The New Zealand String Quartet is New Zealand’s foremost chamber music ensemble. They play throughout the country and have a special project to bring the music of the masters to schools. They tour frequently to North America where they perform in concert halls and festivals and their touring itinerary now includes Korea and Mexico. In 2007 they 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.
Zephyr is a wind quintet comprising Ed Allen french horn, Bridget Douglas flute, Robert Orr oboe, Phil Green clarinet and Robert Weeks bassoon. “Isolating the lovely part of the orchestra” is how Ed Allen describes it, a combination that has inspired many composers to show their lighter as well as their profound side. The result is a splendid repertoire of music that explores the unique character of each instrument as well as their lovely blend. These harmonies and textures are expanded from the piano by Diedre Irons, one of this country’s most revered pianists.
The NZ Chamber Soloists group was formed in 2006 by national and international musicians who all have connections to the University of Waikato. They perform in various combinations to create a range of programmes for different instrumental and vocal ensembles. At the heart of the group are pianist Katherine Austin, violinist Lara Hall and cellist James Tennant who are all recognised as leading chamber musicians and soloists. During their 2009 tour to Europe and America they were hailed by London/New York musician David Dolan as “in the top flight of world-class piano trios”. We welcome this dynamic trio to play for us between their engagements in Italy, France, the UK, the USA and Colombia.
Amalia Hall and John-Paul Muir appear as part of their nationwide tour for Chamber Music New Zealand. These young New Zealand graduates of Auckland University have made impressive starts to their careers. Amalia won the National Concerto Competition in 2006 and John-Paul in 2009. In 2007 they were members of a trio that was awarded the Royal Over-Seas League International Chamber Music Scholarship. That prize enabled them to travel to the UK in 2008 for master classes and further study with leading musicians. They have played in a range of chamber music ensembles and with orchestras, both in NZ and overseas.
Hot Young Strings is a string ensemble of Wellington’s finest young musicians. It began life in 2005 from a wish to have an exciting ensemble of the best emerging young professionals. In the words of Director Donald Armstrong it “combines the excitement of youth with a totally professional standard“. Donald was Music Director of the NZ Chamber Orchestra for 15 years and is associate concertmaster of the NZSO. His love of music for string orchestra and his wealth of experience find a perfect match with “Hot Young Strings”. He promises a stunning concert that spans three centuries of the greatest string music in a programme with some familiar works and a few delightful surprises.
Latitude 37. The members of this new Australian baroque trio are all recent top graduates of the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, Holland. Julia Fredersdorff (baroque violin), Donald Nicolson (harpsichord) and Laura Vaughan (viola da gamba) have a passion for the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. This trio has “technique to burn, fire in their bellies and a belief in music performance as the living art it’s meant to be”. In their view, historically informed performance means breaking the rules to create exciting music, just as those baroque composers did!
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 Tudor Consort has been at the forefront of early choral performance in New Zealand for over 20 years and comprises the finest choral singers of the Wellington region. In 2003 it gained silver and bronze awards at the 35th International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain, against some of the world’s best choirs. Successive directors have brought a deep knowledge of both early music and vocal production to create “A beautifully unified group…superbly sonorous…a world-class ensemble”. The repertoire includes both sacred and secular works, always with an eye on authentic performance and vocal excellence.
Cook Strait Trio takes its name from the link between Nelson and Wellington, which were both influential places in the musical education of the members. Blythe Press (violin) was co-concert master of the NZ Youth Orchestra and is now studying at the University of Graz, Austria. Amber Rainey (piano) has been designated an “emerging young artist” at the University of Auckland where she studied with Rae de Lisle and Sarah Watkins. Paul van Houtte was principal cello in the NZ Youth Orchestra and is now continuing his studies in Zurich, Switzerland.
Jack Liebeck (violin) and Stephen de Pledge (piano). Described as “one of the most accomplished violinists of his generation” Jack Liebeck performs with many of the world’s orchestras. His debut disc in 2004 was greeted with great critical acclaim and named “Strad Selection” by Strad Magazine. Stephen de Pledge is a New Zealand pianist who won the National Piano Competition and went on to win all the major prizes and the Gold Medal at London’s Guildhall School of Music in 1996. He now performs around the world and returns regularly for very popular tours in his home country.