Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

HK Gruber’s critique of classical music with the NZSO a hit with a younger, if smaller, audience

By , 10/10/2019

'Why serious?' the programme notes asks, presumably quoting HK Gruber. The music in this programme was meant to be fun. Gruber wanted to make music simple, approachable, and break down the demarcation between classical and popular music. Simplicity, however does not mean stupidity. Gruber's models were Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler, and their iconoclastic music of Berlin of the 1920s. So this evening's music was a long way... read more

Accomplished performances from Wellington Youth Orchestra with talented Asaki Watanabe in Bruch concerto

By , 06/10/2019
Being part of a symphony orchestra is a huge commitment for young people. It involves rehearsals every Monday evening during term time. It also requires a high degree of competence on an orchestral instrument. A full symphony orchestra needs 20-24 violins, and a corresponding number of violas, cellos and double basses as well as a full compliment of winds, brass and percussion. The Wellington Youth Orchestra mustered an almost... read more

Martinborough Music Festival – an overview of a delightful feast of chamber music

By , 29/09/2019
Martinborough is a charming, tastefully preserved and restored little country town 65 km from Wellington. Running a Music Festival there, featuring some of  New Zealand's finest musicians is an incredibly ambitious project. The festival, held this year over three days, 27-29 September, was their third. It featured Michael Houstoun, piano, Jenny Wollerman, soprano, Wilma Smith, violin and viola, Vesa-Matti Leppanen, Yuka Egochi, Amy Bookman and Alan Molina, violins, Christopher... read more

Orchestra Wellington succeeds with an odd programme of important, challenging and beautiful works

By , 21/09/2019
For a subscription concert series labelled 'Epic', that included Berlioz's Symphonie Fantasique, Bruckner's 8th Symphony, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, a concert by a string orchestra, with no major symphonic work was odd programming. It is not that Verklärte Nacht, or Beethoven's C sharp minor quartet were not worth hearing, but they were arrangements of works not written for orchestra. But let me not quibble, they are all beautiful... read more

Emotion-laden concert an appropriate response to the remembrance of the Holocaust

By , 30/07/2019
Laurence Sherr is Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Kennesaw State University, Georgia. He is a prolific and versatile composer. The son of a couple who escaped Poland just before the outbreak of the Second World War and settled in the United States, he has a strong interest in the Holocaust and Holocaust education. He lectures all over the world on Holocaust remembrance music and first came to Wellington... read more

The best drawn from Wellington Youth Orchestra in taxing programme under Donald Armstrong

By , 28/07/2019
The Wellington Youth Orchestra is the only full-size symphony orchestra for young players in Wellington. The ages of the members range from 25 to 13. They all have to go through a rigorous audition to join. The orchestra has an important place in the Wellington musical scene, not only for the varied and interesting programmes it offers, but because it is a stepping stone for young people who aspire... read more

Cheerful winds of fruitfulness blowing through St. Andrews

By , 24/07/2019
This was a concert of cheerful short pieces. Bach's Fugue is referred to a 'Little' to distinguish it from its longer and very grand 'Great Fantasia and Fugue in G minor'. Bach wrote it for the organ and it was arranged for various different groups, including a wind quintet. It requires very precise, accurate playing by each of the players. The five individual voices have to be clearly articulated and... read more

Medlyn and Greager give rewarding and intelligent recital of early 20th century songs, plus four by Vincent O’Sullivan/Ross Harris

By , 10/07/2019
A song recital by two internationally renowned singers based in Wellington is a significant musical event. The programme was like a snapshot of the music of the first half of the twentieth century across a wide range of countries, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, with a more recent item from New Zealand. The concert began with Margaret Medlyn singing Alban Berg's Seven Early Songs (1907). These songs were written under... read more

Wellington Chamber Music’s fine, imaginative violin and piano recital from Beer and Watkins

By , 07/07/2019
Andrew Beer, Concert Master of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Sarah Watkins, highly regarded chamber musician played an interesting recital in the Wellington Chamber music Sunday Concerts series. Two new New Zealand works were sandwiched in between a rarely heard sonata by Ravel and one of the most popular pieces of the violin repertoire, César Franck's violin sonata. Leonie Holmes is a prolific and versatile composer, teaching composition at the... read more

A joyful, exhilarating Barber of Seville, New Zealand Opera’s first offering of the year

By , 29/06/2019
Colourful, joyful, exhilarating are the words to describe this production of the Barber of Seville. From the very beginning of the Overture, taken at a moderate steady tempo that let every phrase be clearly articulated, we know that we are in for a treat. When the action starts with the chorus, the serenaders, horsing around it is clear that this will be an entertaining show. Almaviva, John Tessier enters... read more

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