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.
Chamber Music New Zealand is delighted to announce the twelve ensembles and soloists selected as part of our 2014 regional roster. Having received a large number of proposals from all around the world for the Encompass Season, next year’s roster has an unprecedented range of ensembles: a broad mix of combinations, genres and programmes, and featuring artists right across the gamut of their careers from emerging to mid-career, to established ensembles.
The extremely accomplished NZTrio has always shown great imagination in programming and this concert was no exception. It’s not that everything in the programme was of equal quality but, rather, that there was a great variety of works spanning the last hundred years.
The modern came first in NZTrio's Old World: New World concert. The Auckland Town Hall seemed stadium-like for those of us accustomed to this group in more intimate surroundings; sometimes one craned forward to catch the hushed sonorities of Bright Sheng's Four Movements for Piano Trio.
We were taken on a rich cultural musical tour from composers as far ranging as Russia in 1881 to New Zealand in 2013.
In between were China and America in the 1980s. The young and lively members of the NZTrio imbued this diverse repertoire with their energy and enthusiasm while never losing sight of the power of working as a single unit to produce brilliant sounds.
New and old music by four eclectic composers from Austria, China, Russia and New Zealand was performed by the NZTrio at the Civic Theatre in Invercargill as part of the Chamber Music New Zealand programme and the Southland Festival of the Arts.
Advice on staccato, pitch and performance placement from some of New Zealand's top chamber musicians is helping Dunedin secondary school pupils prepare for national competitions.
NZTrio musicians Ashley Brown (cello), Sarah Watkins (piano) and Justine Cormack (violin) spent Saturday morning with about 20 budding performers during a Chamber Music New Zealand masterclass at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
A brilliant programme was vigorously applauded by a capacity audience at the newly refurbished Glenroy Auditorium yesterday.
True to their reputation, the NZTrio represented works from the 20th and 21st centuries balanced as it were by one work from the late 19th century. While this might suggest that the second half smoothed the rough edges of the first, this was far from true or necessary.
“Vote with your feet” as the saying goes – and audiences all around the country have been doing just that over and over again for Michael Houstoun’s Beethoven reCYCLE Part One concerts. This kind of feet-voting isn’t that of leaving the performances but rather the kind that involves leaping from seats with rapturous applause. The standing ovation kind.
One of the highest accolades a musician can receive is to have his or her name indelibly associated in people's minds with that of a particular composer's music - and more than any other pianist in this part of the world, Michael Houstoun's name has become practically synonymous with Beethoven.
By Andrew Stantiall, Positively Wellington Venues - Reporting LIVE
"I should have done more homework" I said to my companion as we sat down in the front row of the Ilott Theatre after wading through a sea of grey hair and silk scarves. Admittedly, I had done quite a bit.
When Chamber Music New Zealand announces a tour by an ensemble that consists of piano (Deidre Irons), saxophone (Deborah Rawson) and flute (Rebecca Steel) one realises that this is going to be a highly colourful beginning to this year's season, part of a series that is already characterised by imaginative and distinctive programming.
Inevitably in a set of sonatas there are particular compositions which stand out for the unique quality of the writing.
This factor has been the catalyst for the arrangements of the sonatas within each of the seven recitals encompassing the whole of the 32 Beethoven sonatas which Michael Houstoun is presenting this year in this reCYCLE series.
Considered the rock stars of contemporary classical music, the Kronos Quartet are recording legends, with an extensive discography of over 45 recordings and an impressive commissioning track record of over 750 new pieces.
A large mixed audience of Dunedin's music fraternity was privileged to hear the distinctive blend of interpretive and technical brilliance which the Kronos Quartet have at their fingertips. What a treat to hear live, music which accurately and successfully reflects the solidarities and dualities of today's world.
Many in the audience at this concert will remember Michael Houstoun's playing of the Beethoven Series 20 years ago and will have been keenly anticipating these reCYCLE performances. They will surely not have been disappointed in what they heard in this concert, the first of seven to be played in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, besides Napier, and a selection of two of the concerts in each of six other centres.
It's that time of year. A time for twinkling lights, tinsel, plenty of baking, friends, family and frivolity. Here at Chamber Music New Zealand we think that there is one thing that goes perfectly with all of this ... music!
So we've asked around for people's favourite or most loved festive music - whether it be classical, chamber music, choral or otherwise, we wanted to know the melodies that get hummed along to over the holiday season.
The Adam Chamber Music Festival has proudly taken its place on the international stage and is recognised as a leading chamber music event, not only in New Zealand, but in Australasia and attracts guests and audiences from around the globe. Nelson is an ideal host for the Festival with its wonderful venues, wineries and cafe culture and February’s Festival presents 28 events in 10 days.
CMNZ 2013 Subscribers can purchase discounted package rates before December 15 2012.
The Rothko Quartet Olivia Francis, Emily Bouwhuis violins, Alex Macdonald viola, Cameron Stuart cello , although a recently formed group are no strangers to playing together – all its members have been section leaders in the Auckland Youth Orchestra and University of Auckland Orchestra.
Chamber Music New Zealand’s final concert in Palmerston North for the year saw the young New York-based string quartet wow us with Haydn, Debussy, Gillian Whitehead and Shostakovich. Formed in 1999, they began with Haydn’s Quartet in C Opus 20 no. 2, and straight away their crisp, alive playing perfectly captured the mood of Haydn’s inspiration.
Presenting nothing less than a programme of enormous variety and immense challenge, the ENSO String Quartet had already garnered much admiration from their audience by halftime, with a performance that could only be described as exquisite.
The Enso String Quartet, violinists Maureen Nelson and John Marcus, violist Stephanie Fong and cellist Richard Belcher, with their Grammy nomination for the recording of the Ginastera String Quartets, is an ensemble of high repute. The reason for this was abundantly clear in the performance of Ginastera's String Quartet No1.
Chamber Music New Zealand had numerous delights lined up on Monday night for its last concert of the season. As well as a new Gillian Whitehead commission and another opportunity to hear the fine pianist Michael Endres, we were introduced to a young ensemble making its name on the international circuit.
Participation, energy and fun were the key ingredients in a performance in the Wellington Town Hall on Wednesday 24 October by the Enso String Quartet from the United States, students from Kimi Ora School in Wellington and community musician Julian Raphael.
Julian, education facilitator for Chamber Music New Zealand’s Ensembles In Schools programme, led the performance, played the guitar and sang.
At 71, Gillian Whitehead is one of our most distinguished composers. Yet one is struck by the humility of the woman; "You don't have to mention that," she laughs, when I bring up the damehood conferred on her in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours.
Composers are often drawn to the musical equivalent of the challenge that faced Jesus feeding the multitude. Most of Bach's Art of Fugue was wrought from a mere 12-note theme and Beethoven famously created 33 variations on one innocuous little waltz by Anton Diabelli.
On Monday evening, Michael Houstoun took up another formidable challenge: playing this Beethoven masterpiece.