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25 August 2015 / News
Well-received Nelson and Blenheim concerts at the weekend have successfully launched our Russian Icons tour. Amongst all the wonderful comments, this is our favourite so far: "My first time to see and hear a Quartet. AWESOME - I could hear every instrument. I think I will get some lessons - never too old, eh?"
Our annual concert series is on the road now and continues through to mid-September. We’re visiting 12 centres throughout New Zealand, from Kerikeri to Geraldine, with our Russian Icons concerts.
The van was loaded to the gunnels last weekend with instruments, suitcases, programmes, boxes of Russian fudge and a roulette wheel… not to mention the four of us plus our manager Christine at the wheel (of the van, that is, not the roulette!). Of course, the cello has to have its own seat too, so there was no room to swing a cat (not that we were planning to…).
Our first concert of the series was in the stunning surroundings of the Cloudy Bay vineyard. The elegant table settings in the Treehouse created a lovely atmosphere that was at the same time sophisticated yet relaxed.
Performing in the middle of the room, with the tables all around us, enabled us to really get ‘up close and personal’ with our audience and prompted one person to write: "To be so close to the Quartet was fantastic; the position, centred in the room, allowed us to be 'involved'. Tremendous."
This was our first opportunity to try out the roulette wheel as well and it went down a treat with our audience. Names were drawn out of a box to select those who would spin the wheel, and it certainly put us on our mettle and lent a certain edge to the performance, since we had no way of knowing what we’d be playing next!
After the concert, we had the added bonus of staying in The Shack, an architecturally designed guesthouse on the property in which every detail has been beautifully thought-out. With a glass of Cloudy Bay wine and a pot-belly fire blazing, it was the perfect way to wind down after our first concert of the tour.
The next day it was over the hill to sunny Nelson, where the weather didn’t disappoint. It’s always such a pleasure to return to Nelson, which has become a home-away-from-home for us over the many years that we have been running the Adam Summer School there and performing in the Adam Chamber Music Festival. No roulette wheel in this concert, but the audience members were no less engaged, with one person writing: “Totally enjoyable – wonderful playing – top class.”
We’re looking forward to performances this week in Wanganui, Napier, Porirua and Featherston, and more to come over the following weeks in Kerikeri, Devonport, Auckland, Christchurch, Geraldine and Wellington.
We’re also fitting in some workshops and performances in schools while we’re on the road, including workshops for Sistema Aotearoa in South Auckland and Whangarei, a workshop for the Tironui Music Trust in Papatoetoe and four performances of Scary Music, a newly commissioned work for children with text by Joy Cowley and music by Gareth Farr (you can read more about that in this edition of Q-notes).
This will be our last New Zealand tour with Doug (see the article on Doug’s departure) and although we’re not farewelling him yet (he’ll still be with us until the end of the year), we hope our audiences will take the opportunity to wish him well after the performances – he’ll be happy to sign CDs too!
28 February 2018 / NewsAmerican pianist Diane Walsh will be in New Zealand in March 2018 and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to perform with her in concerts for Auckland University and Chamber Music Wanganui. Diane is a former prizewinner in the Ferruccio Busoni, Van Cliburn and Salzburg Mozart competitions and highlights of... Read More
28 February 2018 / NewsWe're delighted to be working with Rob Thorne for our NZ Festival performance of Te Ao Hou | This New World. Rob is a leading exponent of traditional Maori instruments (known as taonga pūoro or 'singing treasures') and is currently Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music. Read More
28 February 2018 / NewsWe’re super-excited to introduce the newest member of the NZSQ – an Amati viola, made in Cremona in 1619 by Nicolò Amati (1596-1684) and on indefinite loan to the New Zealand String Quartet. Our NZSQ violist Gillian Ansell has fallen in love with the instrument and says: Read More