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Rod Skipp



Rod Skipp is a cellist, conductor, composer, arranger and educator. Born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, Rod studied cello and composition at the University of Auckland. He then furthered his studies overseas at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he graduated with distinction from the Master of Music programme. He currently works as Programme Director of Sistema Aotearoa, returning to New Zealand in 2019 from the United Kingdom where he spent 10 years as Artistic Director of the award-winning In Harmony Liverpool programme led by Liverpool Philharmonic.

As a composer, Rod has written and arranged many works for In Harmony Liverpool and Sistema Aotearoa, from solo pieces, chamber works and full orchestral pieces for young learners side-by-side with professional musicians. Rod has a particular interest in combining instruments and live electronics; commissions include iPhonium for euphonium and electronics and mētara for brass quartet and electronics, which were both received with critical acclaim. He also has written flux for cello and electronics and won first prize in the electro-acoustic category at the University of Auckland composition prize concert with concret.pls. He also enjoys working alongside his brother Norm as _scape, exploring the interaction of live and pre-composed electronics with instrumental performance.

During his time in Liverpool, Rod conducted the Everton Children’s Orchestra, Resonate Youth Philharmonic, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Academy Orchestra and the University of Liverpool Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted side-by-side performances with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. He has worked on many youth projects both in the UK and NZ, including Tekau! – Sistema Aotearoa’s 10th birthday for Auckland Arts Festival, and previous In Harmony Liverpool performances in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and 10th Birthday celebrations featuring Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Pacho Flores at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

As a professional cellist, Rod freelanced with orchestras around the UK, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He has made recordings with the Strelitzia and Strata String Quartets, and for albums by Bill Ryder-Jones and Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band. He has performed on radio and television, including BBC Radio 3, Songs of Praise, Come Dine with Me and The X Factor.

Rod is passionate about the transformative power of music-making, and creating musical and social development opportunities that support tamariki, their whānau and wider communities to thrive.