50th Jubilee Appeal

Doric String Quartet (National Finals adjudicators 2014) with Contest participants

Chamber Music Contest 1965 - 2015

In 2015, Chamber Music New Zealand celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Chamber Music Contest.

We want to ensure the future of this iconic event by establishing a new endowment of $250,000.

Putting big dreams within reach

Updated April 2015

"It has been a huge honour and privilege to adjudicate for this Contest. Our time in New Zealand has ended in such an inspiring and positive way. If only we had something quite like this in the UK, it is truly a unique event" - John Myerscough (cello), Doric String Quartet (The Quartet adjudicated the 2014 Contest National Finals while on tour with Chamber Music New Zealand – pictured above with Contest participants)

The Chamber Music Contest not only offers thousands of kiwis the opportunity to make music together, it can be a deciding moment for aspiring young musicians in their musical careers.
Every year Chamber Music New Zealand provides these young musicians with moments to meet, watch, learn from, and be inspired by world-class artists. This part of the Contest is as important as the students’ time in the spotlight. Having the chance to connect with ensembles like the Doric String Quartet, the Vienna Octet or the Brodsky Quartet shows them just what is possible - that their big dreams for the future can happen.

"It was an inspired move to have the Doric Quartet as adjudicators, they totally ‘walked the talk’ and the girls learnt so much from watching them perform, from their feedback, and from the opportunity to talk to them at the function afterwards."  - Janet Kingsbury, HOD Music, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and tutor of Eklamoré and Trio Emporté, 2014 NZCT Chamber Music Contest. (Pictured: Doric String Quartet's Alex Redington with Contest Participants Eklamoré)

“One strong memory I have of the Contest is the thrill of having all of the Vienna Octet at the finals - these venerable people from the other side of the world, listening and adjudicating and being so impressed at the dedication displayed in the Contest.” – Miles Golding, member of the winning group in the 1965 Chamber Music Contest.

The Contest has called on internationally renowned musicians to inspire young New Zealanders since its existence, and today in its 50th year it continues to do so.

In opening the 2015 Kaleidoscopes Concert Season the UK’s Brodsky Quartet shared their advice for Contest participants and highlighted just how valuable an event like this is.

Help us continue getting young kiwi musicians that one step closer to their big dreams and allowing them to learn from amazing ensembles through the Contest.

Please help us secure the legacy of the Chamber Music Contest by donating to our 50th Jubilee Appeal.

Natalie Tantrum (nee Nalden) performing her prize-winning composition in 1988

For the future of the contest

Founded in 1965 by Viennese émigré Arthur Hilton and New Zealander Joan Kerr, the Chamber Music Contest has a long list of talented alumni including acclaimed pianist Michael Houstoun, the NZTrio, violinist Wilma Smith and rising international star John Chen.

Shweta Iyer with Trio Provence, 2013 National Semi-Final

After more than 30 years of continuous corporate support the future of the Contest was thrown into serious doubt in 1998 when it was left without a sponsor. We have continued since then with the very generous support of donors like you as well as community funding.

For many people, their first encounter with chamber music is through the Contest, and in 2014, nearly 2000 students from 15 regional centres took part. The new endowment fund will secure and strengthen the place of the Contest in the New Zealand cultural landscape for years to come.

The good news is that we have already raised 57% of our target with donations and pledges from our generous supporters.

There is still work to do and we need your help to reach our goal of $250,000 so the Contest can continue to nurture future generations of young New Zealanders.

How you can help

Join us in giving the gift of chamber music to young New Zealanders by donating to the Jubilee Appeal. As a not-for-profit charity we rely on your generous donations. 


We welcome donations of any amount towards the Jubilee Appeal as every contribution we receive makes a real difference to the lives of young New Zealanders. 

If you choose to donate $1,000 or more you will be recognised as a Jubilee Donor in the following way:

Gold Jubilee Patron: $10,000+
Silver Jubilee Donor: $5,000+
Bronze Jubilee Donor: $2,000+
Ensemble Jubilee Donor: $1,000+

Matthias Balzat performing as part of 2013 National Final winners, Sollertinsky TrioBenefits of giving

Gold patrons will be invited to present district, regional and/or national awards and will be acknowledged on all 2015 Chamber Music New Zealand programmes and other related publications.

Gold and silver supporters will be acknowledged in all 2015 Contest publications and on the Contest website. You will also receive a complimentary souvenir programme and a DVD of the 2015 National Finals.

Gold, silver and bronze supporters will receive invitations to the 2015 National Finals in Wellington as well as invitations to special receptions and events during 2015.

All gold, silver, bronze and ensemble supporters will receive special commemorative Jubilee pins.

You can donate online now through our secure payment gateway, alternatively contact Chamber Music New Zealand on 0800 266 2378 to discuss other ways of making your donation.

Core Patron: Sir James Wallace KNZM

Gold Jubilee Patrons: Paul and Sheryl Baines, Donald and Susan Best, Philip and Rosalind Burdon, Graeme and Di Edwards, Ann Harden (in memory of Joan Kerr), Tom and Ann Morris, Roger and Catherine Taylor, Lloyd Williams and Cally McWha, David and the late Helen Zwartz

Silver Jubilee Donors: Robin and Sue Harvey, Euan and Shelley Murdoch

Bronze Jubilee Donors: Alan and Pat Gibson, John and Trish Gribben, Roger Reynolds, Anonymous (1)

Ensemble Jubilee Donors: Philippa Bates, Anonymous (1)


Fifty years of inspiration

Left to Right: Bryony Gibson-Cornish, Ashley Brown and Natalie Lin

A Fulbright scholar at The Juilliard School in New York, violist and singer Bryony Gibson-Cornish is teaming up with violinist Natalie Lin and NZTrio cellist Ashley Brown for Chamber Music New Zealand’s 2015 Turnovsky Jubilee Ensemble tour.

All three performers have a long history with the Contest, each having played in winning ensembles during their school years. For Bryony it was the 2008 Contest that opened her eyes to the power of chamber music.

“I will always remember the intimacy and significance of that performance, because it was my first true experience of chamber music in the entire sense of the word.”

Bryony says that the Contest has become a rite of passage for young musicians and she continues to be involved through tutoring, performing, and supporting other young musicians.

“The contest means so many different things to different people. You really get the sense of grassroots to excellence and it’s so special that each performer in the contest, no matter what their level, will get something out of participating. With so many successful alumni in the contest’s fifty-year history, it is an honour to follow in their footsteps.”


Join us in giving the gift of chamber music to young New Zealanders by donating to the Jubilee Appeal. As a not-for-profit charity we rely on your generous donations.