New Chair in Opera to revitalise Music at Waikato

24 June 2021

Hamilton philanthropists Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher have funded a Chair in Opera position.

A new, philanthropically-funded position at the University of Waikato is set to help revitalise music offerings in the Waikato region.

The Dame Malvina Major Chair in Opera will encourage, support, and enable the careers of singers at the University of Waikato. It is named after the University’s former Senior Fellow in Music and internationally-renowned opera singer Dame Malvina Major.

The Chair in Opera has been generously funded by Hamilton philanthropists Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher to reinforce the University’s efforts to advance the Music programme, and to honour the long career and contributions of Dame Malvina Major.

Professor Patrick Leman, Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences, says the Chair in Opera role boosts the work of the University’s Music programme and will aid aspiring singers studying at the University.

“The University already boasts exceptional teaching and performance spaces, including the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, and our staff are highly qualified professionals active nationally and internationally.

“The new Chair in Opera will renew and further energise voice teaching at the University of Waikato, offering our students the highest quality teaching experience to enable them to achieve excellence. We are hugely grateful for the support of Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher and their very generous naming of the chair in Dame Malvina’s name.”

Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher’s support of the Chair in Opera sits alongside a wider legacy of support for the University from the Gallagher family and business. The Gallagher family has contributed significantly in time and money to the development of the Don Llewellyn Sports Pavilion, the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme, The Great Race, and the Academy of Performing Arts, which is named in their honour.  Sir William also funds an annual master’s scholarship in cybersecurity through Gallagher Group.

The Gallaghers say they are pleased to support the Chair in Opera, and to be able to name it for Dame Malvina Major.

“Like Dame Malvina, we have enjoyed a close relationship with the University for many years and we are together very passionate about the arts in our community,” say Sir William and Lady Judi. “It is our hope that this role, and its successful candidate, will further enhance the momentum of the University’s music and singing programme and in turn create the opportunities needed for burgeoning singers to realise their ambitions.”

The role is currently being advertised on the University’s website and is expected to attract interest from around the world.

Philanthropically funded Chair roles

Philanthropically-funded chair roles are designed to enable staff the time and space to strategically advance their relevant area, in this case the Music programme, and the University of Waikato, while also encouraging and supporting students.

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