WILMA SMITH, VIOLINISTWilma Smith is Artistic Director and violinist of Wilma & Friends, a chamber music series based in Melbourne and presenting concerts throughout Australia and New Zealand. She is also Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and teaches violin and chamber music at the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Scotch College and Korowa Anglican Girls’ School. Wilma was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. She studied in Boston at the New England Conservatory with the legendary Dorothy DeLay and Louis Krasner then was founding First Violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Award for Chamber Music and multiple prizes at the Evian, Banff and Portsmouth International String Quartet Competitions. She was Concertmaster of the Harvard Chamber Orchestra and Handel and Haydn Society and performed regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra. Invited to return home to form the New Zealand String Quartet, Wilma was First Violinist until she was appointed Concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, a position she held for nine years before moving to Melbourne to be Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2014. Wilma also appears as Guest Concertmaster with Sydney, Adelaide, West Australian, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras along with Orchestra Victoria and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. She will perform Timelight as guest violinist for NZTrio's Australian tour with UK clarinetist Julian Bliss Aug 21 - 29.
ASHLEY BROWN, CELLISTAcclaimed 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.
STEPHEN DE PLEDGE, PIANIST 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 will perform with NZTrio this year in a range of programmes: Messaien’s Quartet for the End of Time Australian tour Timelight in August, the NZTrio 2018 Loft Series 2 – Braid in September, and Exotica at various festivals throughout New Zealand in October.