Nicholas Sutcliffe has been based in Wellington since February 2018.
Prior to moving to Wellington, Nicholas was based in Christchurch, New Zealand where he worked at Christ’s College, Canterbury since 2012. He was Organist & Music Tutor, Religious Education & Music teacher, and was Director of the Schola Cantorum of Christ’s College – the school’s flagship auditioned choral ensemble. As part of his responsibilities, Nicholas played the organ for all the school services and assisted with the direction of several other ensembles including the 80-voice Chapel Choir and some smaller chamber groups. Nicholas was also Assistant Housemaster in one of the boarding houses at the College.
From July 2012 until Christmas 2015, Nicholas was Assistant Organist at ChristChurch Cathedral in Christchurch, working closely with the boys and men Cathedral Choir and playing the organ for the six choral services each week at the Cathedral. Part of this role also entailed working closely with the Cathedral Grammar School, where the Cathedral Choristers are educated. He was Acting Director of Music at the Cathedral for several months at the start of 2015 during a period of interregnum.
Having started to play the organ from an early age at Saint Kentigern School, Nicholas became known as the Assistant Organist from the age of 10, playing for School Chapels and Carol Services in the Cathedral. After leaving the School, he continued on to Saint Kentigern College where he was Organist for several years prior to graduating at the end of 2006.
Until October 2008, Nicholas was the Music Foundation Organ Scholar at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland. In addition to working with the Cathedral Choir in playing and conducting roles, he also held a L.C.M. Saunders Choral Scholarship and is an ‘Alumnus cum Laude’ of the Cathedral Music Foundation for services to the Cathedral Choir over eight years.
From January 2009 until April 2011, Nicholas was Organist & Director of Music at St Mark’s Anglican Church, Remuera, Auckland. This entailed playing the organ for all services in the Church, and directing the Parish Choir & Chamber Voices, along with coordinating all other musical activities at St Mark’s including an annual recital series.
Nicholas studied music at the University of Auckland – Harpsichord with James Tibbles, Organ with Dr John Wells and Conducting with Dr Karen Grylls. Throughout this time, he was also the Chapel Organist & Tutor at Dilworth School for Boys, and Organist at St Cuthbert’s College for Girls, working at both schools in a playing, teaching, and accompaniment capacity.
Having had experience working in secondary schools in Auckland and Christchurch, Nicholas decided to pursue a formal teaching qualification in 2015 studying at the University of Canterbury, and gained a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Secondary).
Throughout 2010 & 2011, Nicholas was the Director of Cantare, the Senior Girls’ Choir at Westlake Girls’ High School on Auckland’s North Shore – a school well known for excellence in choral music. Under his direction, Cantare was placed in the top category at the Auckland Regional Big Sing Competition, and was awarded “Best Upper Voice Choir” and a Gold Award at the inaugural ‘SingDownUnder’ competition held in Auckland this year. More recently, in 2014, the choir Collegium – a joint group between Christ’s and St Margaret’s Colleges in Christchurch – were awarded a Gold award at the NZCF Big Sing National Finale Competition, as well as the trophy for Best Performance of a New Zealand work, awarded for a composition of Nicholas’.
Nicholas is also an active singer, having been a member of the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir 2005-6, who toured to Hong Kong and China to the World Choral Olympics, claiming the title of “Choir of the World” at this event. More recently, he was the Bass Section Leader of the New Zealand Youth Choir 2008-10, directed by Dr. Karen Grylls. He has been a member of Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir and toured with Chamber Music New Zealand as part of a 16-voice ensemble on a national concert tour, culminating in a CD recording in 2013.
In 2006 and 2008, Nicholas was awarded 2nd place at the New Zealand Organ Competition in Wellington and Auckland respectively, as part of the annual Organists’ Congress, for which he has been a featured organist over several years, and won 1st place in Auckland at the 2011 National Congress.