Rowan Johnston


Rowan grew up in New Plymouth, New Zealand. He was HoD Music at New Plymouth Girls High School in the late 1990’s before moving to Auckland in 2002. He was Director of Music at Westlake Girls High School till 2016.

Rowan is now a freelance conductor, adjudicator and choral clinician based in Auckland. He studied performance voice and composition at Victoria University and Graduate Diploma of Teaching at Wellington College of Education. In the last few years Rowan has completed a Post Graduate Diploma of Music in Conducting at Auckland University awarded with Distinction and a Masters degree in Choral Conducting with First Class Honours studying with Dr Karen Grylls.

Rowan founded the Taranaki Youth Choir and the internationally-acclaimed Choralation Choir from Westlake Girls & Boys High Schools. Under his direction, Choralation has won the coveted Platinum Award seven times in eight years at the NZ national choral festival (the NZCF Big Sing), making Choralation the most successful choir in the history of the festival. In 2014, Choralation was awarded 1st Place in the Summa Cum Laude Music Festival in Vienna where they performed in the Musik Vehrein. During 2017 and 2018, Rowan directed the St Cuthbert’s College Auckland premier choir, Saints Alive. This choir gained a Gold award in both the 2017 and 2018 NZCF Big Sing National Finale. This year he took up the position of Director of Choirs at Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland.

He is regularly invited to be a guest conductor at the Australian National Choral School and is a Choral Advisor for the NZ Choral Federation. Rowan sings with New Zealand’s professional chamber choir, Voices NZ Chamber Choir.