tone with spontaneous emotional involvement.  The choir sounds assured in the deepest classical heavyweights such as the double canon writing in Brahms’ Geistliches Lied and their powerfully declamatory singing in Charles Stanford’s long and pro-active sacred work.  This and the rich choral sonority of David Hamilton’s Karanga are the two standout items.  They respond superbly to Hamilton’s imaginative changes of colouring and density. Director Terence Maskell has shaped this into one of our most exciting smaller choirs."

  • Ian Dando, NZ Listener, Vol 213 No 3545, April 2008

CD Review, A Sound Came From Heaven: "The indefatigable Laird has been travelling around this year, catching Terence Maskell’s Graduate Choir in various venues for its new album A sound came from heaven.  The title offering, a short anthem by the late Douglas Mews, shows the refinement and strength of Maskell’s 35 singers as they take advantage of the spectacular spaces of Wellington’s St Paul’s Cathedral... While New Zealand music is a strong point of the graduate programme, Maskell’s choir excels in everything from Victorian madrigals and skittish Schumann to gemutlich Gershwin."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 20 December 2007

"Conductor Maskell... reveals his wide knowledge of the repertoire as well as unparalleled choral acumen, and a keen ear for music that would work in this big space...  To sing a sequence of seven pieces by NZ composers, was a brilliant idea... this was seriously agreeable music...  Choirs are a direct reflection of their conductors’ talents.  This is one of the very best choirs in New Zealand, of great strength and excellence both in its technical skills, musicality and interpretative insight."

  • Lindis Taylor, Dominion Post, 1 October 2007

CD Review, My Spirit Sang All Day: "Terence Maskell's warm-toned choir lopes along with easy spontaneity across an eclectic range of classic, middlebrow, folk, soul and jazz.  The tenor section's unforced top Gs and A flats in "Sally Gardens" and its supple fluency in Mendelssohn's Abendlied would be the envy of nearly all Kiwi choirs.  Spacious chording in Bruckner's "Locus iste" and rich blend in the eight-part Pearsall "Lay a Garland" shows vigilant technical control for the intricate classics.  They bounce into Finzi's "My spirit sang all day" with winning gusto."

  • Ian Dando, NZ Listener, Vol 203 No 3447, June 2006

CD Review, My Spirit Sang All Day: "For Kiwi choral, try The Graduate Choir's "My Spirit Sang All Day" (Atoll 105) and be rewarded with inspired Debussy and inspirational Bruckner, not to mention rousing gospel."

 William Dart, NZ Herald, 13 December 2005

CD Review, My Spirit Sang All Day: "The four-year-old ensemble has melded itself into a collection of voices that demands attention both for the high standard of musicality and the repertoire: an intelligent and thoughtfully selected anthology of music ranging from contemporary New Zealand work to Bruckner and Samoan songs.  It's all huge fun as the choir gives all in the pursuit of excellence.  On the basis of this first recording, it achieves its goal."

  • Christopher Moore, The Press, 16 November 2005

Feature Article, The Graduate Choir NZ: "There is little doubt that The Graduate Choir, NZ is a unique group and deserves to attain wider recognition for its vital performances, its beautifully rich and varied sound as well as its exciting repertoire.  Little of this could be achieved without the leadership of its truly committed and charismatic conductor Terence Maskell."

  • Janet Lincé, MasterSinger, Winter 2005

CD Review, My Spirit Sang All Day: "The choir's first album takes its title from Finzi's "My Spirit Sang All Day" and I certainly could have listened happily for much longer than the 52 minutes of this CD.  The Graduates have always amazed with the diversity of their music, and the delicate sighs of Debussy's "Dieu! Quil la fait bon regarder" are worlds away from the infectious jollity of two Samoan folk songs arranged by Christopher Marshall.  Conductor Terence Maskell is a magician. He knows how to focus his singers on a single line, catching just the right light, shade and nuance."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 7 September 2005

"Whilst they are renowned for their interpretation of the serious choral repertoire, they are appreciated for their versatility in delivering accessible crowd pleasers as well. Unique features are their blend of warm rich tone, their internationally representative status and outstanding calibre of musicianship."

  • Concert FM, Programming Highlights, March 2005

"They have been one of Auckland's best-kept choral secrets for too long."

  • William Dart, NZ Herald, 16 March 2005

"Terence Maskell's Graduate Choir... showed just what committed choral singing is all about..."

  •  William Dart, NZ Herald, 18 June 2004

"The Graduate Choir of Auckland... produce a rich and vibrant sound with enormous maturity and outstanding intonation, diction and ensemble and I can safely say that I have never heard anything like it in my life... This choir deserves an international platform at the earliest opportunity!"

  • Janet Lincé, Mastersinger, Winter 2003

"The Graduate Choir and Male Voice Chorus, both under the outstanding leadership of their conductor Terence Maskell, demonstrated real warmth and breadth of tone alongside consistently accurate intonation, superb diction in four languages, a total feeling of ensemble from start to finish and a true sense of musical integrity, giving each and every one of us a real thrill... They presented us with one of the finest examples of choral singing to be heard anywhere in the world."

  •  Janet Lincé, Breve, November 2003

"A handful of performances stand out.  Terence Maskell's Graduate Choir sang rings around most of the other choristers at Peter Godfrey's birthday bash, ranging from exquisite Parry, Debussy to some frisky Villa-Lobos..."

  • Full article - William Dart, NZ Herald, 16 December 2002

"Sheer technical and musical excellence... they redefine the word perfection before your very ears."

  • Full article - Heath Lees, NZ Listener, 16 November 2002

"Although there is a huge amount of talent in the choir, what sets it apart is the way the variety of vocal sound blends."

  • Alice Lonsdale-Cooper, Manukau Courier, 8 November 2001