Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Opera with energy and excitement – Eternity Opera Company’s Don Giovanni at the Hannah Playhouse

By , 20/08/2016

The name “Eternity Opera” is itself a splendid gauntlet-brandishing gesture, an assertive declaration of overall purpose and intent, reinforced by a note in the programme for Saturday night’s opening of the new company’s season of “Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”–  firstly, “to stage productions that are exciting and accessible to anyone” and, just as importantly, “to support the many talented singers and musicians in the Wellington region”. Judging by what... read more

Lunchtime gatherings of delight, adventure and enchantment with pianist Ya-Ting Liou

By , 17/08/2016
Lunchtime concerts are strange beasties, compared with more conventionally-presented evening concerts – they’re almost always shorter, and because of their mid-day aspect catch people who attend in an entirely different frame of mind to that which would surround an evening concert. Of course many people who are there have retired from working or have a differently consitituted agenda to someone who’s midway through a working day. But nevertheless it’s... read more

Renaissance of the song recital heralded with Poulenc and ‘Songbook’ at St Andrew’s

This time, pianist Catherine Norton, the promoter of Songbook, took a rest from the piano.  Seasoned accompanist extraordinaire Bruce Greenfield did the honours. The concert was but an hour long, and concentrated on one composer instead of the many composers featured in April’s concert.  Despite the promoter’s title for the group, this concert featured woodwind music, beloved of a number of French composers, as well as song.  With top musicians... read more

Gems from the tutors at the Aroha String Quartet’s music academy

By , 10/08/2016
The Aroha String Quartet is more than ten years old and has, through two or three personnel changes, become an important feature in Wellington’s musical scene. They take their position seriously, now contributing to the teaching, coaching and support of young (and adult, non-professional) musicians. The Academy takes place at St Andrew’s between 9 and 14 August, with two public concerts on Sunday the 14th. The coaching is done by... read more

Piano quartets from Diedre Irons and NZSO string principals

By , 07/08/2016
There was little doubt that a piano quartet comprising three of the principals in the NZSO plus one of the most admired New Zealand pianists would produce a delightful concert. And the composers to be played were further assurance of a couple of rewarding hours. That expectation could withstand the unknown quantity of the first piece, by Schubert. Written aged 19 and therefore, in Schubert’s case, the work of a... read more

NZSO and Christiane Libor in wonderful Strauss songs and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony

By , 06/08/2016
It might have been possible to blame a rival entertainment or the wet and chilly weather for the rather loosely packed audience for a concert that I’d expected to have a ‘full house’ notice at the door. One might also wonder whether it’s a reflection on the slow decline of musical tastes, and that those of us who were brought up with a certain amount of great music in... read more

Diverting, accomplished, baroque concert from Auckland’s NZBarok on a cold night

Formerly known as AKBarok, this Auckland group was making its first visit to Wellington, though it has been in existence for 14 years!  It was a welcome visit, with an audience almost filling the downstairs and half-filling the gallery at St. Andrews, this despite the night being wet and perhaps the coldest of the year.  It was a pleasure to find the gallery open; it is not always for... read more

The New Zealand String Quartet – a “new look” ensemble….

By , 05/08/2016
Having gotten so used to the familiar line-up of faces, performing aspects and collaborative interactions which for such a long time “were” the New Zealand String Quartet, one found oneself, to one’s surprise, initially unnerved by the prospect of experiencing a change in the order of things – especially in view of the long-term and all-round excellence of the ensemble. Of course, it stood to reason that the group... read more

Second of New Zealand String Quartet’s 12-concert tour in fine auditorium of Porirua’s Pataka museum

In the Quartet’s Heartland Classics tour, a number of smaller venues are being visited.  This was the second on the 11-centre tour.  It attracted an audience of approximately 100; the outstanding programme and playing received generous applause from those present.  It was good to see some children there. The programme began with one of Mozart’s ‘Haydn’ Quartets.  In her remarks, Gillian Ansell informed us that the first performance was played... read more

Cellist Rebecca Turner with intriguing and entertaining music on carbon-fibre cello

By , 03/08/2016
There are certain benefits in forming habits, and the weekly lunchtime concerts at St Andrew’s are among the less sinful of what I’m prepared to confess to. Well, there was the weather. But I was there and though we (Middle C Incorporated) had not assigned the reviewing to anyone, Rebecca Turner’s performance of a totally unknown composer soon had me reaching for pen and notebook. It was by a composer... read more

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