3 July 2012
by Candice de Villiers, Chamber Music New Zealand
Chamber Music New Zealand was proud to present the 2011 Michael Hill International Violin Competition Winner on tour this year, Sergey Malov. The tour was part of the talented musician’s prize winnings and while it was no doubt a rewarding experience it was also a mammoth undertaking.
In just four weeks Sergey played 20 performances in 17 different centres consisting of five different programmes. He had arranged to play both violin and viola but also brought along and showcased his unique violoncello da spalla. While travelling the length and breadth of the country to perform Sergey managed to fit in an online video hangout with Napier students from the Dreamscapes Quartet who will perform the winning original composition in this year’s NZCT Chamber Music Contest. He also ran three masterclasses with musicians in Waikato, Canterbury and Otago, appeared on TVNZ’s Good Morning and a put on a special private show for the kids of Sistema Aotearoa in Otara.
The award-winning violinist was in suitably talented company on his endeavours, joined throughout the tour by newly named Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, NZ’s own pianist Michael Houstoun. The pair impressed critics with their playing, “Even at this start of the tour the pair indicated a close understanding as they explored the depths of a demanding programme.” (Hanno Fairburn, Daily Post).
In Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington audiences got the icing on the cake with an appearance from NZTrio Ashley Brown. Together the trio played the piece that won Sergey the Julian Paul Anderson Award for best chamber music play, Beethoven’s ‘Ghost Trio’. “To say that Malov is a sensitive, imaginative and immensely accomplished violinist is perhaps not the most remarkable thing. What is remarkable is the way in which he, Michael Houstoun and Ashley Brown formed a superb team.” (Rosemary Collier, Middle C).
Sergey Malov has now returned to Europe for some much needed rest and relaxation. Ashley Brown will be joining the rest of the NZTrio to adjudicate the 2012 National Finals of the 2012 NZCT Chamber Music Contest on the 3rd and 4th of August in Auckland. And Michael Houstoun will be previewing his 60th Birthday project in a special concert series of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations this coming October.
Here's what the violinist had to say at the Wellington pre-concert talk about working with pianist and national treasure Michael Houstoun.
On the 18 June Sergey performed for the nation when he featured on TVNZ's Good Morning. Watch the excerpts by clicking on the image below.
In Auckland Sergey met 180 Otara school children aged 5 to 9 when he stopped by Otara Music and Arts Centre to donate three half-sized violins to the group as part of the Sistema Aotearoa initiative. He then wowed the crowd of kids and parents with a short performance of two of his favourite pieces. Watch the video below.
Sergey Malov and Michael Houstoun's first rehearsal of the tour before their first concert in Hamilton.
Sergey performing with young musicians in Otara as part of the Sistema Aotearoa initiative.
Sergey working with Bryony Gibson Cornish at the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra Masterclass.
Sergey Malov and Michael Houstoun in concert for the Michael Hill international Violin Competition in Queenstown.
Sergey took time out to have a game of ice hockey while on tour.
For the last concert of the tour in Waikanae Sergey showed off some of the fashionable attire he had added to his wardrobe while in NZ.
With so many performances in one month the concerts received some wonderful reviews.
'"Captivating", a man in the row behind me summarised when the last of the long, loud applause had ended.'
'The enjoyment evident from both performers was most contagious.'
'...with all the accuracy and polish one could want.'
'Both players exulted in the exuberant melodies, presented with a fullness of tone (cometimes viola-like on the violin) and luxuriant harmonies on the piano.'
'Together they make a formidable duo, totally at one with each other, aware of all that was required in the performance of two major works.'
'A wonderful evening of mastery!'
'Malov and Houstoun's delight was palpable and their sensuous and serene playing was a spiritual experience.'
'Malov’s playing was marked by purity and sweetness of tone, in addition to his complete command of the instrument, and apparent enthusiasm for his art. He should have an eminent career.'
'... he demonstrated and combined a virtuosic technique with an innate musical understanding which brought the music alive.'
'Even at this start of the tour the pair indicated a close understanding as they explored the depths of a demanding programme.'