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. 
 

Monday, 26 September 2011

This month has seen some impressive achievements for alumni winners of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest.

Soprano, Phoebe Sparrow whose group (Menagerie Trio) won the Statham Award for best performance of a NZ work in the 2011 Chamber Music Contest has recently been named the Forsyth Barr Esam Cushing Hawke’s Bay Young Musician of the Year at the Lindisfarne College Performing Arts Centre.

Monday, 26 September 2011

This month has seen some impressive achievements for alumni winners of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest.

Soprano, Phoebe Sparrow (pictured right above) whose group, Menagerie Trio, won the Statham Award for best performance of a NZ work in the 2011 Chamber Music Contest has recently been named the Forsyth Barr Esam Cushing Hawke’s Bay Young Musician of the Year at the Lindisfarne College Performing Arts Centre.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Russian violinist Sergey Malov (pictured) has won the prestigious Michael Hill International Violin Competition 2011. Sergey was named the winner following the final round of the contest at the Auckland Town Hall accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on Saturday night (11 June).
Tuesday, 20 September 2011

By Hannah Cone, The Marlborough Express

From lyrical conversations of Beethoven to haunting gypsy melodies from Ravel, the concert was lead by master musicians Martin Risely and Diedre Irons; transporting the very full and appreciative audience.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

by Peter Mechen

Thursday, 8 September 2011

by Richard Mays, Manawatu Guardian

17th-century baroque musos were the rock stars of their day. Many were composers as well as accomplished players and enjoyed pushing the limits of their instruments while performing. These, while bearing a resemblance to today's modern orchestra pieces, were notably different in tone, sound and way they were played.

Baroque music, at 60 beats to the minute and with its ordered rhythmic patterns and elaborate ornamentation, has been found to have positive effects on the human brain.

Monday, 5 September 2011

by Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

Concerts involving the harpsichord are rare, so there would have been plenty of interest in this concert centred on the antecedents of the later Baroque music of such composers as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi whose music is widely known and admired.

Latitude 37
Monday, 5 September 2011

by Stephen Fisher, Manawatu Standard

With their reputation for breathing life back into Baroque masterpieces, Latitude 37 presented a programme featuring German music written in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Indeed, it is to their considerable credit that Latitude 37 have so thoroughly researched their material, so the composers represented included a mixture of the little-known, such as Gottfreid Finger, to Baroque masters such as Buxtehude and JS Bach.

Monday, 29 August 2011

by Alastair Elliott, The Marlborough Express

The Meler Ensemble is a talented young group comprising Andrew Tyson (piano), Josef Spacek (violin), Amanda Verner (viola) and Aliesha Verner (cello). Still studying or furthering their careers in America and Europe, this recently formed group bring a fresh but mature approach to their music.

New Zealand Chamber Soloists
Sunday, 28 August 2011

by Hanno Fairburn, Rotorua Daily Post

A trio from the New Zealand Chamber Soloists impressed with their strong, vital playing at the Concert Chamber on Saturday night.

Violinist Lara Hall, cellist James Tennant and pianist Katherine Austin, one of our best ensembles, are renowned for their responsiveness to each other, and their projection of both the inner meaning of the music and a sheer enjoyment in it.

Friday, 26 August 2011

by Margot Hannigan, Nelson Mail

My initial apprehension that a whole evening of Italian Baroque chamber music could be somewhat repetitive was overcome by the vitality and enthusiasm of Latitude 37 and the visual as well as aural delight of their beautiful hand-crafted instruments.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

by Lindis Taylor, Middle C

‘Mêler? Bien sûr; les instruments se mêlent parfaitement, avec bonheur’.

MELER Ensemble
Saturday, 20 August 2011

by Paul Serotsky, The Northern Advocate

Critics, who are expected to find fault, would have been tearing out their hair in frustration. As a reviewer, though, I can – without endangering what little hair I have left – cheerfully praise the MELER Ensemble to the skies!

When forming the quartet in 2009, Josef Špaček (violin), Amanda Verner (viola), Aleisha Verner (cello) and Andrew Tyson (piano) derived their title from the French verb “to mix”, since they hail from three different continents.

Latitude 37
Wednesday, 17 August 2011

by John Button, The Dominion Post

Musing on this concert, I cast my memory back to the 1980s and the renaissance of interest in authentic practice.

Monday, 8 August 2011

by William Dart, New Zealand Herald

For John Chen, Friday night's Chamber Music New Zealand concert was a homecoming with a difference.

There was no orchestra behind him; nor was he in recital dazzling us with Dutilleux and charming us with Mozart.

Instead he was alongside Canadian violinist Luanne Homzy and American cellist Peter Myers, showing us just why their Saguaro Trio won the 2009 Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition.

Monday, 8 August 2011

by John Button, The Dominion Post

It has been a very good year for chamber music, and attendances to concerts have been gratifyingly large. With the Wellington Town Hall, artfully reduced in size with drapes, a fine acoustic space, we have enjoyed some superb playing, but I wonder if we have heard anything as magical as this concert.

Friday, 5 August 2011

by Robin Raymond, The Marlborough Express

He may be shy and uncertain when he speaks, but Jun Bouterey-Ishido has no such difficulties when it comes to expressing himself on the piano.

Back in New Zealand on a break from studying his masters degree in Stuttgart, Germany, the 21 year-old pianist was hitting all the right notes with the audience of about 80 at the Brancott Estate Winery in Riverlands last night.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

by Peter Williams, Hawke's Bay Today

... In just a short time these three musicians have made their mark on the world stage with a series of competition successes. The reason for such success was easy to hear - and see. They play with a complete lack of affectation combined with superb technical accomplishment, maturity and musicianship that belies their young years.

... The playing was precise, vibrant and superbly balanced, both within the ensemble and in the sections, with every rhythmic and expressive detail in place.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

by Andrew Buchanan-Smart, The Waikato Times

The Saguaro Trio gave a fine performance. Alwyn Westbrooke’s "?", or: Why Gryphons Shouldn't Dance was based on a small number of Latin dance rhythms; these were however modified to be virtually unrecognisable. The harmonic language appeared fractured. The work began with an extended duet between the violin and cello, the piano enters cautiously but throughout gains confidence, eventually overpowering strings.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

by Rosemary Collier, Middle C

Jun Bouterey-Ishido
Sunday, 24 July 2011

by Peter Mechen, Middle C

If you haven’t already done so, find a space on which to write down the name Jun Bouterey-Ishido, a space you’ll remember and can refer back to when the rest of the world catches up with this young pianist’s remarkable talent. Evidence was amply provided by this recital, filled with good things, and even more praiseworthy in that the pianist was able to make a fairly inertly-voiced instrument “sound” with plenty of the different music’s varied characters.

Peter Myers cello, Luanne Homzy violin, John Chen piano
Saturday, 23 July 2011

Otago Daily Times

The Saguaro Trio started playing together when they were students at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, drawn together by a shared passion for chamber music.

Only two years after its formation, the trio, John Chen piano, Luanne Homzy violin, and Peter Myers cello, won first place at the Hamburg competitions, the win affording them many concert opportunities in Germany which led to a decision to move to that country this year.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Geist were announced as the winners of the 2011 NZCT Chamber Music Contest on Saturday evening.

Lauren Bennett, Britta Balzat (violins), Sophia Lee (viola) and Sally Kim (cello) were awarded the James Wallace Arts Trust Prize of $1,500 cash each, as well as the Arthur Hilton Memorial Prize of a relevant musical text for their reference in the future. The four members all attend Westlake Girls' High School in Auckland.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Geist were announced as the winners of the 2011 NZCT Chamber Music Contest on Saturday evening.

Lauren Bennett, Britta Balzat (violins), Sophia Lee (viola) and Sally Kim (cello) were awarded the James Wallace Arts Trust Prize of $1,500 cash each, as well as the Arthur Hilton Memorial Prize of a relevant musical text for their reference in the future. The four members all attend Westlake Girls' High School in Auckland.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

by Tim Jones, The Tribune

Chamber Music New Zealand’s latest concert again proved the seemingly bottomless pool of talent we have in our country.

Replacing injured featured pianist Diedre Irons at the last minute, Jian Liu, new assistant professor of piano at the New Zealand School of Music, stepped up to join renowned violinist Martin Riseley and flautist Alexa Still for this latest musical feast.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

by Margot Hannigan, Nelson Mail

This was a perfect chamber music concert by three consummate musicians.

My initial disappointment that pianist Diedre Irons had withdrawn through injury was completely reversed when I listened to her replacement, Jian Liu.

Born in China, Liu has recently been appointed to the New Zealand School of Music as assistant professor of piano.

Though he had less than a week to prepare for the concert, his performance was truly beautifully expressive.

Alexa Still commented, “I feel I’ve been playing with Jian for years”.

Friday, 1 July 2011

by Allan Purdy, Taranaki Daily News

When acclaimed New Zealand pianist Diedre Irons fell and injured her thumb last Friday, this week’s Chamber Music NZ tour with flautist Alexa Still and violinist Martin Riseley was in jeopardy.

However, her recently appointed Assistant Professor of Piano at the NZ School of Music came to the rescue and learnt the whole programme in just three days.

Jian Liu also achieved amazing rapport with Still and Riseley throughout the five major works they performed in the Theatre Royal on Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

by Stephen Fisher, Manawatu Standard

The title of this concert has changed from that advertised but, unfortunately, last week Deidre Irons injured her hand in a fall, to be replaced by Jian Liu on the piano.

Newly arrived to teach at Victoria University, Liu has major international engagements to his credit, although this was the first time that he had been heard outside Wellington since his arrival in New Zealand.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

by Lindis Taylor, Middle C

Felix the Quartet, which is drawn from string players of the NZSO, has been going for more than a decade. Former concertmaster Wilma Smith was a founding member and her place was taken by incoming concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen. If players of this calibre had been playing together as a full-time quartet over that time, I suspect the impact of their performances would be a little more uniformly well integrated and arresting then it sometimes is.

Friday, 24 June 2011

by Hanno Fairburn, Rotorua Daily Post

The Rotorua Music Federation violin and piano concert on Thursday evening (23 June) was cut short by Diedre Irons’s indisposition, but gave the audience a taste of the commanding skills of a distinguished duo.

Diedre Irons is among the foremost of our pianists, one who combines a totally secure technique with the exceptional ability to bring deeper feelings out of the music.

Brentano String Quartet
Tuesday, 14 June 2011

by John Button, The Dominion Post

There was a good-sized audience for this concert - not surprising after the Brentano's fine concert in 2007 - and it was treated to a beautifully balanced, staggeringly well-played programme.

Haydn's Quartet in D minor Op 103 is really just two movements from his last year, and they reveal a wise composer offering some personal thoughts of sublime invention.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Russian violinist Sergey Malov (pictured) has won the prestigious Michael Hill International Violin Competition 2011. Sergey was named the winner following the final round of the contest at the Auckland Town Hall accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on Saturday night (11 June).

For Sergey it was an early birthday present – he turns 28 next Saturday – and a hat trick of wins as he scooped the top prize along with the inaugural J. Paul Anderson Award for best chamber music player and the Audience Award won by text voting.

Brentano String Quartet
Thursday, 9 June 2011

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

Tuesday's concert by the Brentano String Quartet made it clear that four years is too long a wait for a return visit.

The Americans had given us one of the highlights of Chamber Music New Zealand's 2007 season, playing Haydn, Monteverdi and Bartok, as well as treating us to a preview of a newly commissioned work by Gabriela Lena Frank.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

by Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times

This concert by the Brentano String Quartet was an exceptionally fine one, where the audience were invited into their world; a world of sublime string playing. Rarely does one hear such fine string quartet playing; four threads fused into one with seamless flow.  The fluidity of their performance, the weight and balance of the ensemble were memorable.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Last year Chamber Music New Zealand celebrated 60 years of chamber music presentation, advocacy and development. The organisation’s formative years, from 1950 to 1982, were thoroughly documented in the 1985 book Into A New Key by John Mansfield Thomson. CMNZ’s Jane Dawson, who is responsible for our printed concert programmes, was commissioned to research and write a new, updated history. The result is a special book, Staying in Tune: Chamber Music New Zealand at 60.

Tasmin Little
Sunday, 22 May 2011

by Lindis Taylor, Middle C

Tasmin Little is in New Zealand as one of the adjudicators for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, but she has also played the Sibelius Concerto with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and a solo concert in Christchurch in the place of a concert with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra since the earthquake damaged the Town Hall.

Her Naked Violin performances was arranged in Hamilton and Wellington through the chamber music societies in each city.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

As you may be aware, Chamber Music New Zealand's usual Christchurch venue, the James Hay Theatre in the Town Hall complex, sustained major damage after the 22 February earthquake and is unavailable for the rest of our 2011 season. So we went looking for a new venue … and in the process also arranged a bonus free concert by superstar UK violinist Tasmin Little.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

Seated in a town hall that deserved to be much, much fuller, waiting for the New Zealand String Quartet to take the stage, I felt privileged.

The previous evening I had been utterly transported when these musicians, with soprano Jenny Wollerman, performed Schoenberg's Second Quartet in the glowing ambience of Waikato University's Academy of Performing Arts.

Friday, 6 May 2011

by Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times

The NZSQ gave a well-balanced programme in many ways, covering a vast musical terrain and Schoenberg’s musically pivotal work.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

by Tim Jones, The Tribune

Chamber Music New Zealand continued its exciting 2011 season with Mozart, Ross Harris and Dvorak on the menu for the New Zealand String Quartet.

Mozart’s String Quartet No. 8 in D, K575 was apparently written without much enthusiasm by Mozart during his final years of financial difficulty

Unsurprisingly for Mozart, none of this is evident in the eminently-civilised, perfectly-crafted music he gives us, and the players rightly gave us a sweet-toned, restrained performance.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

by Lindis Taylor, Middle C

I suspect that few musical performances in Wellington have done as much, as quickly, as this to overturn long-held attitudes about a composer. Often without really putting it to the test, many ordinary music lovers have accepted that, apart from Verklärte Nacht, Schoenberg’s music was and has remained cacophonous and unlistenable. The composer himself complained quite early that the problem was poor performance: nothing difficult about his music!

Monday, 2 May 2011

by Allan Purdy, Taranaki Daily News

A soprano and a string quartet together! Yes, the New Zealand String Quartet with Jenny Wollerman gave the first New Zealand performance of Schoenberg's String Quartet No 2 in the Theatre Royal on Saturday night.

Not included in many people's top 10 of the 20th Century, Schoenberg was nevertheless very significant in the development of compositional techniques, as NZSQ leader Helene Pohl explained in her very enlightening introduction.

New Zealand String Quartet (left) and Jenny Wollerman (right)
Friday, 29 April 2011

by Margot Hannigan, Nelson Mail

How I admire the energy of the New Zealand String Quartet. They continue to bring new and exciting programmes to their audiences with vitality and panache.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

by Nigel Zega, Otago Daily Times

Chamber Music New Zealand supergroup Elixir served up a smorgasbord of songs yesterday at the lunchtime launch of acts at the Southern Lakes Festival of Colour.

The vastly experienced trio of soprano Kate Lineham, pianist Rachel Thomson and clarinettist Moira Hurst treated listeners to a variety of short pieces from classical and opera to folk and cabaret.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

by Hanno Fairburn, The Daily Post

The Rotorua Music Federation ventured into new territory on Monday evening at the Concert Chamber with the appearance of Elixir, a Wellington ensemble of voice, piano and clarinet.

This unfamiliar combination made the most of their wide-ranging programme with some bright and stylish performances.

Soprano Kate Lineham  shone  because of her vocal stamina and expressive voice, even in a room with acoustics that are not kind to singers.

Friday, 1 April 2011

by Allan Purdy, Taranaki Daily News

Chamber Music New Zealand's 2011 Kaleidoscopes Concert Season got off to a brilliant start on Wednesday evening.

The Theatre Royal audience, containing a goodly number of younger fans, was immediately responsive to the dynamic playing of the Eggner Trio from Austria.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

by John Button, The Dominion Post

Since winning the 2003 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, the Eggner Trio have returned regularly to Australia and New Zealand. And that has been our gain, for this young trio of brothers is a group of the highest quality.

Fortunately, too, the trio's repertoire is full of riches, with every major composer of the past 200-plus years contributing works of quality.

Monday, 28 March 2011

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

Auckland audiences have developed a special affection for the Eggner Trio, and it's not hard to see why. Touring this country for the third time, the three Eggner brothers launched Chamber Music New Zealand's 2011 season with their customary musical and couturial panache.

The first half of the programme travelled from the tango bars of Buenos Aires to the folk legends of olde Russia.

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