Supported by generous help from the Adam Foundation

Engaging lunchtime concert by woodwind students

By , July 23, 2014
Five students under head of winds Deborah Rawson at the school of music gave a delightful recital on a cold day which saw a slightly smaller audience than usual at St Andrew’s. As usual the standard of the performances was remarkable, resulting in several revelations of unfamiliar music. The first was a movement from Saint-Saëns’s clarinet sonata, one of his last pieces, written in the year of his death. Hannah... read more

Jian Liu at the piano – visionary programming, extraordinary playing

By , July 21, 2014
I missed whatever printed or spoken announcement had alerted others to the re-arrangement of the programme order - so that when Jian Liu began his Classical Expressions recital with William Byrd instead of Sofia Gubaidulina, I experienced a kind of reverse apoplexy! I had girded my loins in preparation for a Slavic onslaught of sorts, and was thus completely and disconcertingly rendered helpless by the gentle Tudor-English melancholy of... read more

NZSO National Youth Orchestra 2014 tackles showpieces with a will

By , July 18, 2014
This year the NZSO National Youth Orchestra is fifty-five years young - it's a Gilbertian kind of paradox that the orchestra seems, with each passing season, just as youthful, energetic, enthusiastic and capable as ever!  Here on Friday evening last week were some of New Zealand's finest young musicians brought together in the time-honoured manner for a short rehearsal period, before shaping up for their first concert in Wellington's... read more

NZ Opera’s LA TRAVIATA charms in Wellington

By , July 11, 2014

(subsequent performances 13th, 15th, 17th, 19th July)

Call it what you will - an operatic masterpiece, a tried-and-trusted favorite, or a sure-fire tear-jerker - La Traviata again exerted its considerable emotional and theatrical "pull", this time on the hearts and minds of an appreciative audience at the St James' Theatre on Friday evening. This was opening night of the production's Wellington season, the Opera Company having first taken the show to... read more

Gunter Herbig at Old St.Paul’s – the next best thing to a siesta……

By , July 8, 2014
Gunter Herbig strode into the performing-space of Old St.Paul's radiating waves of energy and purpose, as if he was about to perform some kind of feat considerably more spectacularly death-defying than give a guitar recital of music from South America. He thanked us all for "braving the elements" in coming to the church to see and hear him play, and hoped that we would, by the end of the... read more

Scandinavian and New Zealand players unite wonderfully for the two greatest clarinet quintets

By , July 6, 2014
I understand that the Waikanae Music Society asked for and got a programme other than those that the promoters of the New Zealand tour (Chamber Music New Zealand) was offering. Both Chamber Music Hutt Valley and Wellington Chamber Music settled for either the Mozart or the Brahms plus ‘fillers’ in the first half. This concert was first advertised as the Antithesis Quintet, which might have referred to the programme, sub-titled... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra – nostalgia, high spirits and adventure

By , July 6, 2014
Perhaps it's awfully "New Age" of me - but I do like to make up some kind of all-purpose phrase to use as a heading, when writing a review of any concert. It actually provides a framework upon which one can hang aspects of an overall purpose for the music-making, even if it's largely in the ear of this particular listener as it were. Of course, this "ear of... read more

Dalecarlia Clarinet Quintet – getting the music through….

By , July 3, 2014
"A concert tour of the new and old from the northern and southern hemispheres" was the entirely apt, refreshingly hype-free description of the undertaking which produced this concert at Lower Hutt earlier this month - Anna McGregor, New  Zealand-born clarinetist, was originally supposed to tour New Zealand with the Antithesis Quintet, a group she had founded in 2010 while studying and working in Sweden. Due to injury incapacitating one... read more

Baroque Voices – resplendent 20th birthday offerings

By , June 28, 2014
Wellington's Baroque Voices celebrated twenty years of music-making with a concert on the last Saturday of June given in the same inaugural venue, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, in Hill St., Wellington - a splendid place for music-making by vocal ensembles. It was a truly epic and resplendent affair - perhaps a trifle overlong for listeners and performers alike, though the presentation certainly succeeded in bringing to the fore... read more

NZSO under Venezuelan conductor triumphs with essential German and Russian masterpieces

By , June 27, 2014
A couple of highly promising young musicians whose existence have so far escaped my attention appeared with the NZSO on Friday.  Rafael Payare is the product of Venezuela’s Sistema musical organisation that involves young people seriously in classical music, and has already given rise to one of the most illustrious young conductors, Gustavo Dudamel. Payare is obviously following a similar path. He is married to Alisa Weilerstein, the cello soloist... read more

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