Newcastle University Choir

Christopher Allan
Artistic Director
Newcastle University Choir

Chris is a senior lecturer in Voice at the University of Newcastle, NSW. He is well known as a baritone soloist with many choral institutions such as Sydney Philharmonia Choir, Newcastle University Choir, Willoughby Choir and Coro Innominata. Chris appeared as guest artist with The Song Company for many years in concert and radio broadcast and appeared with Opera Australia as understudy and chorus member. He also toured extensively for Musica Viva with the Song Company and the early music ensemble Sounds Baroque.

Chris held the post of Artistic and Musical Director of the Newcastle University Choir from 1999-2004 and was reappointed to the position of Musical Director from 2011. With the University Choir he directed performances of major works of the choral literature including the JS Bach Magnificat, John Rutter’s Magnificat, Vittoria’s Requiem and Haydn’s Mass in Time of War. Additionally, he directed concerts of Jazz, popular and operatic works with guest artists Terence Koo, Ghillian Sullivan and Francine Bell. From 2004 – 2009 he directed the University of Newcastle Conservatorium Choir in performances of mixed genres of music as well as works such as settings of the Gloria by Vivaldi and Poulenc and Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb.

Chris enjoys ensemble singing and performs regularly with the Sydney based professional chorus Cantillation on recording, in broadcast and in live performance. In 2011 he performed with Pinchgut Opera in the first Australian performance of Haydn’s 1791 opera L’Anima del Filosofo (or Orpheus e Euridice) which has also been recorded for commercial release. He also enjoys singing with friends Jennifer Barnes, Rosemary Saunders and Paul Bevan who appear together as Waxing Lyrical for projects in the Newcastle, the Hunter Valley and beyond.

He has recently successfully completed his doctoral thesis looking at the use of modal voice as a catalyst in encouraging a classical vocal sound in developing singers. He has presented papers on aspects of vocal technique and singing teaching at international and local conferences and enjoys facilitating workshop sessions with choral groups focusing on all aspects of performance. He has presented workshops for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Hastings Choristers, Newcastle University Choir, Pleasant Company (Forster) and, lately, the Seaside Singers at Corlette.

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Terence Koo
Jazz Musician
Special Guest October 2012,
December 2013 & December 2015


Award winning Australian jazz musician Terence Koo is one of the most highly sought after jazz performers in the Newcastle area. A pianist, composer, producer, and teacher, Terence lectures music at the University of Newcastle, and has shared the stage with performers such as Francine Bell, Sandip Burman, Nic Cicere, John Cleary, Su Cruickshank, Andy Firth, George Golla, Ashleigh Grace, Damien Leith, Bruce Mathiske, Wendy Matthews, Dave Pudney, and Glen Shorrock. Terence has released two feature albums, and recorded as a session musician on numerous others. With a Masters of Arts in Jazz Education, an Associate Diploma of Music, Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours, and a University Medal, Terence's music has been described as intelligent, sophisticated, elegant, passionate, exciting and spontaneous.

Visit :

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Jennifer Barnes 
Musical Director Emeritus
Swing Over the Pacific 2015

Dr Jennifer Barnes is well known to Hunter audiences for her solo performances in opera and oratorio. She was the Musical Director for the Newcastle University Choir in 2009-10, and returns in this role to conduct our Swing Over the Pacific concert in August 2015.

Jennifer Barnes began her career with oratorio. She has built an impressive repertoire in this genre, ranging from popular works such as Handel's "Messiah" and Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" to David Fanshawe's "African Sanctus". She has performed as soloist with the Sydney Philharmonia, Newcastle University Choir, Newcastle City Choir and Gosford Philharmonia. Jennifer was a finalist in the 1999 City of Melbourne Song Recital Award , winning the Best Performance of an Australian Song and equal first in the Best Musical Partnership. Opera performance includes principal roles with Opera Hunter, Opera Queensland, Sydney Metropolitan Opera, Sound Construction Company, Sydney Festival and Opera Australia. In 1995, Jennifer won a CONDA for the best performance by a professional actress for her Opera Hunter Season as Cio-Cio San in Puccini's "Madama Butterfly ". Jennifer has been awarded a PhD for her research into the operatic soprano voice. In 2008, Jennifer directed and conducted Leonard Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti" for Opera Hunter, in addition to performing the role of Cleopatra in their production of Handel's "Julius Caesar": Jennifer also leads the organising committee for the Sunday Interlude concert series at Adamstown Uniting Church and conducts a private studio.


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Peter Guy
Organ Soloist – Choral Masterpieces 2011
The Gift 2011
Christmas Rewrapped 2012

Peter Guy studied for his Bachelor of Music, majoring in pipe organ and choral conducting under Philip Matthias, at the University of Newcastle and achieved first class honours and the University Medal.

He is the youngest person to be appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, Newcastle. Previously he was Director of Music at St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Macquarie Street, Sydney, and the inaugural Director of Chapel Music at St Andrew’s College at Sydney University. During his time studying in Newcastle, Peter was Organ Scholar and Assistant Director of the St Nicholas Choir at Christ Church Cathedral.

Peter reached the national keyboard final of the Symphony Australia Young Performers Award in 2003 where he played Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Strings and Tympani in G minor with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. He has toured internationally with the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir, playing in such venues as St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame Cathedral. He has an active recital schedule both locally and interstate. He was also the Organ soloist in the performance of Saint-Saens’ Symphony No 3 in C minor (Organ Symphony) with The University of Newcastle Wind Orchestra at the Great Hall in October 2010.

above: Peter Guy at the organ accompanies the Choir
at the Great Hall 2011.

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Newcastle University Choir: 39 Proud Years

The Newcastle University Choir first began rehearsals in 1976 under the baton of Ulric Burstein. The first concert took place in May,1977, Verdi's Requiem, to an audience of 200 people. Soloists included Pearl Berridge and Lauris Elms from the Australian Opera. From these humble (but challenging) beginnings, the Choir grew rapidly to become the premier adult choir in the Hunter Region, with the assistance of some excellent conductors. When Ulric Burstein resigned in 1980, Peter Brock became the conductor, leading the Choir for 20 years until retirement in 1998. Kevin Cameron then lead the Choir until 2001 when Christopher Allan took up the role of both conductor and artistic musical director. Between 2004 and 2006 Peter Ellis, became artistic musical director. Dr Jennifer Barnes was appointed musical director in 2009, and Dr Chris Allan returned to the post in 2011.

The Choir has performed works from the 16th to the 21st Centuries. Composers have included Bach (St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, Christmas Oratorio), Verdi (Requiem), Britten (War Requiem, Ceremony of Carols), Handel (Messiah, Israel in Egypt), Haydn (Creation), Mozart (Requiem), Boyd (Coal River), Brock (Five Australian Folk Songs) and Goodall (Eternal Light), just to name a few. Repertoire has included support from orchestra, organ, brass band, piano, percussion, and unaccompanied.

Performances with other choral groups have also enhanced our musical activity. These include the Hunter Singers, the Waratah Girls Choir, Australian Signing Choir, NBN Children's Choir, "Echology" (formerly Newcastle University Chamber Choir), Conservatorium Choir, Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Waratah Brass, and the Dungeon Big Band.

Throughout 39 years, the Choir has had hundreds of people as members, all with one common love, choral music. Members come from all walks of life. Many stay with the choir for only a short time. Others have sung in every concert for more than 30 years. Membership of the Choir is open to anyone who can carry a tune and who enjoys singing with others.

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above: Newcastle University Choir at Sydney Opera House

above: Newcastle University Choir at Harold Lobb Memorial Hall Newcastle Conservatorium of Music

above: NUC at Lake Macquarie Festival of the Choirs

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above: Backstage in the Green Room
above: The red scarf for me !


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