FLORA EDWARDS (ONZM)
TTC(Speech Therapy); AdvDipTerTchg; FTCL; LRSM
Flora Edwards is senior lecturer in singing at the New Zealand School of Music. She was previously the first Head of the Conservatorium of Massey University.
Flora has had a long and successful singing performance career in opera. oratorio and recital. She studied in London for four years, with Frederic Jackson, Royal Academy of Music and began her professional singing career in the United Kingdom.
On her return to New Zealand she was a regular contralto soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and choral Societies, she became a regular Concert Programme artist in New Zealand and a Network Artist for the Australian Broadcasting Her numerous mezzo soprano roles ranged from the major roles of Carmen, Azucena and Lucretia to the character roles of Prince Orlofsky, Mrs Sedley in Peter Grimes, Nurse in Boris Gudenov the Witch in Hansel and Gretel. She performed this last-named role and also Poulenc’s opera for one woman, “La Voix Humaine”, for New Zealand television.
In Dunedin where she directed two major productions for the Dunedin Opera Company, she established a Children’s Opera Group to encourage enthusiasm for the art form in the young. She received two major grants from Queen Elizabeth 11 Arts Council to research regional opera companies in Australia, and followed this by forming the Southern Opera Ensemble to tour the region with high standard chamber opera. She has directed more than twenty five chamber operas with the students at the Conservatorium of Music, Massey University.
Since 1987 she has devoted herself to singing teacher education in New Zealand She formed the professional association NEWZATS as an educational resource for singing teachers in New Zealand, and became its first president. In 1994, she secured the Third International Congress of Voice Teachers for New Zealand and convened the event which brought more than four hundred and fifty voice specialists from around the world to this country. The Q E 11 Arts Council supported both these transforming initiatives for New Zealand teachers of singing She received life membership of NEWZATS as an acknowledgement of her work for the profession of singing teaching.
She initiated New Zealand’s first university qualification for singing teachers, the PGDipMT(singing) while senior lecturer in singing at Massey University. She was an accredited examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board and is now an examiner for the newly formed Music Examinations Board, and has frequent invitations to adjudicate at Vocal Competitions.