|Dame Malvina Major
ONZ GNZM DBE
|Birth name||Malvina Major|
|Born||28 January 1943|
|Origin||Hamilton, New Zealand|
She was born in Hamilton, New Zealand into a large musical family. As a child she performed at various concerts, singing mainly country and western pop and music from the shows. She received her first classical training in 1955, from Sister Mary Magdalen at Ngaruawahia, north of Hamilton. Sister Febronie continued with her voice training and Sister Liguori gave her piano tuition. As her potential blossomed, Major began travelling weekly to Ponsonby in Auckland, where she received further tuition from Dame Sister Mary Leo at St Mary's College Music School. Sister Mary Leo was internationally recognised as one of the great music teachers, and she later taught another famous New Zealand soprano, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Major later moved to England for further study at the London Opera Centre under the guidance of renowned teacher Ruth Packer.
Her successes include winning the 1963 New Zealand Mobil Song Quest beating Te Kanawa who placed second (Dame Kiri later won the 1965 contest). She also won the Australian Melbourne Sun-Aria in 1965, and the prestigious London based Kathleen Ferrier Award in 1966. Malvina later performed in international concerts including a BBC concert broadcast in London, an outdoor concert at the pyramids in Egypt with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, and a charity concert for Vera Lynn in London. She has performed more than 30 opera roles in their original languages. She has recorded numerous records and CDs.
She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1991 in recognition of her contributions to music, and a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (PCNZM) in 2008 for her contributions to opera. This was later exchanged for Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
On 18 March 2011, Major performed in the national Christchurch memorial service at Hagley Park of Christchurch in the presence of Prince William, Prime Minister John Key, Bob Parker, Hayley Westenra, ChristChurch Cathedral Choir, dignitaries, international rescue teams and tens of thousands of New Zealanders.
In The Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours List 2012 Dame Malvina Major was appointed to the Order of New Zealand. This is New Zealand's highest honour and entitles members of use the post-nominal letters ONZ.
In 1992 she established a foundation to promote education through awards and provide training for young New Zealanders in the performing arts. One such recipient of her personal training is Hayley Westenra.
- "KNIGHTS AND DAMES OF THE ORDERS OF CHIVALRY". New Zealand Honours Lists. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "New Zealand Honours Lists". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Variety Artists Club of NZ Benny Award Recipients".
- "ChristChurch Cathedral Choir 2008 UK Tour". christchurchcathedralchoir.com. 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "With passion". stuff.co.nz. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Christchurch memorial music performers". dpmc.govt.nz. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Dame Malvina Major – Coming Home". dpmc.govt.nz. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Dame Malvina top act for festival". stuff.co.nz. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "The Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours List 2012". New Zealand Honours Lists. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- Official website http://www.damemalvinamajorfoundation.org/
- Facility directory information at the University of Canterbury