About Us

Emeritus Professor Nicholas Tarling

Nicholas Tarling, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Auckland, was a world-renowned historian of Southeast Asia and a passionate opera lover. A regular attendee of concerts and operas in Auckland, Sydney and elsewhere, Nick shared his knowledge of musical history through talks on radio and in-person and through programme notes and international study tours. The Nicholas Tarling Charitable Trust provides support to those working in the two areas of his lifelong interest and commitment, the study of Southeast Asian history and music.

Manukau Symphony Orchestra

The Manukau Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is a community orchestra based in South Auckland, New Zealand. The orchestra presents a series of varied concerts annually to patrons from across Auckland at the Due Drop Events Centre (formerly the Vodafone Events Centre), Manukau and Te Tuhi Art Gallery, Pakuranga. 

In 2023 with a unique mix of youth, community and professional mentor musicians the orchestra presents the MSO CONCERT Series and MSO INSPIRE programmes enhancing the lives and wellbeing of its community, thus creating ‘…a very special spirit’.

The MSO CONCERTS 2023 are held at the Due Drop Events Centre DDEC, Manukau (March/ May/September/ November). These yearly concert series are the main activity of the orchestra with a high public interest.

This year sees the introduction of the MSO INSPIRE 2023 programme including school concerts, workshops and pre-concert talks. It is hoped that the various events of the Nicholas Tarling Aria Competition will form a vital part of this educational programme.

Through the orchestra’s unique Tuakana Mentorship Programme and youth scholarship initiatives, the MSO is the only symphony orchestra in South Auckland able to present a full range of genres from small ensembles to established orchestral repertoire to 21st-century works at a high standard.

The Manukau Orchestral Society highly values, and thrives on the diversity that its staff, players and audiences bring to the organisation. The MSO strives to reduce discrimination and racism, and increase social inclusion for all ages, genders, the Rainbow Communities, disabilities, national origin, new migrants and any religion.

See the MSO website www.manukausymphony.org.nz for more information.

Competition Coordinator Sam Girling

Sam Girling grew up in the UK and studied percussion and timpani at Trinity College of Music. He completed his Masters degree in musicology at Royal Holloway (University of London) and then moved to New Zealand in early 2014 to commence PhD studies at the University of Auckland, specialising in developments in percussion writing during the early nineteenth century. More recent research interests include Parisian string quartets in the aftermath of the French Revolution and chamber music arrangements of early nineteenth-century operas.

Between 2021–22 Sam completed a research fellowship at the Beethoven-Haus Archive & Museum in Bonn. He has published several book chapters and articles on his work as well as numerous edited volumes of early nineteenth-century chamber music. He has given pre-concert talks for the APO, an interview for BBC Radio 3, and presented at a number of international music conferences. He lectures on various music theory and history topics at the University of Auckland.

As a percussionist, Sam has performed with the Auckland Philharmonia, Manukau Symphony Orchestra, English National Ballet, and NZ Opera, amongst others. He also teaches drum kit at Rosmini College and percussion at Baradene College.

Since early 2023 Sam has been Production & Marketing Manager for Auckland Choral and has recently taken on the role of Competition Coordinator for the Nicholas Tarling Aria Competition.

For any questions, comments or feedback relating to the Nicholas Tarling Aria Competition please use the following contact information:

Sam Girling, Competition Coordinator