Meet Kimbali Harding, our Head of Performing Arts. She comes to us from Australia where she was born into a family of artistic New Zealanders, with a father who was both a drama and theatre academic and wrote for popular soap operas.
She started learning Suzuki violin at two and a half and later took up piano. She excelled at both, winning scholarships, competitions and awards, playing on the Sydney Opera House stage and touring internationally in her teenage years.
She went on to study in Paris, first learning piano under the prestigious France Clidat, known as Madame Liszt; and later reading Musicology through French at the Sorbonne. Having discovered a love of teaching as well as playing, she returned to Australia and her alma mater, MLC School, as Head of Music Curriculum. While in this role and pregnant with her first child she featured in the award winning independent feature film, Mrs Carey’s Concert, documenting the process of preparing girls to perform at Sydney Opera House.
She took a couple of years out of the classroom to become Director of Education at Musica Viva, Australia’s national chamber music non-profit, facilitating and gaining funding for professional musicians to connect with more than 400,000 children in schools. With the birth of her second child she returned to teaching at Abbotsleigh Girls’ School in Sydney. Under her direction they became New South Wales’ premier school for music for three years running, touring internationally, including trips to Europe and New Zealand.
An accomplished musician and conductor as well as educator, she believes teachers need to foster their own creativity in order to inspire it in their students. She’s passionate about bringing creative professionals into the classroom and providing students with authentic creative experiences outside the classroom. Through connecting with creatives, students are exposed to the arts as a viable way of life, integral for both work and wellbeing. She’s excited to tap the potential of our girls and provide them with the creative problem solving soft skills they need to succeed in today’s changing world.