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Brigid Ursula Bisley

Senior Tutor

Brigid Ursula Bisley is a composer, conductor (orchestral and choral), music educator, and semi professional violinist/folk fiddler who has loved and practised music all her life. She graduated from the University of Auckland School of Music in 1985, having majored in Violin Performance and Composition, then studied conducting privately with the late Maestro Eliano Mattiozzi Petralia, a crucial teacher who encouraged her to pursue conducting as a career and to start her own orchestra. In 2003 with the help of Waitakere Mayor and patron Sir Bob Harvey, she founded the Waitakere City Orchestra, which performed music from the Renaissance to the present day including her own and other NZ work. In 2010 she auditioned successfully for the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Programme, attending masterclasses with the Auckland Philharmonia, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the ANAM orchestra (Melbourne). In 2017 she furthered her conducting studies with Professor Uwe Grodd at the UoA, completing Honours level. In 2018 she founded Titirangi Chamber Choir of which she is the musical director.


Brigid has composed for voice, classical instruments, mixed chamber ensembles, orchestra, Taonga Puoro, dance and film. Highlights include: 1999 runner up at the SOUNZ contemporary awards for her song cycle Come Back Safely; 2014 Shelter, settings of poems by Cilla McQueen to music, premiered by new music ensemble Plexus in the ABC theatre in Melbourne; 2018 premiere of the short film Crossings for which she composed the score, at Studio One Toi Tu in Auckland; 2019 Unbound for string quartet toured throughout NZ by the Aroha Quartet from Wellington; 2019 Glimmer of Blue for vibraphone and strings performed by the NZSO at the SOUNZ Composer readings. 


Brigid is an experienced and passionate teacher of many years, working with all ages, individuals and groups. She has been an itinerant violin teacher, choir teacher, school orchestra conductor and arranger in Auckland schools. She was a foundation violin tutor at the Auckland Philharmonia’s Sistema Aotearoa programme, working in low decile schools in South Auckland (2010- 12). Currently she teaches composition, songwriting, theory, score analysis and how to use Sibelius software at Mt Albert Grammar. She is also an artist in residence for the Ockham Collective based in Mt Albert. 


A lifelong advocate of holistic and embodied music learning, she studied Kodaly pedagogy Level 1 of the Australian Kodaly Certificate, and post graduate music pedagogy at the UoA School of Music which she now brings to her private work, specialising in musicianship, literacy and confidence building using the voice, gesture and Sol-fa. She specialises in teaching adults wanting to return to music after having given up, or having not had the chance at all. Central to all of Brigid’s work is the conviction that music is essential to life and to happiness, that anyone can do it and everyone should have access to it. 


Brigid lives in Titirangi, Auckland, among a community of artistic people, and is married with three grown up children who are all in the Arts.

Subject: Kodály Musicianship & Violin

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