Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Michael Houstoun and Friends delight at Waikanae

By , 28/06/2009


I gather that the impulse for this happy ensemble came from the Waikanae Music Society, and that its creation inspired other concert promoters to invite them to perform: the Wairarapa Music Group and Expressions Arts Centre in Upper Hutt. Wilma Smith, the first leader of the New Zealand String Quartet and now... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra – Psathas, Lilburn, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams

By , 28/06/2009
This was a richly-conceived and engagingly-presented concert from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra, the music covering a kaleidoscopic range of repertoire, with the character of each separate work explored and brought to the fore for the listener’s delight. Things are seldom what they seem, as the saying goes – and it may have appeared to the average audience member that the concert would be something of a “separate halves” affair... read more

Festival Singers – Wellington Shines!

By , 27/06/2009
  Some people might react to the expression “community music-making” with condescension bordering upon snobbery; but I can’t think of a better, more appropriate way to convey in words the remarkable scope and atmosphere of this joyous concert put on by Wellington’s Festival Singers, appropriately titled “Wellington Shines!”. A simple, cursory look at the names of some of the composers who contributed works to the concert would have been sufficient... read more

The Tudor Consort at Lower Hutt

By , 24/06/2009

This is only the second time in their 23 year history that The Tudor Consort have sung at St James’s in Lower Hutt, both occasions as part of Chamber Music Hutt Valley’s concert season. There’s a general belief that singing doesn’t agree with fans of chamber music, but here was contrary proof: I sensed that the audience was bigger than for most... read more

Orpheus Choir – Cloudburst

By , 24/06/2009
Considering that this concert was subtitled “Contemporary American Choral Classics” one could be forgiven for anticipating with great interest and perhaps some caution the kind of musical fare which was to be served up by the Orpheus Choir and their conductor Michael Fulcher. Would the music be esoteric, austere, remote and dissonant, in a ‘modern” manner, as opposed to the use a more traditional language and tonal idiom? Or... read more

Vox Serbicus: lunch at Old St Paul’s

By , 23/06/2009

I last heard Vox Serbicus in 2007 and was impressed then by their skill and their grasp of the idiom of the Serbian liturgical and folk music they sang.  Part of the reason for my enjoyment of the music, which I’d first heard from them in 2004, was the effect of trips through Serbia when I was... read more

A Mozart Double Bill – Boutique Opera and N.Z.Opera Society

By , 21/06/2009
This was my introduction to the work of “Boutique Opera”, a company whose activities are based around the studio of Wellington singing teacher, Lesley Graham, and which gives aspiring singers the chance of performing experience on stage in operas and musicals. The productions today, in collaboration with the New Zealand Opera Society, featured an adaptation of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” for young singers, and a complete performance of the... read more

Kari Kriikku and the NZSO – Second Concert

By , 20/06/2009
I must admit to having been thrilled at the NZSO’s programming of one of my all-time favourite warhorses, Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite Scheherazade in the subscription concert series, but less keen about having Tchaikovsky’s hotch-potch battle-symphony-like Overture “1812” on the same programme, mainly through having heard so many routine performances of it. Also offered was a contemporary work for clarinet and orchestra written by a Finnish composer, Jukka Tiensuu, and... read more

Bach Choir nails Elijah

By , 20/06/2009

For me, Elijah is a problematic work. In terms of its fans, it seems to draw a line in the sand between paid-up choral music groupies, particularly traditional deists, and other music lovers whose interests lie, to varying degrees, with chamber music, or orchestral music, or opera.

The latter... read more

Wellington Orchestra with Houstoun and Aivale Cole

By , 13/06/2009
Fortune is at last smiling on Wellington’s Orchestra. First, there’s the happy appointment of Marc Taddei as music director, whose instinct for attractive and rewarding programming is combined with a ready skill in communicating with an audience and sound conducting talents. Next, there was the astute decision to include the winner of the Lexus Song Contest in one of their concerts... read more

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