Rowena Simpson

Rowena Simpson, a versatile soprano, effortlessly transitions between opera, choral music, oratorio, and chamber music. She holds qualifications in baroque and classical singing from the Royal Conservatoire in The Netherlands complemented by degrees in musicology and linguistics from Victoria University of Wellington.

Her ancestors migrated to Aotearoa-New Zealand during the nineteenth century from Scotland, England and Canada. Starting her musical journey as an angel in a school play, Rowena studied the cello and dance during her school years in Hamilton, and then moved to Wellington where she gained experience with The Pocket Opera and Five Go Baroque before leaving for The Netherlands in 1997.

During her studies there, Rowena had the privilege of participating in performances and masterclasses with many notable musicians, including Michael Chance (Britten-Pears), Ton Koopman, and Jill Feldman. As a professional singer, she was a soloist in baroque operas, collaborated with dance companies, and worked with chamber music ensembles, including five years with the Netherlands Chamber Choir.

Returning to New Zealand in 2006, Rowena has since performed with many fine ensembles, including NZ Barok, Voices NZ, Bach Musica, Pinchgut Opera (Sydney), Days Bay Opera, The Queens Closet, and she is a member of the NZ Opera chorus.

As a part of New Zealand’s historical performance practice community, Rowena has collaborated on many projects. These include ‘A Baroque Dawn to Dusk’ for Chamber Music NZ, ‘The Mirror of Time’ series with Stroma New Music Ensemble, and engaging music-theatre performances like ‘Home’ and ‘Lines from the Nile,’ directed by Jacqueline Coats. Her involvement with Hammers & Horsehair, in their programmes ‘German and Bohemian Music’ and ‘Homecoming’, showcases her commitment to historical musical exploration in New Zealand.

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