Adam Summer School

“The week was full of intensity, emotion, passion, and learning. Inspiring, encouraging and challenging.”

2017 Adam Summer School

The New Zealand String Quartet Trust presents the

23rd Annual Adam Summer School for Chamber Music


11 - 19 February 2017


The annual Adam Summer School is presented by the New Zealand String Quartet and held in Nelson each February. It provides the opportunity for up to 30 of New Zealand’s best young string players and pianists to commit themselves to eight days of intense chamber music-making under the guidance of the New Zealand String Quartet and pianist Diedre Irons.

In the balmy setting of mid-summer Nelson, students can:

  • Benefit from world class coaching from New Zealand’s best chamber musicians
  • Be inspired by an intense period of music-making
  • Work with the best of their peers from throughout New Zealand
  • Participate in daily masterclasses
  • Perform a major chamber music work following a week of in-depth study.

Participants have one two-hour group coaching session each day.

Opportunities for individual instrument tuition from the tutors have also been built into the daily schedule.

Two public concerts take place at the conclusion of the school, during which each group performs.

Applications for the 2017 Adam Summer School for Chamber Music are closed. Please see Student Info below. 


This special Award recognises effort, commitment and progress made by an individual during the Adam Summer School.

Alex Geary - violinist

Adam Summer School Sponsors

A special thank you to all our supporters.

adam summer school sponsors


Adam Summer School Scholarship Sponsors

The Adam Summer School acknowledges the following groups and individuals who have generously donated part or full scholarships:

Donald Armstrong
Terry Holton
Charlotte Katz-Brutschin
Howard Larsen and Lindsay Macdonald
Christopher and Jilly Marshall
Ray Pengelly
Arnold and Reka Solomons
Gerrit and Marianne van der Lingen
Sally Warren
Waikanae Music Society

New Zealand String Quartet

Helene Pohl (First violin)
Monique Lapins (Second violin)
Gillian Ansell (Viola)
Rolf Gjelsten (‘Cello)

View more info about NZSQ

Diedre Irons (piano)

Diedre Irons 2009 

Diedre Irons was born in Winnipeg, Canada. She graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and was subsequently invited by her teacher, Rudolf Serkin, to join the faculty of that prestigious conservatory; she taught there for the next seven years.

She moved to New Zealand in 1977 and has since performed regularly with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia and the Christchurch Symphony, toured many times under the auspices of Chamber Music New Zealand, and recorded extensively for Radio New Zealand.

Diedre Irons was awarded an MBE for services to music in 1989 and received the degree Doctor of Music (honoris causa) from Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada. Senior lecturer in piano at the University of Canterbury from 1992-2003, she recently retired from her position as head of classical performance at the New Zealand School of Music to perform full-time. In 2011 she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.




Open to students of violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano.

Online applications for 2017 are now closed

Online applications for the 2017 Adam Summer School for Chamber Music have closed. Applications for the 2018 Adam Summer School for Chamber Music will open in SEPTEMBER 2017. 

Students attending should be tertiary level and above, however, consideration will be given to all interested applicants. Individual students accepted for the School will be placed in groups following the auditions.

All applications should be made online. If you do not have access to a computer or have difficulty completing the online application form, please contact us on 04 499 8883 or email

Fees to attend

$640 including GST per student.

Fees include all tuition, venues, accommodation and main meals.

A non-refundable deposit of $100 is payable within ten days of notification of acceptance. Fee balance due for payment by 31 January 2017.

Students are required to pay their own travel costs to and from Nelson.


Scholarships for financial assistance with course fees are available – please apply to outlining your request for assistance.

2017 - Alex Geary (violin)

2016 - Kauri May (violin)

2015 - Olivia Wilding (cello)

2014 - Grant Baker (viola)

2013 - Amy Ga Hee Lee (piano)

2012 - Nathan Pinkney (violin)

2011 - Rachel Grimwood (viola)

2010 - Julian Baker (violin)

2009 - Estelita Rae (violin)

The New Zealand String Quartet Gratefully Acknowledges its sponsors and funders