Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

The year’s centenary profoundly marked with a Requiem for the Fallen: O’Sullivan and Harris

By , 28/02/2014
One of the major events in any genre in this year’s festival, this concert, involving choir, string quartet and other soloists, deserved the full house that it attracted, as well as the immediate, standing ovation at the end. The key element of course was the cantata (shall we call it, instead of a liturgical work?) that occupied the last part of the concert. The work of Vincent O’Sullivan and Ross... read more

Festival presents Shakespeare songs from two choirs in admirable literary and musical contexts

An attractive programme and renowned performers had Wesley Church pretty full, including many people sitting in the gallery; this, despite the hefty prices for a concert lasting one hour and ten minutes ($58, $38 child, $53 Friend of the Festival). The Youth Choir comprised 50 voices, and Voices New Zealand 16, with the result that at full stretch the combined choirs were very resonant in the wooden church.  A delightful... read more

Baroque guitarist Hopkinson Smith reveals a little known era of Spanish music in exquisite recital

By , 24/02/2014
This was Hopkinson Smith’s second performance in Wellington; the previous day he had played at Pataka, the museum and cultural centre in Porirua. I gather there was a full house, and a highly appreciative one. His rather memorable name has been around for many decades: I confess to thinking he was English (he was born in New York, was educated at Harvard, and long resident in Switzerland) and so there were... read more

Beethoven blazes to the front of the NZSO’s ‘Five by Five’ symphony series

By , 24/02/2014
Day One of the five concerts devoted to the great fifth symphonies by five great composers opened with a performance that promised a splendidly successful enterprise across the span of the Festival. It was hard to guess the kind of audience that might buy tickets for a concert at a different time and in a different format from usual. However, the auditorium was reasonably well filled with an audience that... read more

Lively opera debut from an ambitious new Hawke’s Bay company

By , 18/02/2014
Through the 1990s I went to most of the operas staged by Hawkes Bay Opera in the Hastings (later renamed Hawkes Bay) Opera House. The company rather declined from the early 2000s, but there has been some recovery since the return to Napier of Anna Pierard and her husband Jose Aparicio, who have been involved, Jose as artistic director and both Anna and Madeleine as principals with recent productions... read more

Fabulous and compelling evocation of times past

By , 15/02/2014
This show - an hour's worth of stunningly-wrought, cheek-by-jowl evocation by just two performers, of an episode in Wellington's musical, colonial and imperial history - is a "must see".  Writer and director Jacqueline Coats has recreated a significant colonial musical event, one presented by the "Port Nicholson Music Appreciation Society" to mark the occasion in 1840 of Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. As befitted the... read more

The two organs on display: St Andrew’s on The Terrace first off in Wellington’s concert series

By , 12/02/2014
The long-standing (since the 1970s) Wednesday lunchtime concert series from St Andrew’s on The Terrace is back in town: this was the first for 2014. And the rest of the year’s series is mapped out, though not in detail. Jonathan Berkahn has become a well-known keyboard player in Wellington since studying at Victoria University; following in the footsteps of his teacher Douglas Mews, he plays the organ as well as... read more

Scintillating Te Papa concert by National Youth Orchestra

By , 06/02/2014
Ben Northey’s name should have been familiar to me as his website ( refers to up-coming concerts that include the NZSO in November: entitled In the Hall of the Mountain King, where he will conduct Mozart’s Paris Symphony; the Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky (with cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan) and two works by Grieg. He has just conducted the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and the next six months see him... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy