Hannah Darroch is the newly-appointed Principal Flute of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She returned to New Zealand in 2020 from Montreal, Canada, where she gained a Doctor of Music degree from McGill University and was teaching flute, chamber music, and orchestral excerpts to woodwind students at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music.
Her varied career as a flutist has included orchestral and small ensemble playing in a range of genres – recent appearances include concertos at the International Conference on Mixed Music Pedagogy and the IRCAM Forum in Montreal, a free improvisation clinic at the 2020 Jazz Education Network conference in New Orleans, and an invitation to tour for Chamber Music New Zealand in 2022 with her Montreal-based duo partner, award-winning Canadian guitarist Steve Cowan. She worked with the International Contemporary Ensemble as part of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Ensemble Evolution in 2019, and collaborated frequently with American percussionist and six-time Grammy-nominated composer John Hollenbeck during her years in Montreal. She was recently awarded a $30,000 Arts Grant from Creative NZ to commission and record four new works for flute and piano by NZ women composers with pianist Andrew Crooks, which subsequently featured in the SOUNZ Resound Project and on RNZ Concert.
After a decade freelancing in Wellington, Hannah can be heard on a number of New Zealand Symphony Orchestra recordings on Naxos, EMI, and Universal, including the 2014 soundtrack to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. She also features on the premiere recording of Frank Ticheli’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated work Songs of Love and Life recorded on Klavier Records in the United States, and on Les Oiseaux, a new album by French indie-pop band Les Passagers. Her first recording as Principal Flute of the CSO was released on Rattle Records in 2021: Anthony Ritchie’s Symphony No. 5, Childhood.
She received her Master of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA in 2012, where she was a Teaching Assistant to Christina Jennings. She was a member of their resident Graduate Woodwind Quintet, who had success at the MNTA and Fischoff National Chamber Music Competitions. Her main teachers have included Timothy Hutchins, Christina Jennings, Bridget Douglas, and Kirstin Eade; and she has also had lessons and performed in masterclasses for flutists including Leone Buyse, Carol Wincenc, Jeffrey Khaner, Claire Chase, and Marianne Gedigian.
Hannah is in-demand as a teacher, recently giving guest masterclasses in a range of locations across Canada, the United States, South America, and Australia. She was awarded a McGill Teaching Award in 2020 for her commitment to innovation and collaboration in her work on the teaching staff at the Schulich School of Music, where her undergraduate woodwind students have gone on to gain places in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, and prestigious graduate performance programmes in the United States and Europe.
Since relocating to Christchurch in 2020, Hannah has become a new performance tutor at the University of Canterbury School of Music, flute tutor at Cathedral Grammar School, and has coached at the Burnside High School Specialist Music Programme. In Montreal, she was employed as a flute teacher/woodwind section coach at Lower Canada College, Collège Marie de France, and L’École FACE (Fine Arts in Core Education) in addition to her work at McGill University. Hannah also has years of experience as a private instructor of flute in Wellington, guiding students through Trinity College examinations up to ATCL Diploma level.
Hannah has been a regular touring coach for Chamber Music New Zealand, working with high school ensembles nationwide ahead of the annual NZCT Chamber Music Contest. She has worked with the woodwind sections of countless youth and community orchestras and bands, including the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.
Hannah's real-world approach to music education is influenced by her wide experience in arts administration and digital communications, and this has contributed to other work opportunities. She was hired by McGill University in 2020 to assist professors with designing courses for online delivery due to the pandemic, and was subsequently presented with a McGill University Award for Innovation and Learning. A graduate of the Global Leaders Program, Hannah also gives regular presentations on subjects associated with arts administration and music entrepreneurship, including “Building a Start-Up Budget,” invited by Eva Heinstein of the Harvard Kennedy School, “Operational Excellence in Music Education Administration" for Tim Kraft at the University of Virginia's Business School, and “Logic Models for Socially-Motivated Music Programmes” with Stanford Thompson, CEO of Play on Philly.
Hannah Darroch has enjoyed a parallel career in arts management, holding a range of positions within New Zealand arts organisations over the past twelve years. Alongside her work in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Hannah freelances as a communications contractor, currently managing communications for the New Zealand Choral Federation and the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band in Wellington. She is also the Communications Content Lead for The Global Leaders Program, and has recently written press releases for NZ composer John Psathas among others. She is also in demand as a grant writer, primarily supporting projects that sustain and develop the careers of NZ musicians, including a recent successful $42,000 grant proposal to publish three volumes of NZ piano music in China funded by Creative NZ and the NZ Music Trust.
She was Radio New Zealand Concert’s Digital Content and Programme Producer for a number of years, and returned as a consultant tasked with redesigning RNZ Concert's publicity and partnerships strategy in 2016. She has also been Chamber Music New Zealand’s Marketing and Communications Executive, and worked in Development and Education with the NZSO.
In Montreal, Hannah was a Communications Officer at McGill University, managing communications for the Music Research department. Prior to that she was the Project Manager of a large-scale grant project in Montreal, the $2.5 million ACTOR Project involving 70 researchers from 21 different academic and private-sector institutions in five different countries.
Recognised as someone with a future vision for classical music and how to develop audiences for it, Hannah has recently carried out consultancy work for the board of Wellington Youth Orchestras, and was responsible for launching Classical Sessions in 2016 - a casual monthly chamber music series at The Third Eye brewery, featuring Wellington's top professional musicians and touring ensembles.