29 Sep 2017

Peter Godfrey, the 'father' of NZ Choral Music has died

From Upbeat, 1:00 pm on 29 September 2017

Peter Godfrey passed away last night at the age of 95.

Peter was born in England but travelled to New Zealand in 1958 to take up the position of Lecturer in Music at Auckland University, which he held from 1958-1973,  later becoming Professor of Music until 1982 (1974-1982). During this time he directed Auckland’s Dorian Choir. He was then Director of Music at St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington (1983-89), and Director of the Orpheus Choir (1984-91). Peter was also one of the first conductors of the National Youth Choir and toured with them internationally.

Peter Godfrey conducting

Peter Godfrey conducting Photo: Jay Berryman

Peter retired to Waikanae on the Kāpiti Coast where he was Director of the Kāpiti Chamber Choir and of the 100-member Kāpiti Chorale. He was also conductor and organist at St Michael’s Church, Waikanae.

One of Peter Godfrey’s lasting legacies was to found the New Zealand Choral Federation in 1985. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to music over the years, Peter received an MBE, a CBE, the position of Professor Emeritus at Auckland University, and an Arts Foundation Icon Award.

Peter Godfrey with his Arts Foundation Icon Award

Peter Godfrey with his Arts Foundation Icon Award Photo: Supplied