Music Faculty

Calder Prescott ​​​​MNZM

Calder was born and bred in Dunedin, New Zealand. After High School he played Piano in local Dance Bands starting in 1949. In the early 50’s he played Piano for local Radio Bands and in 1956 he auditioned with his own 15-piece Big Band and was accepted for broadcasting. He wrote the Arrangements and played Piano. He has led, continuously, Big Bands since then, culminating in his 18-piece Big Band – the Dunedin City Jazz Orchestra (DCJO) which he formed in 1988 and is still the Musical Director. He has led and performed with them in Australia, West Coast USA, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, England and of course NZ.

Calder, with his wife Lesley, ran a very successful week long South Island Residential Jazz School in Alexandra, Central Otago from 1982 to 1996

He has also led and directed the award-winning Logan Park High School Jazz Band from 1983 till he retired in 2015 here in Dunedin. He is also a respected teacher of Jazz Piano and Improvisation. As well, he is Leader, Arranger and Pianist for the Calder Prescott Octet. He also led the Calder Prescott Jazz Quartet at a local Pub for 17 years.

He was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2001 for Services to Music (Jazz).

Prof. Rob McWilliams

Prof. Rob McWilliams was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Ph. D. in Music/Music Education (conducting focus) from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s degree in Instrumental Conducting from Florida State University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Melbourne. Dr. McWilliams was a United States resident from 1991 to 2014 and served as Professor of Music and Director of Bands and Instrumental Music Education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh from 1996 where he also served as Head of Music from 2011 to 2014. Dr. McWilliams has conducted and presented at major music conferences in Japan, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Europe, China, all states of Australia, and has been published in the Journal of Band Research, Teaching Music Through Performance, and is a composer/arranger with Alfred’s Music.  

Neill Pickard

Neill Pickard Q.S.M. B.A. Hons (French) (Cant) B.A. (Education) (Cant)  Dip. Ed. (Massey & Cant) Dip. Tchg. (ChCh Teachers’ College)

C.P.I.T. (now ARA), Lecturer Emeritus, retired in 2003 as Head of Jazz within the Faculty of Humanities at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.  Tutor at the C.P.I.T. since 1979 having taught in the following areas:  French, English as a Second Language, Japanese, Communication Studies, Office Systems, Hospitality, Maori Studies, Broadcasting Studies, Staff Education, and the South Island Tutor Training Unit for South Island Polytechnics. 

Studied Japanese and chaperoned Christchurch Polytechnic Japanese language students to a New Zealand fair in Nagano, Japan in August of 1987 and travelled to France in 1989 to study for Certificates in Business French from the French Chamber of Commerce in Paris and in Vichy.

In charge of the Executant Performance portfolio since arriving at the Polytechnic in 1979 and instrumental in setting up the Jazz Diploma programme (which began in 1991 developing into a Bachelor of Music Arts degree at CPIT), the Circo-Arts programme, which began in 1995, the Certificate in Contemporary Music, which began in July, 1998 and the Diploma in Commercial Music which began in 2003 and is now an integral part of the Bachelor of Musical Arts degree.

Pursued a career as a French/English teacher and continued with amateur work as a guitarist/ vocalist with a variety of dance bands and as an acoustic bassist/vocalist with a variety of folk groups, having been a founder member of the University of Canterbury Folk Club. Currently playing 4 & 5 string banjo, guitar and bass and a member of a Dixieland group called ‘The River City Jazzmen’ as vocalist, playing plectrum banjo and guitar.

In 2008 awarded a Civic Award medal and Certificate for service to Education and Jazz in Christchurch as well the Queen’s Service Medal for service to Education and the Jazz community.

Up to 2012, taught night class Jazz History and Appreciation courses, Stages I and II Jazz History in the Bachelor of Musical Arts at the C.P.I.T., in addition to the stage 1 Jazz History course ‘Rags to Swing’ (MUSI 109/AMST 112) at the University of Canterbury. From 2004  has taught junior French, ESOL & Music Option classes at Burnside High School. Retired in 2018.

Peter Adams

Peter Adams is an Associate Professor of Music at Otago University and a well-known conductor, composer and clarinettist. Peter has built up a fine reputation as a musical leader in the community working with many local musical organisations (including City Choir Dunedin, Opera Otago, St Kilda Brass, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and Dunedin Youth Orchestra) and has also guest conducted all around New Zealand and Australia with orchestras, brass bands and choirs.

Peter is something of a specialist in conducting young people: he has been musical director of the National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand, the Waitaki Summer Music School, the Auckland Philharmonia Summer School, the South Island Youth Orchestra, and the NZ Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra.

Tom Rainey