12th World Symposium on Choral Music

Elise Bradley

DECOLONISING CHORAL PERFORMANCE

Country: Canada

This round-table discussion will explore the role that choral performance can play in bringing about reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and colonisers’ descendants. Choral music, in many ways, has long given voice to deeply seeded colonial practices, including national anthems, religious conversion efforts, and settlers’ community celebrations. How, then, can it be used to rebuild healthy, life-giving relationships between settlers and those whose cultures have been oppressed and marginalised?

Each panelist in this presentation represents different aspects of the dialogue but all have worked their way through systemic and overt racism to build relationships of trust. Their collective work offers a model for decolonising the artform and for creating moving performances that transform performers and audiences alike.


Elise Bradley is Artistic Director of the Toronto Children’s Chorus. A passionate musician, award-winning conductor, and internationally respected adjudicator and clinician, she served for many years as the Head of Department, Music at Westlake Girls’ High School in Auckland, New Zealand, where she founded the internationally award-winning Key Cygnetures choir in 1992, and where she also received both regional and national awards for Excellence in Teaching.

For many years, she was a member and soloist with the Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir and, from 2000 to 2007, she also directed the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir, which won a number of awards in Canada and China. In May 2018, Elise was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM), a Royal Honour awarded in recognition of her services to Music in her homeland.

Under her directorship since 2007, the Toronto Children’s Chorus has been recognised for its high standard of performance and its challenging and eclectic treble repertoire that spans diverse cultures, languages, and traditions. Bradley has led the Chamber Choir on eight international tours.  

Elise Bradley has collaborated in performance with such prominent figures as Krzysztof Penderecki, Christopher Plummer, Gordon Pinsent, Charles Dutoit, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Peter Oundjian, Sir David Willcocks and Sir Andrew Davis.

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