Some historical highlights of the Quartet’s career, from its beginning in 1987 till the present day.


Appointment of Monique Lapins as 2nd violinist.

Performances on stage with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in Alexander Ekman’s Cacti.

Concert tour of New Zealand with American jazz pianist Uri Caine for Chamber Music New Zealand

Tour of UK & North America, including concerts at the 2016 Salisbury Festival and Festival of the Sound in Ontario.

12-centre Heartland Classics tour of New Zealand and performance at the newly-opened venue The Piano in Christchurch, as part of the Christopher's Classics series. 


Lilburn complete chamber works for strings CD is released on Naxos.

Multiple performances at the 2015 Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson

Auckland Arts Festival performance of Requiem for the Fallen by Ross Harris, with Voices NZ Chamber Choir, Richard Greager and Horomona Horo.

Two tours for Chamber Music NZ, including giving the premiere performances of Ross Harris’s Piano Quintet with Stephen de Pledge

Multiple performances at the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, Australia.

Helene serves as adjudicator for the 2015 Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

Concert tour of UK & North America, including performances at the Cheltenham Festival, the City of London Festival, Festival Lachine, Waterside Festival (Amherst Island), Festival of the Sound (Ontario) and the Monadnock Festival

Multiple performances around NZ on the Russian Icons tour, as well as a concert for Christopher’s Classics in Christchurch.

China Revisited, a concert for the Confucius Institute in Wellington, including works by Jack Body, Gao Ping, John Psathas and Gillian Whitehead.

Concert and educational outreach programme at University of Winnipeg, including performance with clarinettist Igor Begelman of multi-media work The Raven and the First Men by Timothy Corlis.

Performance in Los Angeles as part of the Chamber Music at the Clark series at the University of California.

Lecture recitals and concerts at Body Music conference in Hangzhou, China, celebrating the cross-cultural works of Jack Body and other New Zealand composers.

Douglas Beilman retires from the NZSQ after 21 years.


Presented the 20th annual Adam Summer School for Chamber Music in Nelson.

World premiere, New Zealand Festival performance of Requiem for the Fallen, a collaborative project with Ross Harris, Vincent O’Sullivan, Choirs Aoteoroa and Horomona Horo.

NZ Festival performance of Tales from the Forbidden City, a collaborative project with the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra Beijing, followed by Chamber Music NZ tour of Tales from the Forbidden City to three national centres.

World premiere of works by aspiring young New Zealand composers Tabea Squire, Karlo Margetic and Natalie Hunt.

Body Beautiful tribute concert, including the performance and recording of Jack Body’s works at the New Zealand School of Music.

Performances at Huria Marae, Tauranga for the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Gate Pa.

Four centre summer tour to North America, including recording of Brahms Quartets in Toronto under the Naxos label.

Invitation concert at Parliament hosted by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Christopher Finlayson.

Three performances in the Matariki inspired Te Ao Marama The World of Light, presented by Chamber Music NZ and Museum of Wellington City and Sea.

Thirteen group and individual performances in the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Townsville.

Performances at Dunedin Festival, including Ross Harris’s Requiem for the Fallen with Voices NZ Chamber Choir and Gao Ping’s Quintet.

UK concert tour, including performances in Sheffield and Manchester with violist Peter Cropper and at the Leicester International Music Festival.


Eleven performances in the biennial 12th Adam Chamber Music Festival, Nelson.

Violist Gillian Ansell performed with Melbourne Symphony as acting Principal Viola.

Performances at the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, Australia.

Helene Pohl invited to adjudicate on the panel of 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

Mantis Jazz Project in collaboration with Reuben Bradley, John Psathas, Matt Penman, Roger Manins and James Illingworth, honouring the music of the late Drew Menzies, in Wellington and Nelson Jazz Festivals.

Eight concert international tour to North America including performances at five festivals in Canada.

Performance in TEDx with taonga pūoro composer Richard Nunns.

Eight centre Bravo Britten! national tour honouring the centenary of English composer Benjamin Britten’s birth.

Five day residency at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.

World premiere of ‘Wordless Mantras’  for violin duo and Tibetan singing bowl by composer-pianist Gao Ping at Confucius Institute, Victoria University.

Groundbreaking tour to Europe and Scandinavia, including first time performances in Sweden.

Partnership project with the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra , ‘Tales from the Forbidden City’, at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing.


Major national tour of BEETHOVEN! the Complete String Quartets cycle – a three-series tour to 20 centres in partnership with Chamber Music New Zealand and the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, including live-streaming all six programmes to audiences around the world.

The Kings Place, London project. A week-long series of events in London curated by the New Zealand String Quartet, featuring New Zealand arts and artists.

European tour to Ireland, Slovenia, Croatia and the Netherlands.

Week-long concert tour to the Jeju Isles Festival in South Korea.

Five-centre tour to the United States and Canada.

Five-concert tour of UK summer festivals.

Performed concerts at the New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington, featuring works by Barber, Shostakovich, Harris and a collaboration with New Zealand baritone Jonathan Lemalu premiering a new Gao Ping work.

Opening performance at the Leipzig Book Fair as part of the New Zealand as Country of Honour programme for the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, in concert with New Zealand soprano Madeleine Pierard.

Residencies in Australia at the International Chamber Music Festival, Canberra and Crossbows Festival, Brisbane.

Performed and recorded the Lyell Cresswell Concerto for String Quartet with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Recorded Douglas Lilburn’s string ensemble works in Toronto for the Naxos label.

Released new CD Asian Music for String Quartet on the Naxos label.

Celebrated the New Zealand String Quartet’s 25th Anniversary with an event at New Zealand’s Parliament House.

Tutored and mentored 25 young musicians at the annual Adam Summer School in Nelson.


Released CD of music by New Zealand composers, Notes from a journey, on the Atoll label, winning a ‘Tui’ for Best Classical Album in the New Zealand Music Awards.

Nine concert tour of UK summer music festivals including two concerts at the City of London Festival.

Ten city New Zealand tour with soprano Jenny Wollerman, two programmes including Schoenberg’s String Quartet No 2 and Ross Harris’s The Abiding Tides.

New Zealand tour with pianist Péter Nagy of two programmes of Hungarian-inspired music including Bartok, Brahms, Liszt and Ligeti.

Two concert debut at Ten Days on the Island Festival in Tasmania, Australia with Taonga Puoro musician, Richard Nunns.


Released third of three CDs of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets on the Naxos label.

Residency at International Chamber Music Festival, Canberra.

New Zealand six city tour of two programmes of music by Schumann and Shostakovich.

Ten city New Zealand tour of “Schubertiade” with pianist Michael Houstoun.

Six city tour of two programmes of music by Schumann and Shostakovich.

Nine city North American tour including concerts with guest artist James Campbell, clarinet.


Released second of three CDs of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets on the Naxos label.

US tour including debut in Library of Congress series.

North American tour of summer festivals and series including Parry Sound and Ottawa Festivals.

Performance of the Mendelssohn Octet in collaboration with the St Lawrence String Quartet.

New Zealand ten-centre tour of multidisciplinary performance of Haydn’s Seven Last Words from the Cross.

New Zealand six city tour of two programmes to celebrate Haydn bi-centenary.


Released first of three CDs of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets on the Naxos label.

July tour of Canadian summer festivals and series. Nine concert tour of Europe including Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic.

New Zealand six city tour of French composers with pianist Michael Houstoun.


Tours to United States and Canada. Debut appearance at Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, Queensland.

Released CD of String Quartets by Alban Berg and Hugo Wolf on Naxos label.

New Zealand six city tour of two-concert series of music by Bach and Mendelssohn, including a new arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for string quartet.


Tours to Korea, North America and Mexico, including two concerts at Festival International Cervantino, Guanajuato.

National tour of Mozart’s six “Haydn” string quartets to mark 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, and release of souvenir “live” CD of tour.


Return to The Wigmore Hall, London, as part of European tour to England, Scotland, Germany and The Netherlands.

National tour of NZ included performances of George Crumb's Black Angels.


10 year anniversary of musicians in current formation.

Performance of Mozart and Brahms string quintets with German violist Hariolf Schlichtig.


New York debut at The Frick Collection.

Released CD of Szekely and Dvorak Opus 51 String Quartets on Atoll Label.


Released CD of Beethoven Rasumovsky Quartets Opus 59 no 2 & 3 on Atoll Label.


Performance of complete cycle of Beethoven’s String Quartets in 7 centres throughout New Zealand to public and critical acclaim (Wellington, Auckland, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay, Dunedin, Christchurch, Hamilton).


London debut at The Wigmore Hall.

Released Owhiro String Quartets of Gareth Farr on Trust Label.


Released CD of Debussy & Ravel String Quartets on Atoll Label.

Premiered Zoltan Szekely’s recently discovered 1937 String Quartet at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada.

Performance of the Mendelssohn Octet in collaboration with the Goldner Quartet from Australia.


Released Bartok’s complete cycle of six String Quartets on Manu/BMG label.


Performance of Brahms String Sextet op 18, in collaboration with violist Katherine Murdoch and cellist Euan Murdoch (standing in at one day's notice for an indisposed Paul Katz (ex-Cleveland Quartet).


Performance of complete cycle of Bartok’s six String Quartets in 6 centres throughout New Zealand (Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Hamilton); including all 6 quartets performed in one day in Hamilton.


Helene Pohl joins as first violinist.

Rolf Gjelsten joins as cellist.


NZSQ appointed Quartet-in-Residence at Victoria University of Wellington.


Maureen Revell employed as Manager to provide dedicated administrative support to the Quartet.


Douglas Beilman joins as second violinist.

Gillian Ansell (founding member) changes from second violin to viola.

Music Federation of New Zealand hands over responsibility for the NZSQ to the newly-formed New Zealand String Quartet Trust


The Quartet gives its first public concerts, including a tour for the Music Federation of New Zealand's associate societies.


New Zealand String Quartet established under the auspices of the Music Federation of New Zealand (later to become Chamber Music New Zealand). Foundation members are Wilma Smith (1st violin), Gillian Ansell (2nd violin), Sandro Costantino (viola) and Josephine Young (cello).

The Quartet gives its first performance at Bruce Greenfield's house in Oriental Bay, Wellington in December.

The New Zealand String Quartet Gratefully Acknowledges its sponsors and funders

Principal funder
Annual Series Sponsor
Adam Summer School Sponsor
Touring Sponsor
Wine Sponsor
Chair Patron - Cello Chair
Community Sponsor