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. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

by Brenda Harwood, The Dunedin Star

Youthful energy abounded in the performance of Hungarian string quartet Kelemen Quartet, in a brilliant programme showcasing the music of their home country.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

by Andrew Buchanan-Smart , Waikato Times

Kelemen Quartet with guest cellist Akos Takacs
Thursday, 13 March 2014

by Margot Hannigan, Nelson Mail

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.

Kelemen Quartet, L to R: Barnabás Kelemen, Dóra Kokas, Gábor Homoki, Katalin Kokas
Wednesday, 12 March 2014

by Nicci McDougall, Southland Times

A small but ‘‘spell-bound’’ Invercargill audience enjoyed a musical ensemble of four string players on Monday night.

Playing to audiences throughout the country on their first New Zealand tour, Hungarian musicians Kelemen Quartet entertained more than 90 people at the Civic Theatre.

Kelemen Quartet, L to R: Barnabás Kelemen, Katalin Kokas, Dóra Kokas, Gábor Homoki
Tuesday, 11 March 2014

by Marion Poole, Otago Daily Times

The vibrancy of Hungarian music and generous programme had a full house at the Glenroy shouting and stamping. 

Forbidden City Chamber orchestra and the New Zealand String Quartet
Monday, 10 March 2014

by John Button, The Dominion Post

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.

The Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra
Thursday, 6 March 2014

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 .

Friday, 28 February 2014

February 7 - 9 2014 saw music teachers from across the country gather in Taranaki for the annual Institute of Registered Music Teachers (IRMT) conference.

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.

John Chen in the Saguaro Trio (Photo: Inga Sommer)
Thursday, 27 February 2014
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Kelemen Quartet, L to R: Barnabás Kelemen, Dóra Kokas, Katalin Kokas, Gábor Homoki
Thursday, 27 February 2014

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. 

Excerpts from the Australian reviews

Tuesday, 25 February 2014
We have a highly-skilled and experienced group of professional chamber musicians lined up to adjudicate this year's Chamber Music Contest, see who will be on the panels...
L: Dóra Kokas (Kelemen Quartet cellist), R: Ákos Takács (guest cellist)
Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Just when you least expect it – disaster strikes.

Over the weekend we were saddened to hear that the cellist in the Kelemen Quartet, Dóra Kokas (pictured left), had injured herself in Australia.

She is unable to complete the Australian tour and, unfortunately, is no longer joining the Kelemen Quartet on their tour of New Zealand.

Jack Body (Composer)
Thursday, 20 February 2014

Introducing New Zealand composer Jack Body, the co-producer and one of the key collaborators behind Chamber Music New Zealand's upcoming tour Tales from the Forbidden City

Dóra Kokas
Monday, 10 February 2014

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:

Monday, 10 February 2014

Tales from the Forbidden City is the culmination of a year's work, of travel between two countries, of music that will astonish your ears, elight your eyes and stretch your mind.

Saturday, 8 February 2014
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.
New Zealand String Quartet - Photography: Patrycja Szwarczyńska © ScorpionMedia
Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Queen’s 2014 New Year Honours List features many distinguished New Zealanders, including Chamber Music New Zealand extended family members.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013
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."
Seasons Greetings
Friday, 13 December 2013

It has been a mammoth year of concerts and events for Chamber Music New Zealand. We hope you have enjoyed all that's been on offer as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.

The Puertas Quartet Winery Plus Tour
Friday, 6 December 2013

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.

Salina Fisher, 2013 NZSO TODD Corporation Young Composer Award Winner
Tuesday, 3 December 2013

20-year-old Salina Fisher, a member in the 2007, 2008 and 2010 Chamber Music Contest winning ensembles, last week was named the winner of the NZSO TODD Corporation Young Composers Award for 2013. 

Salina Fisher, composer and violinist

Become a Chamber Music New Zealand Encore Supporter
Sunday, 1 December 2013

Every December our year-end appeal creates an opportunity to reflect on the achievements and challenges of the previous 12 months.

Now in existence for over 64 years, Chamber Music New Zealand continues to strive to expand our programmes and experiences to all New Zealanders.

TRINITY TRIO - Tina Kim, Stella Kim, Sally Kim. Photo Credit: Rhys Palmer
Monday, 25 November 2013
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.
Monday, 18 November 2013

Wellington-based business leader Paul Baines, has been a Trustee  on the Board of Chamber Music New Zealand since 2008.

Paul Baines

Today Chamber Music New Zealand was thrilled to hear that Paul is receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Commerce during Victoria University’s graduation ceremonies this December.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

by John Button, Dominion Post

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. 

Confetti raining down on Michael Houstoun at the close of his BEETHOVEN reCYCLE concerts
Wednesday, 13 November 2013

November 11th 2013 saw the final performance of Michael Houstoun's year-long journey reCycling Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas in 40 concerts around the country.

Throughout this year more than 15,000 seats have been filled with audience members from Auckland to Invercargill experiencing the magical combination of Michael Houstoun and Beethoven.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

by John Button, Domion Post

This was the second of the last three concerts in this momentous series to be held in the Michael Fowler Centre. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

by Allan Purdy, Taranaki Daily News

This could be the shortest review of all time! PERFECT. 

However, for those unfortunately unable to be there, a few supporting comments will help. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

by John Button, Dominion Post

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. 

Michael Houstoun Beethoven reCYCLE 2013
Monday, 4 November 2013

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

As Michael Houstoun nears the end of his heroic Beethoven reCYCLE series revisiting the 32 Piano Sonatas, I am reminded of a comment that the pianist made back in 1989.

Discussing Beethoven, he singled out the essential feature of the music as its organic development, from Opus 1 to Opus 135.

This was particularly evident this weekend.

Cavaleri Quartet New Zealand Tour 2013
Monday, 4 November 2013

This November the UK's Cavaleri 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. 

The Tallis Scholars. Credit: David Alexander
Friday, 25 October 2013

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

A full Holy Trinity Cathedral is usually reserved for midnight mass or funerals of the famous, but there were few empty seats at the Wednesday concert by the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips.

First up was the music of their namesake - Tallis' Loquebantur variis linguis, a Latin motet, with shivery clashes in its alleluias and expansive cadences punctuated by chant.

Nelson School of Music, sold out for Beethoven reCYCLE Part 3
Thursday, 24 October 2013

by Margot Hannigan, Nelson Mail

The spiritual journey that Michael Houstoun has made to celebrate his 60th birthday is truly inspiring. I admire his stamina, his incredible memory, his dedication and aloneness.

This was the sixth of seven recitals of Beethoven sonatas hroughout New Zealand, and Houstoun has kept the most challenging sonatas of Beethoven's mature years until the end.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

by Jenny Campbell, Invercargill Eye

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.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


By Rachel Hyde, Radio New Zealand Concert

Peter Phillips, Tallis Scholars Director
Wednesday, 23 October 2013

by Simon Holden ,

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.

The Tallis Scholars. Credit: David Alexander
Wednesday, 23 October 2013

by John Button, Dominion Post

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 Tallis Scholars. Credit: Eric Richmond
Tuesday, 22 October 2013

By Lindis Taylor, Middle C

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.

Counterstreich Quintet: (Samantha Dench - flute | Annabel Lovatt - oboe | Kenny Keppel - clarinet | Sasha Rasmussen - bassoon | Lilla Dittrich - horn)
Monday, 21 October 2013
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.
Saturday, 19 October 2013

by Marion Poole, Otago Daily Times

Michael Houstoun enraptured a full house at the Glenroy Auditorium with the final of his Dunedin performances of the Beethoven sonatas.

All four works were performed with the brilliance of a perfectionist.

Houstoun plumbs each work's emotional scope and with sustained technical prowess gets every note to carry exquisite portent.

Friday, 18 October 2013

By Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

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.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

By Stephen Fisher, Manawatu Standard

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.

2014 Kaleidoscopes Concert Season
Friday, 11 October 2013
Bringing you back to the heart of chamber music
The New Zealand String Quartet at St Mary of the Angels. Credit: Megan Ward
Monday, 7 October 2013
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.
Sunday, 6 October 2013

by Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

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.

Piers Lane and Goldner String Quartet NZ Tour 2013
Saturday, 5 October 2013

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

A week ago, the Goldner String Quartet cellist, Julian Smiles, extolled the pleasures of exploring Mendelssohn, and the composer's Opus 13 launched the group's concert on Thursday night.

This work is an extraordinary achievement for an 18-year-old composer, acknowledging yet not being swamped by the presence and example of Beethoven's final decade.

Lazarus String Quartet 2013 NZ Tour
Wednesday, 2 October 2013

by Hanno Fairburn, Rotorua Daily Post

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.

Monday, 30 September 2013

by Stephen Fisher, Manawatu Standard

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.

Encore supports pianist Michael Houstoun in his Beethoven concerts
Monday, 30 September 2013

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.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

The Goldner String Quartet is already in the country on its Chamber Music New Zealand tour.

Cellist Julian Smiles is looking forward to crossing Cook Strait and playing in some of our North Island venues, including Napier's just-opened MTG Hawke's Bay.