Helen Webby, Principal Harpist of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra plays the Celtic harp with guitarist Davy Stuart, one of this country’s top Celtic musicians. Their repertoire draws from both traditional folk music and modern compositions. Helen plays a gut-strung, Irish lever harp made by her brother Kim Webby. Davy plays a guitar and cittern made by himself. They have performed throughout New Zealand and Australia at folk music festivals and on the concert platform. They appear for us as part of a nationwide tour for Chamber Music NZ.
The New Zealand String Quartet is New Zealand’s foremost chamber music ensemble. They have toured extensively in North America and in 2006 and 2007 added Korea and Mexico to their concert itinerary. In 2007 they presented their superb Bach-Mendelssohn “Divine Obsession” concerts and began a three-year project to record all of the Mendelssohn quartets for Naxos. As well as being celebrated performers, the members are teachers as Quartet-in-Residence on the Faculty of the NZ School of Music, Wellington. In this concert they premiere the work by the young Auckland composer, Victoria Kelly.
The Swiss Piano Trio comprises pianist Martin Lucas Staub, violinist Angela Golubeva and cellist Sebastien Singer. The trio has won first prizes in several international competitions, including the International Brahms Competition in 2005, and is now regarded as one of the finest ensembles of its generation. It has performed in over 30 countries both as a trio and in triple concertos with many leading orchestras. The individual players and the ensemble count some of the world’s finest chamber musicians among their tutors.
Bella Hristova is the winner of the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition. She was born in Bulgaria in 1985 and moved to the USA at the age of 13 to study at the University of Michigan and then, since 2003, at the Curtis Institute. In international competitions in the USA and Europe she has already gathered up an impressive series of first prizes. On her NZ tour, which is part of her Michael Hill award, she will have this country’s leading pianist, Michael Houstoun, as her experienced and profoundly skilful partner.
The Aroha String Ensemble will be augmented in this concert by contrabassist Hiroshi Ikematsu and pianist Diedre Irons. Aroha comprises Haihong Liu (violin), Zhongxian Jin, (viola) and Rowan Prior (cello). The added players means that they can perform some of the finest pieces in the repertoire. This ensemble is truly international as its members hail from Brazil (Hiroshi), China (Haihong and Zhongxian), Canada (Diedre) and England (Rowan). All have now made this country their home and are teachers, recording artists and performers in a wide range of ensembles.