New SOUNZ Director encourages engagement
2 Feb 2010
‘Engagement’ is one of the key objectives that Julie Sperring has as she takes up the role of Executive Director of SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music.
“Listening to and performing the music created by Kiwi composers is such a relevant cultural experience for us as New Zealanders,” Sperring says. “SOUNZ is such an extraordinary resource with the means of making available and accessible the rich and diverse range of music created by our own composers.”
SOUNZ is a charitable trust and music information centre that provides and promotes the music of New Zealand composers and Sperring is excited at the prospect of encouraging people to engage more fully with this music. “I am very much looking forward to building on the work already done and finding new ways to encourage engagement and a sense of exploration and discovery,” she adds.
Elizabeth Kerr, Chair of the SOUNZ Board of Trustees says: "The Board is delighted that we have been able to appoint an arts manager with Julie Sperring's skills, experience and musical background to the role of Executive Director. SOUNZ has greatly expanded its promotional activities for New Zealand music over the past decade under the leadership of Scilla Askew and we are confident that its success will continue with the energy and enthusiasm Julie is bringing to the role."
Julie Sperring brings a unique blend of management, business and musical skills and experience to her new role. She has a degree in Music History through Canterbury and Victoria Universities and an Honours Degree in Piano Performance through the Massey University Conservatorium of Music where she studied with Richard Mapp. She worked with Chamber Music New Zealand from 1987–1995 as the coordinator of their Education Programme and the highly popular School’s Chamber Music Contest before moving on to a Communications role with the Wellington Regional Council.
“In both roles I was particularly keen to communicate helpful and important information in ways that wouldn’t be regarded as academic or technical,” she recalls. “I believe this is particularly relevant for contemporary classical music where an audience’s aural experience can be significantly enhanced with helpful information presented in accessible ways.”
Sperring returned to Chamber Music New Zealand in 2007 as Artistic Administrator, a role which allowed her to work more closely with performers and presenting organisations and their programming processes. “There is a wonderful opportunity for performers to use the resources SOUNZ has more extensively,” she comments, “and this applies both to Kiwi performers taking works overseas that reflect our own musical culture as well as providing international groups a means of experiencing our unique musical ‘voice’.”
More information about SOUNZ and its activities, as well as comprehensive information about New Zealand composers and their music can be found on the website: sounz.org.nz