May-June Madness

22 June 2017 / News

Since arriving back from our European tour in April, the past two months have been ‘crazy busy’ but thoroughly stimulating and satisfying as well.

May began with an informal performance for Chamber Music New Zealand at one of their Classical Sessions at The Third Eye craft brewery in Wellington – a great initiative of theirs to take classical artists to new audiences and an opportunity for us to play as individuals and in different ‘combos’. Monique’s performance of Grab It! for violin and soundtrack by Jacob TV was a standout.  Helene took off to Auckland the next day to join a panel of judges for the Auckland University Concerto Competition in the Auckland Town Hall and then we were straight into rehearsals with Kathryn Stott for our 7-centre Chamber Music New Zealand tour. Helene sums up the thoughts of us all when she says: 

A wonderfully creative artist, Kathryn was a delight to perform with.  Each performance flowed differently and we loved bouncing off her beautiful and varied sound. She’s also lovely to be around and we shared lots of stories and belly laughs, as well as a hilarious late night in the motel room after our final concert, celebrating Gill’s birthday in fine style on the actual day.

The day after our final concert with Kathryn we went straight into the dress rehearsal with the Royal New Zealand Ballet for Cacti, as part of their Three by Ekman tour. It was great to reprise this piece and to be able to work once again with the inspiring dancers of the RNZB. Rolf says:

This is the third year in a row I’ve had the pleasure of performing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (and the second year for the NZSQ).  My colleagues and I have been awe-inspired by the grace, virtuosity, discipline, work ethic, maturity, playfulness and camaraderie of these dancers, some still in their teens!  It’s been a joy and a privilege to share our artistry with the dancers on stage and to work with this treasured ballet company and its choreographers.

The Ballet tour took us to Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin with a total of 20 performances but still left us time during the day to squeeze in a few other activities, including coaching secondary chamber music groups in Auckland, giving a lunchtime concert at Auckland University’s School of Music, an open rehearsal at the Auckland Art Gallery, and running the NZSM Queen’s Birthday chamber music weekend for secondary school chamber music groups in Wellington.  As if that wasn’t enough, Rolf recorded the solo cello part in Gareth Farr’s Dear Horizon with the NZ Army Band (the piece he played in the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute tour in 2015) and Gillian performed as part of an ensemble for the chamber rounds of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

The Ballet tour ended on 15 June and over the next two days we gave three performances in Wellington and Porirua as part of Chamber Music New Zealand’s celebration of Matariki, Te Oro o ngā Whetū: The Echo of the Stars. Monique writes:

Chamber Music New Zealand's celebration of Matariki was my first experience of this important event in Maori culture. For me it was a rare opportunity to hear many Maori instruments, including the putatara and poiawhiowhio, coupled with the voice of Ariana Tikao.  From the opening performance from the young players in Virtuoso Strings through to the final piece that brought us all together, it was a truly magical experience which was wonderful to perform in and be a part of!

To cap off all this hyper-activity, Monique gave a lunchtime concert in Wellington this week with her partner Naoto Segawa – a wonderful mix of works for violin and marimba. Will we be putting our feet up for a while now? With an international tour in July and a national tour in August and September, somehow that seems unlikely…



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