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. 

Friday, 31 May 2013

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.

Tokyo String Quartet NZ Farewell Tour 2013
Thursday, 23 May 2013

By Heather K. Scott, Strings website (extract)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

by Hannah Faiburn, Rotorua Daily Post

The Christchurch ensemble Tres Cordes gave a lively and rewarding performance at the Concert Chamber on Sunday.

Committed playing by the violin, viola and cello trio brought out elegance and high spirits from a programme which included four trios from the classical period.

Friday, 17 May 2013

By John Button, The Dominion Post

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.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

By Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times

NZTrio performed an excellent concert, with repertoire that traversed the divide between the old world and the new world; between Western classical music and Oriental classical and folk music.  

NZTrio Old World New World 2013 NZ Tour
Monday, 13 May 2013

By Stephen Fisher, Manawatu Standard

NZTrio Tour Subtle Dances by Claire Cowan
Friday, 10 May 2013

By William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

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.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

By Brenda Harwood, The Star (Dunedin)

The newly refurbished Glenroy Auditorium provided the perfect backdrop for the brilliance of touring piano trio NZTrio last Friday night.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

By Ruth Allison, Nelson Mail

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.

NZTrio Old World New World 2013 NZ Tour
Monday, 6 May 2013

By Gwyneth Hyndman, The Southland Times

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.

Monday, 6 May 2013

By Rosie Manins, Otago Daily Times

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.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

By Marian Poole, Otago Daily Times

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.

Michael Houstoun Beethoven reCYCLE 2013
Tuesday, 23 April 2013

By William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

Michael Houstoun's reCYCLE, with the pianist tackling all 32 Beethoven Sonatas, has begun its historic journey around the country.

Dean Zillwood's portrait on the programme cover caught the determination of this man, revisiting a project first undertaken in 1994.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

“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.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

By John Button, The Dominion Post

Excerpts from John Button's reviews for all of Beethoven reCYCLE Part One in Wellington

Beethoven-reCYCLE 2013. The Beethoven Sonatas – Concert One.

Michael Houstoun (piano). Ilott Theatre, Wellington, April 12

"It was inevitable, 20 years on since Michael Houstoun's first journey through all 32 Beethoven sonatas, that things would be different - and they are.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

By Peter Mechen, Middle C

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.

Monday, 15 April 2013

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.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

By Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

This third programme of seven was built around the longest sonata in the set, the so called Hammerklavier No 26 in B Flat Opus 106.

Galvanised tour with CMNZ
Wednesday, 3 April 2013

By Stephen Fisher, Manawatu Standard

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.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

By Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

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.

Kronos Quartet NZ Tour
Saturday, 16 March 2013

By Patrick Shepherd, The Press

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.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Auckland ensemble Rothko Quartet (2012 winners of the Pettman/ROSL Arts International Scholarship) have been greatly inspired by music legends the Kronos Quartet.

In March 2013 when Kronos toured the country with Chamber Music New Zealand Rothko were able to meet them and received two private masterclasses from first violinist and leader David Harrington. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

By Marian Poole, Otago Daily Times

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.

Michael Houstoun Beethoven reCYCLE 2013
Wednesday, 13 March 2013

By Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

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.

Kronos Quartet NZ Tour
Tuesday, 12 March 2013

By Simon Sweetman, Off The Track Blog

Kronos Quartet with Wu Man NZ Tour
Monday, 11 March 2013

By William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

We had not come to the Civic Theatre to hear Haydn and Mozart from Kronos Quartet; in partnership with pipa virtuoso Wu Man, the Americans were offering a rare mingling of music and magic.

Monday, 11 March 2013
mindbending, humorous, talented, humble
Saturday, 9 March 2013

By Simon Holden,

Galvanised tour with CMNZ
Sunday, 3 March 2013

By Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times

Galvanised produced a charming concert full of humour, colour and lyricism where the conversational aspects of music were apparent.

In Dubois trio Les Tréteaux the quirky Prologue and Romantica flowed with ease from voice to voice with the hues beautifully subtle. 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Chamber Music New Zealand has launched a mini blog. The 10 Days of Chamber Music blog posts centre around the ten intense days that are the 2013 Adam Chamber Music Festival.

Bryony Gibson-Cornish studying at Juilliard in New York
Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Last year we reported on the wonderful success of NZCT Chamber Music Contest alumni winner Bryony Gibson-Cornish and her acceptance into the Juilliard School through the Fulbright Exchange Programme.

This month Bryony updated us on her exciting journey...

Dear Chamber Music New Zealand,

CMNZ Music for the Festive Season
Thursday, 13 December 2012

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.

Adam Chamber Music Festival 2013
Thursday, 6 December 2012

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.

Friday, 30 November 2012

“packed with sparkle and elegance”

"musicianship of the highest order”

“Bravo! someone yells from the audience amid long, loud applause”

“the playing as a whole was sublime”

Friday, 16 November 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.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

For the last two weeks Aranui and Avondale Primary Schools have been echoing with song, drums, ukuleles and boomwhackers, all working towards a concert this coming Thursday before the long weekend.

It’s the Ensembles in Schools programme, facilitated by Julian Raphael and musicians from the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, in association with the programme’s founders, Chamber Music New Zealand.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

by Marian Poole, Otago Daily Times

An exciting programme was brilliantly played before a larger than usual Chamber Music New Zealand audience at the Regent Theatre on Monday night.

Exciting because the Enso Quartet is renowned for its interpretations of Ginastera and because it had a commissioned work from Gillian Whitehead.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

by Tim Jones, The Tribune

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.

Friday, 2 November 2012

by Stephen Fisher, Manawatu Standard

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.

Friday, 2 November 2012

by Peter Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

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.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

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.

Monday, 29 October 2012

by John Button, Dominion Post

Monday, 29 October 2012

by Garth Wilshere, Capital Times

The final Chamber Music New Zealand concert for this season ended on a high note with the first tour here by American-based Enso String Quartet.

The quartet, formed at Yale University in 1999, has a New Zealand connection in that cellist Richard Belcher is originally from Christchurch.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

by Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times

Friday, 26 October 2012

Published by Arts Access Aotearoa

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.

Gillian Whitehead with Enso String Quartet on their 2012 CMNZ Tour
Saturday, 20 October 2012

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

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.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

by Andrew Buchanan-Smart , Waikato Times

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

by William Dart, The New Zealand Herald

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.