Prior to her commitments to NZTrio, Justine developed a notable orchestral career, for many years as Sub-Principal 1st Violinist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and culminating in her position as Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia. She appears regularly as a recitalist, concerto soloist, recording artist and adjudicator, with some recent highlights being her involvement on the international judging panel of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, and the release of a Douglas Lilburn Duos recording with pianist Michael Houstoun.A graduate of the University of Canterbury, Justine also holds a Master of Music degree (San Francisco Conservatory) and a Doctorate of Musical Arts (State University of New York at Stony Brook). She has taught violin at Wellington’s Victoria University and held a position as violin lecturer at The University of Auckland. Justine plays an 1868 J B Vuillaume violin.
In his student years, Ashley won the Young Musicians Competition, National Concerto Competition and Young Achievers Award plus prizes at the Adam International Cello Competition, Gisborne International Music Competition and the ROSL Music Competition in London. His academic history includes the Master of Music (Canterbury), Artist Diploma (Yale) and Doctor of Musical Arts (Auckland), plus cello lecturer positions at the universities of Waikato, Canterbury and Auckland. He was a member of the Turnovsky Trio and Principal Cellist of the Auckland Philharmonia. These days, Ashley keeps a busy schedule of solo and ensemble recitals, concertos and recording and enjoys close collaborative relationships with musicians across the spectrum of genres. He plays the 1762 William Forster “Liberte” cello.
Sarah Watkins has enjoyed an impressive career as chamber musician, collaborative partner and recording artist, performing throughout Japan, England and the United States with some of America’s leading instrumentalists. She holds both a Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters in collaborative piano from the Juilliard School in New York City, and a Bachelors from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Academic highlights include coordinating the collaborative piano programme at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and working for several years on the music faculty of Purchase College, New York. As a United States resident for fourteen years, Sarah was a staff pianist at Juilliard, Yale University and the Aspen Music Festival.