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.
The Kelemen Quartet are quintessentially Hungarian. All four prize-winning international soloists are based at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest when they are not on tour. Their passion is to share the uniqueness of Hungarian music with the world.
In some ways this was an irritating concert – not the fault of the musicians. The concert was advertised as being 90 minutes, but it went for 21⁄ hours. And that was too long. For my money, the concert had a couple of works too many. The final music with video by Michael Norris (music) and David Downes (video) was not particularly effective and the video, although well produced, had a touch of the pretentious to it.
This weekend the Tales from the Forbidden City tour begins in New Zealand featuring familiar instruments to the Chamber Music New Zealand stage (violin, viola, cello and piano) as well as a number of less familiar instruments which hail from China .
This year's conference was entitled 'Grass Roots to the Peak' and our very own Euan Murdoch (Chamber Music New Zealand Chief Executive) was invited to give the keynote address and to run an afternoon workshop session on pathways for students.
Before heading to New Zealand for their début tour with us the Kelemen Quartet have been in Australia with Musica Viva. It was here that their cellist had an unfortunate injury resulting in her not being able to continue performing. Nonetheless the tour went on and the reviews of the concerts and how the musicians handled the situation have been tremendous.
Introducing cellist Dóra Kokas from the Kelemen Quartet who will be in New Zealand this March to open our concert season with works from Ligeti, Mozart, Haydn, Bartók and Kurtág. We played a quick game of 'complete the phrase' with her to get to know her a little better:
This week marks the 20th year of the Adam Summer School for Chamber Music. Run by the New Zealand String Quartet Trust it was founded by our advocate Michael Houstoun alongside members of the Quartet with an aim to provide the country’s best young string players and pianists with an opportunity to commit themselves to intense chamber music-making over one week together.
By Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today -
"It is difficult to pick out a single highlight but top place on the list probably belongs to pianist Michael Houstoun for his outstanding achievement in the performance, after a gap of 20 years since first performed, of all 32 of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas. They were memorable last time but this time there was an added maturity and assurance in his playing that resulted in some truly stunning performances. A standout for me was his superlative playing of the Appassionata Sonata – Sonata No 23 Op. 57 in F Minor."
Puertas Quartet, who toured in our Encompass 2012 series, are returning for a summer of concerts in Auckland, Martinborough, Christchurch and Arrowtown. The series will feature Wolf's Italian Serenade, Mendelssohn A minor & Beethoven's Rasumovsky No.1.
Sibling musicians Stella (violin) and Sally Kim (cello) and their friend Tina Kim (piano) of Auckland’s Trinity Trio, were announced the winners of the 8th Annual Pettman/ROSL Arts International Scholarship for a New Zealand Chamber Ensemble which took place over the weekend in Hamilton.
With this, the seventh concert in his epic journey through the 32 sonatas Beethoven composed between 1793 and 1822, Michael Houstoun reached the end. Not just the end of the series in Wellington but the whole series - 40 concerts from Auckland to Invercargill.
After a gap of four months Wellington heard the next instalment in Michael Houstoun's 2013 traversal of all 32 Beethoven Sonatas, and this was the first in a short burst of three concerts that will bring this epic journey to a close.
This November the UK'sCavaleri Quartet will feature on stage, adjudicate and coach at the highly regarded Pettman/ROSL Arts Scholarship Auditions, as well as touring the country and raising money for charity.
Southland people were treated to a feast of Beethoven last Sunday with Michael Houstoun playing part of his repertoire of 32 Beethoven piano sonatas at the Civic Theatre on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
The Tallis Scholars have been one of the foremost Renaissance vocal ensemble since their inception forty years ago. This was the ensemble’s first visit to New Zealand (organised by Chamber Music New Zealand in partnership with the New Zealand Choral Federation and Dean Endowment Trust) and the performance quality made it worth every minute of the forty year wait.
In the world of early music the Tallis Scholars are about as big a name as there is. Founded in 1973 by Peter Phillips they have become a household name, with their reputation extending beyond the narrow world of Renaissance music.
With their own recording label Gimell and over 70 recordings it was no surprise that for this concert, as part of their 40th anniversary tour, the cathedral was absolutely packed.
The Cathedral of Saint Paul was sold out for this second concert in the New Zealand tour: Christchurch on Saturday, Auckland and Napier in the following days. I had a seat in the Choir gallery above the west door and it was a splendid position both visually and aurally.
This year’s Auckland Chamber Music Society Prize winners were decided on Sunday 20 October, 2pm at the Music Theatre, Auckland University School of Music. Congratulations to the Counterstreich Quintet.
Sustained applause in a standing ovation erupted as the final notes of Beethoven's last piano sonata - Sonata No 32 in C minor Opus 111- died away under Michael Houstoun's fingers as he completed his prodigious achievement of the performance of all 32 of the Sonatas.
Seemingly only yesterday Michael Houstoun thrilled audiences throughout New Zealand with his stunning performances of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas and now, two decades later, Houstoun has returned to these works, considered by many to be at the very heart of piano literature, providing fresh insight and undoubted maturity.
Violin I. Violin II. Viola. Cello. Possibly the best ensemble ever created: sharing in common all the richness of timbre a bow can create upon a string, but also startlingly different, the pitch of each voice able to sing out in complete independence as well as blend seamlessly into the whole.
It was a pleasure to welcome back the Goldner String Quartet from Australia - violinists Dene Olding and Dimity Hall, violist Irina Morozova and cellist Julian Smiles - in the first concert in the Century Theatre after an absence of three years.
This fine ensemble have delighted audiences here on a number of occasions and have lost nothing of their musical expertise.
The Lazarus String Quartet combined spirit and polish in their concert chamber performance.
The young members of this well integrated and committed group were originally from Christchurch and now study together in Germany.
They have clearly learned quickly much of the intricacies of chamber music playing, and were alive to the varied styles and moods in a programme of three major works from the string quartet repertoire.
Australia's foremost string quartet joining forces on Friday with one of that country's leading pianists to present a programme including one of the great string quartets - Schubert's Death and the Maiden - along with one of the great piano quintets - Edward Elgar's Piano in A minor.
The Encore Supporter Programme provides extraordinary opportunities
We would like to take this opportunity to applaud Michael Houstoun – pianist extraordinaire – who is halfway through his monumental journey to reCYCLE the Beethoven piano sonatas. The standing ovations he is receiving throughout the country say it all. He really is a national treasure.