Classical performance

Students who pursue a Classical Performance major at NZSM have the opportunity to study with some of New Zealand’s most acclaimed performers, recording artists and teachers, many of whom are either faculty staff members, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Principals, or engaged in performing and recording internationally. Your experience also includes exposure to major international touring artists who give masterclasses, workshops, and performances throughout the year.

You can see and hear performances by students and staff in the NZSM Classical performance Programme on the NZSM Vimeo channel [opens in a new window].

Instrument majors

You can major in:

and except for the core requirements for the qualification, your programme of study is tailored to suit the individual requirements of your instrument.

You will work with an instrumental teacher on a weekly basis, with whom you will develop a thorough grounding in repertoire, technique, style, and interpretation. Instrumental/vocal classes and workshops supplement individual lessons, in which you further develop and hone your skills, providing opportunities for you to perform, discuss, and analyse your work in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Performance opportunities

Students pursuing a Classical Performance major at NZSM will be able to enhance their regular weekly studies in a number of ways. 

You will have:

  • frequent opportunities  to perform, not only at the School but also in large and small downtown concerts scheduled each year by the School
  • many chances to hear outstanding performing ensembles such as the contemporary chamber music ensemble Stroma
  • regular exposure to major international touring artists who give master classes, workshops, and performances throughout the year.

You can:

  • compete in the annual NZSM Concerto Competition; prizes include an opportunity to win a solo performance with NZSM Orchestra
  • audition for a role in the opera (students of voice)
  • audition to play in the Big Band (students with suitable experience)
  • audition to play with Orchestra Wellington and occasionally the NZSO (advanced students)
  • join a contemporary music ensemble or form a new one  
  • join the Jazz Choir (no audition required).
For exceptional students, the study of a second instrument is a special privilege, which may be available to undergraduates who have successfully passed an audition on that instrument. Studies in period instruments such as lute, harpsichord, early guitar, Baroque strings/wind may also be available.

Who can study Classical Performance?

Students wanting to study classical performance are expected to have reached a good level of proficiency on their instrument (eg Grade VII or VIII), although it is not obligatory to have previously taken exams. To study classical performance at the NZSM you must pass an audition.

The full range of qualifications from the Bachelor of Music to the Doctorate of Musical Arts or PhD is offered with a concentration in classical performance. At undergraduate level, this is available in the BMus only.

At postgraduate level, you can study classical performance for the full range of qualifications offered by the NZSM: the Graduate Diploma in Music (GDipMus), the Postgraduate Diploma in Music (PGDipMus), the Bachelor of Music with Honours BMus(Hons), the Master of Musical Arts (MMA), the Master of Music (MMus), the Artist Diploma (ArtDip), and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree (DMA) or Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD).

Scholarships and prizes

There are a number of scholarships and prizes available to students on the basis of ability, where you're from, your ethnicity, and other factors. Students who, at the time of audition, show exceptional potential may be considered for an NZSM Director's Scholarship. If you are in this category, you will be informed after your audition, at the time when you are offered a place within our programme.

Transferring students

Students transferring to the NZSM from another New Zealand University at 200 level or above, as well as international Study Abroad students may enrol in classical performance papers subject to an audition.