Obituary: Honor McKellar Passes Away at 103

By Afton Wooten

Mezzo-soprano and teacher Winifred Honor McKellar passed away on Feb. 2 at the age of 103.

Born on Nov. 10, 1920, in New Zealand, McKellar began music and dance lessons at an early age and began sining when she was 16. She graduated with a BA from the University of Otago in Dunedin in 1942 and with a MusB in 1944. She went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London with baritone Roy Henderson.

McKellar was one of the original singers for Donald Munro’s New Zealand Opera Company. During the 1960s, she sang in the Glyndebourne Chorus, Opera For All, and the John Alldis Choir. In 1971 McKellar became the first full-time lecturer in singing at her alma mater. Her students included tenor Patrick Power, baritone Jonathan Lemalu, and baritone Matthew Landreth.

In the 1989 Queen’s Birthday Honours, McKellar was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for community service, and in 2012 she was made a life member of the New Zealand Association of Teachers of Singing. McKellar was the guest of honor at a Mothers’ Day performance given by Lemalu in Dunedin in 2021.