Staff Picks: 2017 highlights

Friday, 17 February 2017

The 2017 Season has been announced and the line up is one of a kind, ranging from solo artists to ensembles of 20 musicians, from early music and the classics, to more contemporary sounds.

Kick-off is fast approaching and the office is fizzing with anticipation. To satisfy your curiosity (and ours) we ask around to find out what Season highlights the staff are looking forward to most!



"Asked for my 2017 highlights, I feel like using the title of the children’s book “You’re all my favourites”. What I take most pride in about Kaleidoscopes is the array of concerts that are high quality and varied. Having said that, there is a strong early music strand running through this year with L’Arpeggiata’s Purcell-as-you’ve-never-heard-him-before, Masaaki Suzuki leading J415 (wow!) and the revered Sigiswald Kuijken and his family exploring 18th century repertoire. But I also look forward to the colour and flair of Imani Winds, to Michael Houstoun and Bella Hristova’s next Beethoven experience, to the superlative playing of Kathryn Stott with the NZSQ and to the top-rated Takacs Quartet. Yep, they’re all my favourites."

Peter Walls, Chief Executive


"It’s almost impossible to choose! As a wind player I can’t wait to hear Imani Winds for their dynamic and culturally diverse take on the wind quintet. This combined with their deep commitment to education, which will see them bring two varied programmes for our younger audience. I love to hear our emerging NZ composers too, so I look forward to the new work by Natalie Hunt. I’m also excited to see Juilliard415 – I have a personal connection; my daughter was a member of J415 whilst studying at Juilliard and I have already heard the ensemble perform in New York. I know how much energy and flair these exceptional young musicians will bring, and then just add to this, the inspiration of being on stage with Masaaki Suzuki. And then some more!"

- Catherine Gibson, Artistic Manager



"I can’t wait to hear Kathryn Stott with the NZSQ – what a gorgeous programme it’s going to be. Another highlight will be Michael Houstoun and Bella Hristova with their cycle of Beethoven’s piano and violin sonatas – what a fabulous pairing! And then Imani Winds – something quite unique that promises to end our season on a high note. So many great choices!!"

Mandy Carian, Development Manager



“I am excited to host both Juilliard415 and Imani Winds from NYC, USA especially after growing up outside of the city in New Jersey, and I am even more excited to host the Contest Finals in Wellington as this will be my first finals weekend experience!”

Virginia Close, Development Executive


"How to choose! The energy of Imani Winds is so infectious I can't wait, and I'm a pushover for kids so I'm really looking forward to having fun with their education concertsMasaaki Suzuki & J415: Divine. Beethoven Lunchtime Series: Delish! I recommend getting in quick for those tasty bites. L’Arpeggiata jazz fusion: the perfect excuse to cozy up with cocktails. Takacs Quartet: Wowser. "

- Shelley Davis, Marketing Manager


"Tough one! I’m really looking forward to Contest 2017 – even though it’s a wee bit of a ‘beast’ to organise, the vibrancy, variety, fun and wonderful stories and playing that come out of the Contest each year really do make it all worthwhile. I’m also looking forward to getting a raft of outreach programmes underway – Audio Description of the J415 concert in Auckland, 3 accessible concerts in Napier, Wellington and Christchurch; loads of university masterclasses and pre-concert events. We’ve got such a great international and regional season this year, and the artists seem really keen to engage with the communities they’re visiting… which makes my job a whole lot easier!"

- Sue Jane, Education and Outreach Coordinator


“When talking of favourites we are talking of the familiar, and I can’t help looking forward to hearing Juilliard415 performing Bach; the much-loved repertoire for string orchestra that I grew up playing. But I also look forward to the unexpected, eagerly anticipating Ensemble Paladino who will be bringing to life music written alongside that of Mozart and often consigned to his shadow. This programme will be played on the fortepiano, a precursor to the modern piano which has a delightful brightness and agility.”

- Jack Hobbs, Artistic Assistant


"I am looking forward to Michael Houstoun and Bella Hristova lunchtime concerts in Wellington; it is exciting to try this new format for us."

- Rachel Hardie, Operations Coordinator & Wellington Concert Manager


Now it's your turn. What your pick?