News & Reviews

This is the place to get the latest news on chamber music in New Zealand, read special features on artists, music and events, and find out what the critics have to say about our most recent concert tours. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

It was an electrifying and impassioned finale of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest which took place in Christchurch on the 3rd and 4th of August. From hundreds of ensembles nationwide, only 12 groups made it through to the National Finals weekend. The adjudicators were left with an incredibly tough decision, reducing the 12 fantastic groups, to just 6 for the grand final.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Ensemble Zefiro ( Alfredo Bernadini, Paolo Grazzi, Dileno Baldin, Francesco Meucci, Alberto Grazzi, Giorgio Mandolesi).
Michael Fowler Centre 10 August.
Reviewed by John Button.

In their cleverly contrived programme this ensemble of authentic wind instruments visited the Baroque period of music in the first half and the early Classical period in the second , and they did so with playing of enormous skill and panache.

This was not a long concert but, given the strain on the players, particularly the two natural horns, this was understandable.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The unapologetically entertaining Ensemble Zefiro are gearing up to bring their joyous and dazzling musical banquet to New Zealand. Two programmes, 8 venues across the country, Handel, Fasch, Telemann, Haydn and Mozart! This will be their first time in Aotearoa, and these concerts will be sure to pick up on every morsel of wit and ingenuity in the music, transporting audiences straight to the royal party for a rolicking good time!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Bright, elegant and unapologetically entertaining, dine out on an exquisite banquet of Handel, Fasch, Telemann, Haydn and Mozart

Monday, 9 July 2018

Kiwis Anna McGregor and Manu Berkeljon, make up two thirds of the The Klara Kollektiv - a Swedish based Trio of Clarinet, Violin and Piano. With their upcoming tour of NZ approaching soon in July, we caught up with all three to chat about the work they have commissioned from Anthony Ritchie, their strong connection with New Zealand, and what aspect of New Zealand they are most looking forward to sharing with Taru Kurki, the one Swedish member of the mesmerizing Trio.


Heath Quartet
Tuesday, 26 June 2018

It was a fortunate audience that experienced the Heath Quartet giving a soul-affirming demonstration of what chamber music is all about.

The programme, which took us from Bach to Britten, opened with three chorale preludes from Bach's Orgel-buchlein. Choosing the contemplative over the joyous, the players illuminated this music with lustrous, viol-like tone, clearly relishing the dissonant shifts of the composer's often searing chromaticism.

Heath Quartet
Monday, 28 May 2018

Christopher Murray (Cello) / Oliver Heath (Violin) / Sara Wolstenholme (Violin) / Gary Pomeroy (Viola)

The energetic Heath Quartet are fast earning a reputation as one of the most exciting British chamber ensembles of the moment. We've rounded up 5 fast facts ahead of their NZ tour - dive in!


Musical blood.

Oliver Heath founded the Heath Quartet in 2002. With a cello teacher for mum and two siblings playing instruments, music was always on the cards:

Geist, Contest 2011 & 2012 Overall Winners, playing in the 2012 National Finals, Auckland Town Hall
Saturday, 9 June 2018

Lauren Bennett, 1st violin of the string quartet Geist (NZCT Chamber Music Contest winners 2011 and 2012) is back in Auckland from Yale University, volunteering at the Auckland District Rounds. She was happy to share some thoughts and aspirations between her stage-hand duties.

Indian Ink
Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Looking for an injection of theatre, song, dance and humour? Indian Ink’s newest work Welcome to the Murder House is dark, deadly and a little bit sexy, and on right now until 10 June at Te Auaha.

Commissioned by the prestigious South Coast Repertory Theatre (Orange County, USA), this deliciously dark comedy with bite features Jacob Rajan’s return to the stage with a stellar cast, accompanied by David Ward and band. Performing in vaudeville style, a gang of death-row convicts is set free for one wild night to tell the tragic tale of their hero, the man who invented the electric chair – you’ll die laughing!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

New York Times critic, Alex Ross will guide audiences through a revelatory exploration into the history of 20th-century chamber music. This playlist concert will feature excerpts by 13 composers - we took a closer look to the story behind some of the pieces.

Looking for a musical taster? Listen to our playlist on Spotify.


SCHOENBERG | Pierrot Lunaire (1912)

Bianca Andrew
Monday, 30 April 2018

Born in Wellington, mezzo-soprano Bianca Andrew is currently a member of the Opernstudio with Oper Frankfurt. She's is known for her engaging and creative performances both in operatic and recital repertoire.

Bianca joins contemporary music ensemble, STROMA in The Rest is Noise: An exploration of the history of chamber music in the 20th Century, with author and animateur Alex Ross.


Can you tell us a little about the differences between being part of an opera and recital singing as in this tour?

Friday, 27 April 2018

The NZ Herald describes the viols as "fretted string instruments played with bows and pronounced "viles" — flourished from the Renaissance to the Baroque. They are extremely delicate instruments; you can't just throw them in an aircraft's hold (Phantasm's two larger instruments get their own airline seats). The frets are tied-on pieces of string and the instruments go out of tune the moment you look at them, unless there's a change in humidity, in which case they're out of tune before you can look at them."

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Behn Quartet, Chamber Music New Zealand at the Globe Theatre, Palmerston North, Friday April 20. Reviewed by Stephen Fisher.

The Behn Quartet brought together four musicians who were studying at the Royal Academy in 2015.

Since then, they have quickly created a notable presence on the international scene. The players include a New Zealander, Kate Oswin, who is on the violin with Alicia Berendse, Lydia Abell, on the viola and Ghislaine McMullin, the cello.

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo review
Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Chamber Music New Zealand has surpassed itself in engaging the Anderson and Roe Piano Duo to tour the country this month.

I am struggling for superlatives to describe what was an outstanding evening's entertainment, a smorgasbord of dazzling pianistic virtuosity, musicianship and stagecraft, all bundled up in an irresistible package by two dynamic young performers.

Not only was the playing amazing, but so were Anderson and Roe's complex arrangements – it was clear that on every musical level they connected, living and breathing the music together and relishing every second on stage.

Monday, 26 March 2018

(From left to right Laurence Dreyfus, Emilia Benjamin, Jonathan Manson, Markku Luolajan-Mikkola)

Award-winning ensemble, Phantasm, is widely recognised as the most exciting viol consort active on the world scene today. For their visit to Aotearoa, they explore rich viol repertoire, from the likes of Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Matthew Locke and Purcell.


The best viol ensemble in the world today.

Behn Quartet
Thursday, 22 March 2018

Kate Oswin (Violin) / Alicia Berendse (Violin) / Lydia Abell (Viola) / Ghislaine McMullin (Cello)

Since their formation in 2015, the Behn Quartet have been busy perfroming in the UK and around the world, holding a residence at the Wiltshire Music Centre teaching and inspiring young musicians. This powerful all female ensemble is now ready to conquer New Zealand with a 10-centre tour that will take them from Whangarei to Invercargill. 


School friends.

Friday, 16 March 2018

(From left to right: Kate Oswin, Lydia Abell, Alicia Berendse and Ghislaine McMullin). 


Christchurch born violinist Kate Oswin is coming back to NZ this April, with the Behn Quartet. The UK based quartet will tour the length of the country, from Kerikeri to Invercargill. We caught up with Kate to talk repertoire, violin and the Quartet's NZ hit list.


How did you come to start playing the violin?

Music Up Close
Monday, 12 March 2018

We have exciting news to share with you. The 2018 Season launch marked the introduction of Music Up Close and we now have a new look to follow suit!

Concert Hall Michael Fowler Prelude Events
Monday, 19 February 2018

Do you want more out of your concert experience? Do you like to get the backstory of the pieces you are about to hear? Or perhaps hearing directly from composers and musicians?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you won't want to miss our Prelude Events.  Here is all you need to know:

Regional New Zealand
Monday, 19 February 2018

Chamber Music New Zealand offer Subscription Seasons in 10 centres around the country, but we don't stop there...

Through our collaboration with a huge network of other presenters around the country, many of them volunteer music societies, we bring New Zealand musicians to about 20 other centres the length of Aotearoa. This is our Regional Series.

Scroll through this snapshot of the first half of the 2018 Regional line-up:


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Scroll through these quickfire facts and get up to speed with this energetic duo. From burning pianos and throwing (accidental) elbows at each other; to performing Mozart and Daft Punk.


18 years and going strong.

Anderson & Roe met in 2000 as freshmen at The Juilliard School, after being allocated rooms on the same floor of the dormitory. After an “immediate and organic chemistry at the piano”, they formed their musical partnership and have since toured together around the globe.


Walking (or playing!) on dangerous ground.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Have you left your Christmas shopping to the last minute? Not sure what to buy for the friend that has it all? The good news is you can fix that right now - pick up a subscription or a Flexivoucher for any of our 2018 Season Concerts.  Here are some picks to help you choose.


For the friend in the know

We all have that friend who knows everything going on in town, and is always ahead of the crowd.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The first Wednesday of each month we take over the upstairs level of the The Third Eye, Tuatara's Temple of Taste to present "Classical Sessions". 

Established musicians and emerging artists get together for a one-hour jam amongst friends. Forget the big concert halls, nice dresses and concert etiquette - it’s a time to experiment, relax, and remember what chamber music is really about.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Earlier in the year we teamed up with our friends at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music for a very special In the Loop competition. We offered  two of our subscribers the chance to win an exclusive weekend package in Townsville. The  lucky winners, Christine and John  from Auckland, jumped at the opportunity of a musical winter escape in sunny Queensland. 

We talked to Christine, to find out how the trip went:

Monday, 6 November 2017

Under the direction of Laurence Dreyfus, the Phantasm Consort is bringing sounds of the Elizabethan and Jacobean age to Aotearoa. For their NZ tour, Phantasm will explore the rich viol repertoire, featuring music by William Byrd, Matthew Locke, Orlando GibbonsHenry Purcell and Bach

Not sure what to expect? Here's a a quick overview to get you up to speed.


Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Monday, 6 November 2017

The 2018 Season kicks off in March with Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. After meeting at The Juilliard School while studying, the two never stopped performing together. 

Known for their adrenalized performances, original compositions, and notorious music videos, Anderson and Roe are revolutionizing the piano duo experience for the 21st century. 





Thursday, 2 November 2017

Auckland-based NZTrio has had a year of transition with 5 guest violinists filling in for various programmes throughout the year. For this, the final concert in their 2017 Series, Ashley and Sarah will be joined by Kiwi violinist Manu Berkeljon, currently based in Sweden. The series will once again be performed in Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland in November. 


Christchurch: The Piano – Nov 8, 7pm

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

With the 2018 Concert Season out of the bag, it's now time to reveal our 2018 Regional Series. We asked CMNZ Artistic Assistant, Jack Hobbs, to give us the scoop on what's to come.


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

In 2017, we once again teamed up with community musician Julian Raphael to bring our IHC Accessible Concert Mini Series to centres across Aotearoa. After five years of delivering relaxed performances and workshops across the country, our mission is still the same: to make classical music accessible and inclusive for everyone.

We've rounded up some of the best moments from this year's Accessible Concerts in Hawke's Bay, Wellington and Christchurch: 

Monday, 30 October 2017

2018 will be a year long festival of music. The Season combines breath-taking quality with extraordinary range, featuring illustrious artists, beautiful programmes and enticing variety of genre and style.

We asked CMNZ staff the hard task of picking their personal highlights of the Season to come.


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Reviewed by Isaac Shatford - The Critic

Chamber Music New Zealand’s final concert for 2017 brings a delightfully eccentric programme from a Grammy-nominated ensemble, Imani Winds. Rarely is the Glenroy Auditorium filled with such a rich orchestral sound, nor with such an eclectic array of modern music.

Red Clay and Mississippi Delta, composed by the group’s flautist Valerie Coleman, is a joyous scherzo reminiscent of Coleman’s upbringing in Mississippi. Between finger snaps and charismatic bluesy solos, the vibrant personality of Imani Winds was immediately apparent.

Monday, 23 October 2017

US woodwind ensemble Imani Winds plays with great skill, great freedom and with great fun!

Review by John Button - Dominion Post

Imani Winds (Valerie Coleman, Toyin Spellman-Diaz, Mark Dover, Jeff Scott, Monica Ellis), Michael Fowler Centre September 26.

This was the last Chamber Music New Zealand concert of the year and it was an unhackneyed, refreshing affair.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Every year Wilma Smith, celebrated kiwi violinist, puts together three different groups of musical friends she thinks might create some exciting chemistry and they put together programmes full of variety and appeal, from premieres to revered masterpieces and undiscovered gems from every musical era.



How did you come to writing your own music?

Natalie Hunt, Snapshots
Thursday, 21 September 2017

(Photo taken by Natalie Hunt during her trip.)


Last year we asked New Zealand Composer Natalie Hunt, to write a new piece for the Imani Winds tour. Find out more about “Snapshots” directly from Natalie’s words and don’t miss the chance to hear it for yourself performed by the Imani Winds (touring 26 Sep - 12 Oct).



Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Reviewed by Isaac Shatford - The Critic

Tuesday 5 September, Glenroy Auditorium DUNEDIN

 Interview with Julian Raphael
Monday, 28 August 2017

Julian Raphael is a “community musician” and CMNZ facilitator for the IHC accessible concert mini-series. We met up with Julian for a chat and a cuppa, here's what we found out!


What’s your musical background?

Imani Winds
Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Monica Ellis - bassoon, Jeff Scott - french horn, Toyin Spellman-Diaz - oboe, Mark Dover - clarinet, Valerie Coleman - flute

In 1997, while still a student, flutist Valerie Coleman started her own chamber music ensemble. The idea was to gather together some of the best African-American woodwind players around. She called the group Imani Winds, which means “faith” in Swahili.

Babich Wines
Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Chamber Music New Zealand is delighted to announce Babich Wines as our new wine partner.

The Babich family have been making wine in New Zealand since 1916 and are NZ’s most experienced family owned winery. Three generations of innovation, achievement and winemaking excellence ensure that they make the best quality wine NZ has to offer.

Experience is everything. And with both Babich Wines and Chamber Music New Zealand leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of excellence, this partnership is a natural fit.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Acclaimed New Zealand pianist, Michael Houstoun, and 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner, Bella Hristova, first toured together in 2008. They bonded over a common passion for Beethoven and nine years later they’ve been reunited, touring New Zealand again from 24 August – 9 September. 


Michael Houstoun was born in Timaru. He became interested in the piano when he was a small child and began lessons at the age of 5.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

New Zealand acclaimed pianist, Michael Houstoun and 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner, Bella Hristova, are touring Aotearoa this August and September. These outstanding musicians will perform all ten of Beethoven's Piano & Violin Sonatas.

We've all heard of Beethoven before, but how well do you know this composer? Test your knowledge with these 5 fast facts.


What were you up to when you were 29? At that age, Beethoven debuted his first symphony! Performed in the Burgtheater in Vienna in April, 1800.

what is a sonata
Thursday, 10 August 2017

What is a sonata?

A sonata is a piece of music usually written for a solo instrument and piano. Most sonatas have three movements (fast-slow-fast). A movement is a self-contained piece of music within the sonata, a bit like chapters in a book. A few of Beethoven’s sonatas have four movements.

The word sonata is derived from an Italian word, sonare, that simply means ‘to sound’. The word was developed in Renaissance Italy to differentiate a piece played on an instrument from a piece that was sung by voice, which was called a cantata (meaning simply ‘to sing’).

Takacs Quartet
Friday, 28 July 2017

Without doubt one of the greatest string quartets in the world, we welcome the return of the Takács Quartet for two concerts only in Wellington and Auckland. Often referred to as “chamber music royalty”, the quartet's sound is “like a fine wine: warm, rich and light, and improving with age.” Washington Post

Bella Hristova
Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bella Hristova and Michael Houstoun will be touring through August and September performing the Beethoven Piano and Violin Sonatas. Audiences around the country will be able hear the Sonatas in a variety of formats: the complete cycle through five lunchtime recitals in Wellington, a mini-festival series in Auckland and Christchurch, and single concerts elsewhere around the country.

a player of impressive power and control.” The Washington Post


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Auckland-based NZTrio is in a year of transition with the recent departure of founding violinist, Justine Cormack. Forging ahead with the 2nd and 3rd programmes in their 2017 Series, Ashley and Sarah will be joined by guest violinists Natalie Lin and Manu Berkeljon lined up for Spiral and Soar (respectively), and will be bringing the series to Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch audiences in August and November. 




Wednesday, 26 July 2017

“revealing the familiar as unfamiliar, making the most traditional of works feel radical once more” The New York Times

Contest national Finals 2017
Monday, 24 July 2017

The NZCT Chamber Music Contest is well-known for nurturing young musicians who go on to successful musical careers. Founded in 1965, it is New Zealand’s oldest music competition, and its longest running school music event. In the very first event in 1965, there were 60 groups entered in the competition. Illustrating the growth of the contest year on year, this year there were 439 groups, involving 1675 high school students from all around the country.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Need a ride from Hamilton to Auckland?

We are organising a return bus service from Hamilton to Auckland, for the Takács Quartet's concert on Saturday 5 August. Put your feet up and enjoy the ride, no parking stress!

TICKETS: $30 return trip, plus get 10% off your concert ticket price. Discount applies to full price adult tickets and concession - All Reserves. Excludes child and student prices. 

Ticket prices for the Takacs Quartet's concert:

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Pettman/ROSL Scholarship for a New Zealand Chamber Ensemble is organised in partnership with our ROSL Branch in New Zealand and is made possible through the generous support of Barrie and Maureen Pettman. The scholarship provides young chamber ensembles from New Zealand the opportunity to gain a range of experiences in the UK including performing in venues including at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, St Martin in the Fields, St James’ Piccadilly and our own Princess Alexandra Hall at ROSL.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Sigiswald Kuijken is widely considered a leader in historical performance - over the years, Sigiswald and his family’s rich experience of baroque and classical music have inspired and influenced generations of musicians. After his first visit to Aotearoa in 1979 with his two brothers and harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt, he's now returning for string quartet performances with his wife and daughter and cellist Michel Boulanger, and special solo recitals.

Monday, 26 June 2017

We spent our Queen's Birthday Weekend in Nelson, surrounded by good music, good people and even better vibes. Multi-day residencies, like this one, always have a particular kind of atmosphere - the idea of a group of people flying from all over the country, as well as Australia and UK (yes you've read that right!), to make music together is always magical. Add Masaaki Suzuki's musicianship and Bach's timeless power and beauty to this, and you have a winning combo.