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25 October 2017 / News
It was wonderful to connect with so many of our Q-notes readers while touring the country on this year’s Dangerous Liaisons tour. After all, the word liaisons is French for connections and, for us, the connections we make with our audiences – though usually not dangerous! - are fundamental to our whole raison d’etre (if you’ll pardon more French!).
The tour theme allowed us to weave together contrasting works that each projected an intensity of passion borne out of a personal love affair, requited or unrequited. For many, the less familiar works by Bartok, Janacek and Jack Body were the standouts, while for others it was the well-known voices of Beethoven, Schumann and Mendelssohn that spoke to them directly. Peter Mechen, writing for Middle C, had this to say in his review:
“…having heard and seen the ensemble perform many times over the years I've come to expect a kind of base-line intensity brought to whatever they play, which invariably makes for thrilling results - here, it seemed to me that Janacek's creative spirit had been spontaneously re-ignited in performance, engulfing us in a veritable tide of raw emotion, which was surely what the composer intended!"
For Rolf, an undoubted highlight was playing accordion in Jack Body’s Saetas:
"In Jack’s Saetas, religious fervor is the driving force - this highly dramatic music is essentially ‘opera for string quartet’, such is the depth and range of expression. Having the accordion on hand for Saetas inspired us to form a klezmer band for our encore, requiring more swapping of instruments, with Gillian on violin, Monique on viola, and Helene on cello, in a rousing version of Ross Harris’s Narish."
Touring gives us the opportunity to interact with children in schools and music programmes around the country and this year we played for a total of 1080 school children at Arrowtown Primary, Wakatipu High School (Queenstown), Ashburton Intermediate, Papatoetoe South School and St Teresa’s School in Featherston. We also performed with, and for, around 150 young string players, almost exclusively from Maori and Pacific Island backgrounds in Northland (Sistema Whangarei), South Auckland (Tironui Music Trust) and Taita, Lower Hutt (Arohanui Strings).
We can’t say thank you enough to all the sponsors and funders who made the tour possible – in particular the Turnovsky Endowment Trust, Nelson Pine, Cloudy Bay Vineyards, the Lion Foundation, Foundation North, the New Zealand Community Trust and, last but not least, Creative New Zealand.
17 December 2018 / NewsWe're delighted to announced the appointment of our new General Manager, Sarah Chesney. Sarah will start this month part-time and take up the role full-time at the beginning of 2019. She replaces Christine Argyle who has been enticed to return to her first musical love as CEO of the New... Read More
17 December 2018 / NewsOur 4-week US/Europe/UK tour has just ended with two all-Beethoven concerts in the UK: one in Luton, and the other in London at the historic Conway Hall. Read More
15 October 2018 / NewsThe Guarneri family, including five very famous violin-makers within three generations, is the most distinguished family of luthiers in history. Andrea Guarneri, who studied in Cremona with Nicolò Amati (the maker of Gillian’s viola), was the father of Giuseppe and Pietro, and the grandfather of two more makers - confusingly,... Read More