Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Classical concert “crowding-out” on Sunday afternoons

Back when the Wellington Chamber Music Society proposed having a series of concerts on Sunday afternoons, nearly thirty years ago, a senior person within the Music Federation (as Chamber Music New Zealand was named then) predicted it wouldn’t work; Sunday concerts had been tried and weren’t well supported.  Now, not only is the WCMS series still going, but Sunday afternoons have become almost de rigeur for classical concerts.  Sunday... read more

Quintessential chamber music – the Aroha Quartet and Andrew Joyce

By , 30/09/2012
I like to think I've long gone past the days when I would regard work x, y or z as my "favorite" symphony, concerto, sonata or whatever. Now,  whenever I'm asked about my "favorite" whatever-it-is, I go into a "gripped by bewilderment" state, born largely of the sheer range and scope of the repertoire. I admit I take refuge sometimes behind the rather glib reply that it's either the... read more

Diverting variety of opera scenes in New Zealand School of Music’s annual opera fiesta

By , 29/09/2012
This was a concert of opera scenes, arias and ensembles, a stand-in for the traditional opera production that the school of music has been mounting, with few exceptions, since the 1970s. In fact, considering that the former Polytechnic Conservatorium used also to stage an opera every year, Wellington almost always enjoyed two student productions a year, a valuable addition to the offerings (two or three a year) from the... read more

Cantatas in their proper place at St.Paul’s Lutheran

By , 29/09/2012
In presenting performances of JS Bach's sacred cantatas in their original liturgical settings, Wellington's St.Paul's Lutheran Church is unique in New Zealand. The church is part of a network of world-wide Lutheran worship offering this same ministry, including the composer's own St.Thomas's Church in Leipzig. This practice was established at St.Paul's in 2007 by Mark Whitfield,  President of the Lutheran Church in New Zealand, and Pastor at St.Paul's in Wellington... read more

Viva Viola at Lower Hutt campaigns for full recognition with both hits and misses

By , 26/09/2012
I find that I heard other embodiments of this ensemble last year, and a solo performance by Megan Ward in June. Previous experiences entertained me more than this one did, though there were things, such as the arrangement of Handel’s Fireworks Music, that I thought came off splendidly. Almost all music for a group like this must be arrangements, and so there is the risk of running foul of the... read more

Amici Ensemble in fine performances at Waikanae

An interesting programme performed by fine musicians is always an attraction – even on a gorgeously sunny, warm day in spring. The Amici Ensemble is a variable feast, under the leadership of Donald Armstrong.  This time it comprised a piano quintet, but the music played varied from three-strong, through four-strong to five-strong (no pun intended, Donald!) George Enescu’s brief Serenade was a tuneful work, well worth an airing, while the other... read more

Zephyr – breaths of fresh air

By , 23/09/2012
What a joy when one literally stumbles across a piece of music that then becomes a favorite! I didn't even know wind quintets existed when, way back during my formative music explorations in the Palmerston North Public Library (what an Aladdin's Cave of a place!) I chanced across an LP recording by the Philadelphia Wind Quintet. "Nielsen", it said on the cover - and "Barber" as well, if I... read more

Litton and Hough combine with the NZSO to present an exhilarating concert

By , 22/09/2012
To label this concert ‘Around the world in 80 minutes’ is to draw a rather long bow: every concert that includes both a New Zealand and a European work could be so called. From Egypt to Russia is not far, and Ritchie’s piece is really from Russia, after all…. But Wellington’s astute concert-goers were not misled: it was an excellent concert both on account of the programme and the performers Anthony... read more

Wellington Community Choir – delights both human and animal

By , 21/09/2012
Two years ago, I spent a rollicking, richly-conceived evening in the Town Hall with the Wellington Community Choir, on the occasion of its 5th birthday. This latest concert, in the very different surroundings of the Opera House had a separate and distinct buzz of its own, the contrast underlined by a photograph from that memorable, multi-layered 2010 event reproduced in this year's programme. This time round, the performing focus was... read more

Australian guitarist Alex Tsiboulski seduces audience with beautiful playing

Jane Curry, the New Zealand School of Music tutor in guitar, introduced the performer, his visit being enabled by sponsorship from the Australian High Commission in Wellington (though Ukrainian-born, Tsiboulski has lived in Australia since his early teens.)  We in the audience were the beneficiaries, not least in that this was a free concert.  It was a bonus to have the concert in the relative intimacy of the Adam... read more

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