The Musical Director

An exceptionally gifted conductor, Rita Paczian has earned a growing reputation world-wide for bringing an electrifying balance of musicality, intellect, technique and passion to her performances. She is extremely versatile, and her musical interests and professional experience embrace a repertoire spanning five centuries.

A native of Germany, she graduated Master of Music (with distinction) in conducting, organ, harpsichord and singing at Dortmund and Lübeck universities, her tutors including Martin Haselböck and Helmuth Rilling. Recognized in Germany as one of the outstanding young conductors of her generation, in 1989 she was one of four conductors selected to participate in a two-week master class with Leonard Bernstein at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. She was then invited for further study with leading international conductors Odaline Martinez, Eric Ericson, Klaus-Peter Seibel, Richard Schumacher and Joshard Daus.

From 1989 to 1991 she specialised in historically informed Baroque and Classical interpretation, working particularly with the Viennese Baroque orchestra, Wiener Akademie, in operas, symphonies and oratorios of Mozart and Handel. Between 1991 and 1993 Rita was Musical Director at the principal church in Hamburg, St. Jacob’s (a post formerly held by Telemann), and of the Verdi Orchestra, Hamburg. She was Associate Principal Conductor on the world concert tours of the British National Youth Choir in 1996 and 1999, performing in America, Asia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Amongst others, Rita has conducted the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Lübeck and Schwerin and the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen (Germany), the Tallinn (Estonia) and Riga (Latvia) Symphony Orchestras, and the National Symphony and the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa. In New Zealand she has directed the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Wellington and Dunedin Sinfonias, and in Australia, the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Queensland, the Suncoast Sinfonia and Rita is known for the high standard of her performances and a number of her oratorio concerts, involving some of Australasia’s finest singers (notably Simon O’Neill, Dame Malvina Major, Henry Choo, Patricia Wright, David Hamilton, Shaun Dixon, Barry Mora and Rodney McCann), have been broadcast by Concert FM NZ.

Since 1994 Rita has been Musical Director of Bach Musica NZ (, NZ’s leading combined orchestral and choral ensemble, and until 2004 was also Musical Director of the Opus Chamber Orchestra. As well as conducting orchestras and choirs, Rita is sought after for her highly acclaimed International Conducting and Singing workshops. In 2019, Rita was a finalist in the Arts and Culture category of the annual Women of Influence Awards.

Rita now resides in Tairua, Coromandel, New Zealand.