Meet the Ensemble

Daniel Cooper

Harpsichord & Organ – Musical Director

Daniel Cooper is a recent graduate of the University of Canterbury School of Music, graduating from a MMus in orchestral conducting in 2020.

In 2018 Daniel graduated with a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in performance organ from UC. Early in 2019 Daniel made his professional debut as assistant conductor and celeste soli player in the world premiere of Chris Gendall’s Violin Concerto with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Since then, Daniel has conducted the Secret Sinfonia, and has been called on to direct symphonies, overtures, and vocal works by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and
Rossini with professional and advanced youth ensembles. Daniel is regularly called throughout New Zealand for his work as a continuo harpsichordist including performances of Acis and Galatea (Hawkes’ Bay, Project Prima Volta 2017), Messiah (Hawkes’ Bay 2017 & 2018). Recently, Daniel Directed and Produced a ground breaking staged performance of Handel’s Messiah to high acclaim. In 2018 and 2019 Daniel was an active participant for the CSO conducting workshop with Chief Conductor Benjamin Northey. Recently, Daniel has been responsible for several New Zealand premiers of music by Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, John Cage, and La Monte Young. In early 2020 Daniel, as the only New Zealander in the history of the course, was an active participant in the Australian Conducting Academy with Johannes Fritzsch in Hobart, conducting the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. In 2020 Daniel will be studying part time in Adelaide at the Adelaide University Elder Conservatorium of Music with Dr. Luke Dollman, in a conducting programme linked closely with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. By invitation only Daniel was invited to return to Australia to work with Johannes Fritzsch and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for the follow up ‘summer course’ of the 2020 Australian Conducting Academy. 

Daniel is Director of Music and Organist of Knox Presbyterian Chruch, Musical Director of the Christchurch Liedertafel Male Voice Choir, and choir director at St Marks Presbyterian Avonhead Choir. Daniel supported by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, The Farina Thompson Charitable Trust, the Keith Laugesen Charitable Trust, and the Christchurch Liedertafel Male Voice Choir.

Rakuto Kurano

Viola & Violin – Managing Director

Rakuto Kurano is a 20-year-old violinist, violist, pianist, and composer. Originally from Japan, he moved to New Zealand at the age of eight. He is currently a third. year music student at UC studying violin & viola with Professor Mark Menzies, percussion with Dr Justin DeHart, and composition with Dr Reuben de Lautour. He is Concertmaster of the UC Christchurch Youth Orchestra and also a violinist in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. 

A passionate performer of Baroque music, he is extremely active in the Christchurch Baroque music scene, and has previously participated in a masterclass with Baroque specialist Sigiswald Kuijken. At the start of 2020, he toured the south island performing in 8 cities on Baroque viola with international Baroque specialists Szabolcs Illés and Edita Keglerová. International solo appearances include performances in Japan and Vietnam.

Lily Doak


Lily Doak is an undergraduate student at the University of Canterbury studying Music and Biochemistry. As a recorder player she is passionate about bringing the instrument into the spotlight and showing its extensive capabilities. Lily works as a freelance recorder player, clarinettist and teacher. She has enjoyed performing in New Zealand and Australia. Lily has had the opportunity to learn from and participate in masterclasses from international recorder performers.

Hijiri Yamamoto


Hijiri is in her first year at the University of Canterbury studying performance music on violin with Professor Mark Menzies. She began learning the piano at the age of 5 and the violin at the age of 7. She always had an interest in orchestral and chamber music where she was appointed the concert master of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Orchestra, Burnside High School orchestra and was a member of the NZSO NYO last year. She was a national finalist at the New Zealand Chamber Music contest with her group RAQS winning the KBB music award. She is currently a member of the Secret Sinfonia which was started by a group of university students. Hijiri has enjoyed being a member of the Seasoning Ensemble, exploring different baroque music working with the other talented musicians.

Kiel McEntee


Kiel McEntee is currently finishing off his degree this year, studying for a Bachelor of Music and hopes to one day teach, with the specific goal of teaching the lute, particularly to children, and helping to spread knowledge and love for this instrument in New Zealand, where little is known about it. Kiel has been playing lute for 3 1/2 years, initially exploring the Renaissance repertoire, where he developed a lot of the basics technique, and now with particular focus this year going on to the archlute and the baroque repertoire.

Matthew Harris

Double Bass

Matthew Harris is a multi-instrumentalist and conductor based in Christchurch. His musical career began as a member of the Christchurch Cathedral Choir at the age of eight and since then, has gone on to feature with a number of groups, including the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass, the Tallis Scholars and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.