A music teacher, jazz educator, trombonist extraordinaire and big band leader, Dr Rodger Fox has played alongside some of the world’s greatest performers. In 2003 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to music, then in 2022 the higher honour of becoming a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). In 2005 Massey University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Music. Over the past four decades, the various Rodger Fox Big Band ensembles have released over three dozen full-length albums.
Music has always surrounded Rodger Fox. His parents were music teachers and his grandfather was a brass band conductor. “Growing up in our household was a unique experience”, says Fox. “At any given time I could walk past my mother giving piano lessons in one room and into the lounge where four tuba players were practising with my father.”
Fox’s big bands have recorded and/or performed works by New Zealand acts as diverse as Phil Broadhurst, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Lorde.
Fox estimates that over 200 personnel have passed through his various big bands.
Rodger Fox’s paternal grandfather, H.C.A. (Harry) Fox, was instrumental in the development of the Ratana Church brass bands in the 1930s. Based in Hawera, conducting brass bands, he tutored at Ratana Pa and lent musical instruments to the community.