Regional Series: The Troubadour Quartet

Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Regional Series: The Troubadour Quartet

With over 60 years of collective experience, this vibrant and energetic young string quartet was formed in 2016 as part of the Adam Chamber Music Summer School. The quartet is an eclectic group of emerging professionals, aspiring to grow their skills and enthusiasm for chamber music.


The Troubadour Quartet were featured at the Adam Chamber Music Festival earlier this year. This meant playing alongside some truly world class musicians and in some cases your former teachers. What was a music highlight for you personally?

Anna-Marie (cello): The highlight for me was definitely being able to work so closely with such amazing inspirational musicians. From the fast-paced rehearsals on the Dvorak serenade to two days of solid Cello ensemble. I was very lucky to perform alongside some of New Zealand’s and Australia’s leading musicians - a truly priceless experience.


Your concerts will offer a real breadth of musical flavours from the elegance of Haydn to the sometimes spooky, cold world of Shostakovich. Tell us in a few words about a musical moment that you look forward to in these concerts.

Rebecca (violin): It's great having such a diverse program. It's quite challenging performing works from such contrasting eras but I think it's so rewarding being able to rehearse and perform the works to a high standard to the audiences who love music. There are some moments where I feel like we are completely immersed in the music; I remember performing the second movement of Haydn's string quartet op. 77 and feeling all the tension and release in the harmony, it was a really fulfilling moment, being one with the quartet and feeling the music together.


As part of your tour you will be performing at least once outside of the concert hall (kapiti resti home) which is fitting for the roving Troubadours who do much of this as part of the Adam Festival. What do you enjoy about these impromptu performances?

Elyse (viola): What I enjoy most about our impromptu performances is the chance to give back to the community and engage them through music. Through outreach performances, we have met and connected with people of all ages and walks of life. Talking to our audience is one of the things I look forward to most after a performance, whether formal or impromptu. Connecting with our audience and community is one of the things we highly value and love to encourage within our quartet.


Arna,  after completing your studies at the NZSM you moved to Melbourne, and are now a Performance PhD Candidate at the University of Melbourne. What has been different/valuable about your time there? 

Arna (violin): Moving overseas was one of the biggest life changes I have experienced! Thankfully, I had my loving and supportive husband Alex Morton by my side – which definitely made it easier! Melbourne has more people than the entirety of New Zealand, so the sheer scale of the city and the Uni was a big shock!

My PhD focuses on Britten’s Violin Concerto. I performed the work with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2016, and my thesis component is a performance manual of the work that examines the methodology I employed in learning and performing the work. I closely examine how I developed my combined composer-performer perspective, which helped me develop an interpretation that honours the intentions of both composer and performer.


Elyse – your journey has taken you all the way from the United States to the coolest little capital in the world. What has kept you in Wellington?

Elyse (viola): My interest in New Zealand was first sparked in 2001 when my grandparents’ returned from a month long trip to New Zealand. Since moving to Wellington, I have been completely captivated all over again; however, in a different way since I am able to experience the beautiful scenery, people, and culture first-hand!

Wellington has provided me with opportunities to combine all of my passions: performance, scholarship, music education, and arts administration. Currently, I am pursuing my PhD in Music (performance and scholarship) at NZSM while also maintaining two part-time jobs in arts administration/music education (Programme Supervisor at Raroa Music Centre and Manager of the 44th International Viola Congress) and performing in the music community as a freelance musician. Being able to combine these passions in Wellington has been special for me as it makes me feel I am able to give back to the wonderful and supportive community that can be found here in Wellington and New Zealand.


Anna-Marie, after studies that have seen you learning from cellists all over the world you have come up with an innovative way to share your love and knowledge of the cello widely. Tell us about the legendary Little Cello Box.

Anna-Marie (cello): The Little Cello Box was designed and built on Waiheke Island in 2015 by my father and me. In the summer of 2015 an idea was hatched on a walk along Onetangi Beach, an idea that lead to New Zealand’s first purpose built cello studio on wheels! Now in 2017 The Little Cello Box is travelling all over Auckland and the Waikato seeing 30+ budding cellists a week – Delivering music to every child, inspiring them to discover and grow through music!


The Troubadour Quartet - Touring NZ 14-24 July. Find out more.