Julian Bliss & NZ Trio - Media Release

Thursday, 14 July 2016

At just 27 years old British virtuoso Julian Bliss is widely recognised as one of the world’s finest clarinettists. He heads to New Zealand on his first ever nationwide tour to perform with NZTrio in 10 centres from Auckland to Invercargill.

The Chamber Music New Zealand tour begins in Hamilton on Friday 22 July before heading to Hawke’s Bay, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and Auckland.

Julian began playing clarinet as a four year old and excels as a concert soloist, chamber musician and jazz artist.  He is also passionate about music education and regularly lectures in the United States and is the Patron of the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians. His influence on the next generation of young musicians is also demonstrated through his work with musical instrument manufacturers Conn-Selmer which led to the design and launch of the Leblanc Bliss range of affordable clarinets and over 30,000 Bliss instruments have been sold in the past seven years.

And Julian will also have an influence on young New Zealand musicians – during the tour he conducts a masterclass in Wellington and Julian and NZTrio are the adjudicators for the New Zealand Community Trust National Chamber Music Finals which take place in Auckland on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 August.

Chamber Music New Zealand has brought Julian Bliss together with NZTrio to perform two different programmes on the tour – pairing Julian’s versatility and virtuosity with NZTrio’s adventurous style.

At the heart of all concerts is 20th century masterpiece, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. This year marks the 75th anniversary since this emotional work premiered in Nazi prisoner of war camp Stalag VIII-A Camp.

Messiaen wrote the quartet while interned as a prisoner of war, writing for the players and instruments available – clarinet, piano, violin and cello and the work has been described as touching the farthest edges of human experience. It premiered in January 1941 for an audience of fellow prisoners and prison guards with Messiaen himself playing a poorly maintained upright piano in freezing conditions.

“It’s hard not to have an image of the first performance in mind when you approach the score for the quartet,” says NZTrio pianist Sarah Watkins.

“However what strikes me each time I sit at the piano is the incredible colour and sonority Messiaen has created – a somewhat mystical world of birdsong, deep spirituality and faith, all wrapped in a timeless luminous haze”.

Also being performed in all centres is a newly commissioned work from New Zealand composer Ross Harris. There may be light has been written specifically for Julian Bliss and NZTrio to complement Messiaen’s quartet.

Sarah says Ross’ work is “very spacious and full of subtle gestures often within a very delicate dynamic range with a sense of fragility. Ross himself says it follows a more tentative line raising questions for which there may or may not be answers.

“It’s a wonderful invitation for our audiences to conjure their own imaginings for what they hear.”

Brahms’ Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor opens the programme for audiences In Hamilton, Hawke’s Bay, New Plymouth, Wellington and Invercargill; while in Auckland, Palmerston North, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin, the programme opens with Debussy’s Première rhapsodie (for clarinet and piano) and Milhaud’s suite for violin, clarinet and piano.

The Julian Bliss and NZTrio tour also launches the CMNZ Prelude Series with a performance by emerging young professional musicians, The Tūī Quartet, in Dunedin and interviews with New Zealand composer Ross Harris in Wellington and Hamilton - a prelude to the premiere of his new work commissioned for the tour.

Pre-concert talks will also take place in Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Auckland.

The CMNZ Prelude Series will encompass artist interviews, panel discussions, interactive Q&A sessions, performances and other extra events offered to enrich and enhance the concert experience. These events will be held prior to concerts in CMNZ Kaleidoscopes Series centres where possible and are free.

NZTrio and Julian Bliss perform in 10 centres from Auckland to Invercargill from 22 July to 7 August. For details and booking information visit www.chambermusic.co.nz/julianbliss




For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Sally Woodfield | Publicist – Chamber Music New Zealand
M: 021 868 020 | E: sally@chambermusic.co.nz

High res images are available for download here
Hear Julian Bliss performing an encore of Vittorio Monti's Czardas


Performed in Hamilton, Hawke’s Bay, New Plymouth, Wellington, Invercargill
Brahms | Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in A minor Op. 114
Ross Harris | There may be light (CMNZ commission)
Messiaen | Quartet for the End of Time
Performed in Auckland, Palmerston North, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin
Debussy | Première rhapsodie
Milhaud | Suite for violin, clarinet and piano
Ross Harris | There may be light (CMNZ commission)
Messiaen | Quartet for the End of Time


HAMILTON: Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts | Friday 22 July 7:30pm | CMNZ Prelude Series: Interview with composer Ross Harris 6.45pm | Book tickets at Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts (07) 858 5105 www.waikato.ac.nz/academy | Programme 1 
HAWKE’S BAY: MTG Century Theatre | Saturday 23 July 8:00pm | CMNZ Prelude Series: Talk 7.00pm | Book tickets at Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) www.ticketek.co.nz | Programme 1
NEW PLYMOUTH: Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace | Monday 25 July 7:30pm | Book tickets at Ticketmaster 0800 111 999 www.ticketmaster.co.nz | Programme 1
PALMERSTON NORTH: Regent on Broadway | Tuesday 26 July 7:30pm | CMNZ Prelude Series: Talk 6.45pm | Book tickets at Ticketdirect 0800 224 224 www.ticketdirect.co.nz | Programme 2
WELLINGTON: Michael Fowler Centre | Thursday 28 July 7:30pm | CMNZ Prelude Series: Interview with composer Ross Harris 6.30pm | Book tickets at Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) www.ticketek.co.nz | Programme 1