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: the challenge often as rewarding as the music.
Originally from Perth in Western Australia but now based in Brisbane on Australia’s east coast, Debra’s career has taken her from Hungary and through western Europe to north America. She attended Indiana University in the United States where she obtained a Master of Music Education degree and a Doctorate of Music degree in Choral Conducting.
Debra also directed the Indiana University Children’s and Youth Choir, was assistant director to maestro, Paul Hillier with the Pro Arte Singers, and Director of the International Vocal Ensemble at Indiana University for two years. From 2001, Debra conducted the Northwest Girlchoir in Seattle, a 400-voice organisation of young women who performed frequently with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. She maintains an active career in choral conducting, music education and as a clinician and scholar.
Invitations to present at conferences throughout Australia and internationally have included the National Conference of the American Choral Director’s Association in New York in 2003: New Zealand Choral Federation (NZCF) Conducting Summer School in 2009; Guest conductor at ACCET 2010, 2016; Adjudicator at the NZCF The Big Sing 2009, 2012, 2016; and repeated appearances at the Australian National Choral Association (ANCA) Choralfest since returning to Australia.
In Brisbane Debra has conducted the Queensland Young Conservatorium Chamber Choir. In 2005 she was appointed Musical Director of Brisbane Concert Choir, in 2006 founded Vox Pacifica Chamber Choir and in 2009 founded Fusion, a semi-professional adult a capella ensemble.
Her most recent vocal ensemble is Vintage Voices, involving a program for elders to engage with community through singing, and she is continually in search of opportunities to collaborate with the wider music arts community. In recent years, Debra has led Brisbane Concert Choir on successful tours of the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Spain, France and eastern Canada, performing in venues such as the Notre Dame in Paris, the 900 year old Catedral Primada in Toledo, St Mark's Basilica in Venice, the Gaudi Basilica La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.
In her academic pursuits, Debra has lectured at the Queensland Conservatorium, the University of Queensland School of Music and the Australian Catholic University. She has been a contributing reviewer to the International Federation for Choral Music’s International Choral Bulletin, is currently 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.
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