Director of Specialist Music Programme


Chris studied Trombone and Piano at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, from where he graduated in 1993 with an Honours Degree and a Professional Performance Diploma. Following study, he worked for several years as a freelance trombonist with orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Opera North, Halle Orchestra and the London Festival Orchestra and in session work for BBC and Granada Television. For many years Chris also worked as Senior Tutor in Brass for the Cheshire Youth Orchestra and taught Brass to students in various high schools in Manchester and Cheshire before making a permanent move into education. In 2008 Chris moved to New Zealand and is now Head of Music at Burnside High School.

Chris has presented professional development workshops for music educators at their national conference and tutored the brass sections of the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Orchestra, the Christchurch Youth Orchestra and the Christchurch Youth Jazz Orchestra. He is a member of the organising committee for the Christchurch Big Band Festival and a Trustee of the New Zealand Jazz Foundation.

Chris remains an active performing musician. He is a casual player with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, a founding member of Christchurch Symphonic Brass and a member of the Symposium Jazz Orchestra.


Michael Lawrence

B.A, B.Mus

Born in Christchurch, Michael studied piano with several teachers, including Ernest Empsom, Irene Lassen, Iola Shelley and Maurice Till. After taking his BA in English at Canterbury University, Michael taught in primary schools while finishing a B Mus degree in piano performance. Participation in various music competitions met with some success, the highlights being placed twice as runner up in the Auckland Star piano concerto contest, playing concertos by Beethoven and Cesar Franck. He has performed other concertos by Gershwin, Haydn and Chopin with local orchestras, including the Christchurch Youth Orchestra, Da Capo Orchestra  and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. On the lighter side, he has played the Warsaw Concerto on more than one occasion for the Proms Concerts. In 1985 he took over from Clifton Cook as head of music at St Andrew’s College. Michael kept up his solo playing and made regular appearances in the Arts Centre Friday lunchtime concert series in the Great Hall during this period.  He recorded as a national recording artist for Radio New Zealand at this time too, although accompanying has been his focus in recent years.  Accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists is an aspect of piano playing he enjoys, finding it both interesting and challenging. At the end of 2009, Michael resigned from his head-of-department position at St Andrew’s College after thirty years with the school. This has left him with much more time for piano playing, while still doing some teaching and group direction at three Christchurch secondary schools and serving as assistant musical director at the city’s Catholic Cathedral.”


Tomas Hurnik

Tomas Hurnik was born in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He received his masters at the academy of Music in Prague. While studying Tomas was an active performer, playing and recording as a soloist with different orchestras and as a member of chamber groups for Czech radio and concerts both in Czech and abroad (Germany, Austria, Japan and France). In 1998 he was hired as the principal cellist for the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur with which he played for four years. He then returned to Europe to study Baroque cello in Frankfurt with Rainer Zipperling. He continued to actively perform with a variety of period instrument chamber groups such as Musica Florea, Capella Regia Prague, Musica Aeterna and Solamente Naturali. He now plays as the Associate Principal Cellist for Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Tomas continues to be passionate about period instrument playing however very few such concerts take place in New Zealand. He thus began to organize and perform concerts, workshops and masterclasses of Baroque music and he founded Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand.

Carlo Ballara

Carlo Ballara trained as a violinist, at Wellington Conservatory and Victoria University, then as a postgraduate in Italy at the Accademia Chigiana, and in London at the Guildhall. In 1997 he moved to Europe. There he was a member of the Camerata of London playing as assistant concertmaster. He also free-lanced with many orchestras in London, Italy, and Switzerland. This included acting as Concertmaster and playing as soloist. Whilst in London he taught the violin at his own studio and at many prestigious institutions including: Swiss Music School, Glendower and Redcliffe Preparatory Schools. He entered some thirty students a year for ABRSM exams, and notable results include 138 and 142 for Grade 8. Carlo Ballara returned to NZ in 2012 and plays in the First Violins in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. He teaches at Medbury, Westburn and Paparoa Street schools, tutors in the Specialist Music Progamme at Burnside High, and one-to-one from his studio in Papanui. Carlo is now accepting violin students, from beginners of all ages, to postgraduate students.


Ravil Atlas

Ravil Atlas has enjoyed a distinguished and varied career in opera, musical theatre and concert for more than 25 years. He has starred as the leading tenor in more than 70 professional opera productions in six countries, accumulated more that five years of service in long-running Broadway musicals and has taught many other professional singers/actors at the highest levels. His opera credits include the leading tenor roles in Tosca, La Boheme, Il Trovatore, Pagliacci, Madama Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Traviata, Carmen and many others. Musical theatre credits include the leading role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and the principal role of Ubaldo Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera as well as numerous regional professional productions. During his performing career Ravil worked with many of the world’s most notable directors, conductors and performers including Grammy, Tony, Olivier, and Academy award winners. In addition to performing he has been active as a teacher, researcher, producer, director and writer. He created the program of vocal studies for the Theatre Artists Institute in California, an intensive training program for professional performers. Ravil founded companies the Opera Garden, Opera ala Carte, and Manhattan Voices in the U.S. providing informal opera entertainment, school programs and full operas. He was the course leader for the foundation degree (university level) programme in musical theatre at Newcastle College in the UK. Since arriving in Christchurch in late 2009, Ravil has quickly established himself as one of the preeminent voice experts in New Zealand. Affiliations as a tutor, performer, lecturer, conductor and advisor include the National Singing School in Napier, the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts (NASDA),  The University of Otago,  The University of Canterbury, The National Youth Choir, Southern Opera, The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Southern Opera, and Showbiz Christchurch. He directed and conducted the opera Hansel and Gretel for the Invercargill Arts festival. Ravil’s education includes a 5-year academic and practical Master of Arts degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from San Jose State University in California, acting training at the American Conservatory Theatre  and Academy of the Sword (stage combat) in San Francisco. He has also been a member of the world-renowned vocal ensemble Chanticleer and was the only full-time foreign guest artist in the famed chorus at Teatro alla Scala in Milan for three years. Ravil moved to New Zealand with his kiwi wife in 2009 as they awaited the arrival of their daughter Katerina.”

Amanda Atlas

New Zealand soprano Amanda Atlas (nee Winfield) graduated with a Master of Music in Performance Voice from Victoria University and made her professional debut in 1998, singing Emilia and covering Desdemona for National Opera of Wellington’s production of Verdi’s Otello, and later appearing with them as Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote. In 1999 Ms. Atlas moved to the United States to embark on an international operatic career. With New York’s Dicapo Opera she appeared in over 20 productions. Highlights include the title roles in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah and Puccini’s Tosca and Suor Angelica, Suzel in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, Musetta and Mimi in La Boheme, Rose in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Clara in the New York revival of Sondheim’s Passion, and Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. David Lasky of the Worcester Telegram wrote ‘special mention must be given to soprano Amanda Winfield, who offered a powerful, clear and magnificently dramatic performance that brought down the house’ . Ms. Atlas made her Lincoln Center debut in the world premiere of Soong’s Return to Paradise, sharing the stage with famed late tenor Jerry Hadley. In 2006 Ms Atlas moved to Europe to continue her career there. She made her European debut singing the title role in Madama Butterfly for Spanish-based European Chamber Opera. The following year she sang Amelia in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera for Northern Ireland’s prestigious Castleward Opera. Ms. Atlas recently sang Strauss’ Four Last Songs and Mahler’s Second Symphony for the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra to great acclaim. Christopher Morley of the Birmingham Post wrote ‘Amanda Winfield.. showed herself profoundly attuned to the texts and vocally capable of soaring above the dark colours of the eloquent scoring. Such was the triumph of this performance… that there was a sense that Brunnhilde’s Immolation from Wagner’s Gotterdammerung might be over the horizon’. Among the notable directors and conductors Ms. Atlas has worked with are Anton Coppola, Louis Salemno (Houston Grand Opera), Karen Keltner (San Diego Opera), Pietaari Inkinnen (NZ Symphony Orchestra), John Hoomes (Nashville Opera),Tom Hawkes (Opera Holland Park), and Michael Lloyd (English National Opera). She has now returned to New Zealand in order to raise her child here. The highlight of her 2012 season was singing the role of Gerhilde and the cover of Sieglinde in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s recent acclaimed national tour of Wagner’s Die Walkure.


John Robinson

John studied clarinet at Victoria University, Wellington and a number of scholarships and competition successes enabled him to continue his studies in London with John McCaw, at the time Principal Clarinet in the Philharmonia.  After graduating from Goldsmiths College, John held the post of Sub-Principal Clarinet in the Orchestra of Opera North, Leeds, for twenty years.  During that time John taught clarinet at Huddersfield University and was involved in numerous education projects through Opera North.  John returned to New Zealand with his family in 2011 and is currently playing with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, teaching the clarinet and also running a successful woodwind repair and piano tuning business.  In his spare time, John is a keen laser sailor, cyclist, and gardener.


Thomas Eves

Thomas Eves is from Christchurch and has been playing trumpet since the age of 6. He is currently the Principal Trumpet of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and has held Acting Associate Principal Trumpet contracts with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2013 and 2014. He has also trialled for the position of Principal Trumpet with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Thomas is a graduate of the University of Canterbury (BMus Hons) and the Royal College of Music London (MPerf Distinction). He has played under esteemed conductors such as Lorin Maazel and Bernard Haitink and performed solo recitals in London at Cadogan Hall and in The Elgar Room at The Royal Albert Hall. He was also runner up in the 2012 Gisborne International Music Competition. Thomas is an active teacher around Christchurch, teaching at the University of Canterbury, Burnside High School, Christchurch School of Music, as well as privately.

Karl Margevka

Karl Margevka was born and raised in Ukraine. He started to learn the Trombone at age of 12. Karl graduated from Kiev Glier’s State College of Music and Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatoire. In 1983 Karl was appointed as a Principal Trombone with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and played there until his departure to New Zealand in 1995. With NSOU he was touring extensively as well as making recordings for labels such as Naxos and Marco Polo. In 1995 Karl joined the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trombone.


Cain Hood

Cain Hood is a performer, composer and engineer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. He received his musical training at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology Music Arts School and the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand.  While at CPIT Musical Arts School,  Cain studied Jazz Performance, Theory and Composition, and discovered a passion for Jazz Combo Performance. This has led to Cain directing the SMP Jazz programme at Burnside High School where he works full time as Assistant Head of Music. Since 2004 Cain has been involved in the Christchurch music community, performing, organising or working behind the scenes at countless events in a wide range of genres and styles. The foundation of knowledge gathered from this has been fundamental in the creation of a programme that is focused on developing a well-rounded student who is able to learn, evolve and grow throughout their musical path.