Debra Shearer-Dirié

Director of Music

 

Dr Debra Shearer-Dirié enjoys the adventure and global embrace of a career dedicated to music. She thrives on the creative discovery that flows from collaborative musical opportunities, whether working with combinations of choirs or with other composers, dancers, visual artists and cultural groups.

Originally from Perth in Western Australia, Debra’s career has taken her from Hungary and through western Europe to north America, where she obtained a Master of Music Education degree and a Doctorate of Music degree in Choral Conducting at Indiana University.

In Indianapolis, Debra directed the Indiana University Childrens and Youth Choir, was assistant director to maestro Paul Hillier with the Pro Arte Singers, and for two years directed the International Vocal Ensemble at Indiana University. She conducted the Northwest Girlchoir in Seattle, a 400-voice organisation of young women who performed frequently with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Now based in Brisbane, Debra maintains an active career in choral conducting, music education and working as a clinician and scholar.

Invitations to present at conferences throughout Australia and internationally have included the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in New York and the New Zealand Choral Federation’s Conducting Summer School. She was also guest conductor at Aged Care Consultants Education and Training, The Big Sing, and made repeated appearances at the Australian National Choral Association’s Choralfest.

In Brisbane, Debra has conducted the Queensland Young Conservatorium Chamber Choir, founded Vox Pacifica Chamber Choir and most recently the vocal ensemble Vintage Voices, a choir for elders to engage with the community through singing. In 2009 she founded Fusion a semi-professional adult a cappella ensemble which has been invited to perform internationally.

Her relationship with ChoirWorks began in 2005 when it was Brisbane Concert Choir and based where it was founded in 1996 at St Andrew’s Uniting Church on the corner of Ann and Creeks Streets. Under Debra’s direction the choir has journeyed internationally several times, performing in prestigious venues across Europe and eastern Canada.

In Brisbane performances with major institutions and organisations have included a collaboration with The University of Queensland’s Music School at the Concert Hall, the opening of Brisbane Writers Festival at GOMA, and a live performance at the Brisbane screening of National Geographic’s Symphony For Our World, billed by owner Disney Corporation as a ‘celebration of our planet’.

The choir’s adventurous musical journeys range from a concert at a winery in Stanthorpe in regional Queensland to performances in venues such as the 900 year old Catedral Primada in Toledo, St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the Gaudi Basílica de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris barely three years before it was ravaged by fire.

Debra has lectured at the Queensland Conservatorium, The University of Queensland and Australian Catholic University. She served as reviewer to the International Federation of Choral Music’s International Choral Bulletin, as president of the Australian National Choral Association, and remains in demand as an adjudicator, clinician and conductor for festivals and eisteddfods throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific.