Acclaimed as a musician of “unimpeachable artistry”, Ashley Brown is one of New Zealand’s leading soloists, collaborators, chamber musicians and recording artists. He is a founder of NZTrio and a passionate advocate for New Zealand music. His teachers have included Alexander Ivashkin, Aldo Parisot and William Pleeth helping him to success in auditions, competitions and awards, both local and international. His musical curiosity has led him from an Artist Diploma at Yale to a Doctorate of Musical Arts exploring the collaborative relationship between composer and performer, and onward to sharing the stage with composers and artists as diverse as Dame Gillian Whitehead, Moana Maniapoto, Michael Houstoun, Kristian Jaarvi and Neil Finn and he continues to enjoy a musical career that leaves no colour of the musical spectrum unexplored. Ashley plays the 1762 William Forster ‘Liberte’ cello.
Andrew has been described as a “virtuoso soloist” (San Francisco Classical Voice), as possessing a “glorious string tone” (Strad Magazine), as a performer displaying “accuracy and subtle charisma” (Boston Globe), and as a “musical gift” (New York Times). He has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia, and his performances have been broadcast on NHK Japan, Vietnamese television, CBC Radio-Canada, Minnesota Public Radio, Vermont Public Radio, WQXR New York, Radio NZ Concert FM and ABC Classic FM. As a soloist, he has performed with leading orchestras in Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Boston, Birmingham (UK), Catania, Auckland and Hamilton, with conductors including Gil Rose, Joseph Silverstein, Victor Feldbrill, Eckehard Stier and Giordano Bellincampi. As a chamber musician, he has performed at the Banff, Orford, Domaine Forget, Tanglewood, Aspen, Music@Menlo, Prussia Cove and Akaroa festivals, and has appeared in concert with Midori and members of the Emerson String Quartet. Contemporary music has played a large role in Andrew’s musical life, and he has worked closely with some of the leading composers of our time on their solo and chamber works, including Pierre Boulez, Mario Davidovsky, György Kurtág and Steve Reich. Outside his busy performing schedule, Andrew teaches both privately and at the University of Auckland. He frequently serves as a judge for competitions and scholarship funds throughout New Zealand, including the selection panel for the prestigious Michael Hill International Violin Competition. Humanitarian and outreach concerts have also played an important role in his musical output, and through such endeavours he was awarded a U.S. Congressional Commendation in 2006. Born in Vancouver in 1982, Andrew’s principal teachers were Lawrie Hill, Gwen Thompson, Gerald Stanick, Ani Kavafian and Donald Weilerstein. He holds a BA magna cum laude from Stony Brook University and an MM and GD from the New England Conservatory of Music. He served as a performing and teaching fellow at Carnegie Hall and the Juilliard School from 2007-2008, and from 2008-2013 held the position of assistant principal 2nd violin with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Andrew has proudly been concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra since 2014, and has appeared as guest concertmaster with the Symphony Orchestras of Melbourne, City of Birmingham and Vancouver. Andrew performs on a J.B. Vuillaume violin from 1845, and a J.J. Martin bow from 1880.
New Zealand pianist Stephen De Pledge has given concerto performances with the Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras, and performed internationally from London to New York, Tokyo and Shanghai. His discography for Naxos, Champs Hill Records, Quartz, Black Box and others includes the first recordings of works by Bliss, Gorecki, and Arvo Pärt, for whom he made the world premiere recording of the piano sonatinas. In addition to his solo recordings Stephen’s discography includes song cycles by Ned Rorem and Samuel Barber, chamber music of Messiaen, Shostakovich and Schnittke and the premiere recording of Cresswell’s  piano concerto. Stephen has broadcast for Radio 3 and Classic FM in the UK, on radio in USA, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden, and for BBC Television.  Since 2010 Stephen has taught piano at the School of Music, University of Auckland. Stephen performed as a guest musician with NZTrio in 2018 in a range of programmes: Messaien’s Quartet for the End of TimeAustralian tour, the NZTrio 2018 Loft Series 2 – Braid, and Exotica at various festivals throughout New Zealand.
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