Diedre Irons is one of New Zealand’s most distinguished performing musicians. Born in Winnipeg, Canada, she made her debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the age of 12 playing the Schumann Piano concerto. She graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and was subsequently invited by her teacher, Rudolf Serkin, to join the faculty of that prestigious conservatory where she taught for the next seven years. During those years she toured Canada and the United States as a soloist and as a chamber music player.
Since moving to New Zealand in 1977 she has performed regularly with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia and the Christchurch Symphony, toured many times under the auspices of Chamber Music New Zealand, and recorded extensively for Radio New Zealand. With the Christchurch Symphony and conductor Marc Taddei she has recorded the complete Beethoven Piano Concerti on the Trust label.
She continues to travel internationally having to date presented concerts in 25 countries. She was awarded an MBE in 1989 and an ONZM in 2011 for services to music and in 2007 received the degree Doctor of Music (honoris causa) from Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada.
She taught at the University of Canterbury from 1992-2003 and has recently left her position as head of classical performance at the New Zealand School of Music in order to focus fully on her own career as a concert pianist.