Ashley Brown (cello), Amalia Hall (violin), Somi Kim (piano)
Described as a “national treasure” and “New Zealand’s most indispensable ensemble” (William Dart, NZ Herald), NZTrio is renowned for its eclectic repertoire, outstanding talent and warm kiwi stage presence. The trio smashes outmoded preconceptions of classical music being stuffy or intimidating by presenting a fresh and approachable style that appeals to listeners from all walks of life. Every NZTrio performance reaffirms the importance of a live musical experience in today’s digital world. The group curates a powerful audience experience by pairing intimate, acoustically dynamic venues with unique and engaging musical programmes that challenge, move and inspire.
NZTrio is a respected ambassador of contemporary New Zealand music and holds a remarkable track record of over 50 new commissions to date (more than 2/3 from NZ composers). They showcase those commissions in concerts around the country and overseas, and across all of their recordings, matching them with other fascinating contemporary works and the old familiar masterpieces. The trio has proudly featured at least one New Zealand composition in every concert throughout its 17 year history.
NZTrio has established two educational programmes that reach out to young musicians and composers: NZTrioLive! a high schools programme that gives young people a behind-the-scenes practical introduction on how to turn their passions into a profession, and the biennial NZTrio Composing Competition for tertiary composition students in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin.
Critical acclaim for the group extends to a Tui for Best Classical Artist at the 2017 Vodafone NZ Music Awards, two citation awards: the KBB Music/CANZ citation (2012) and the Lilburn Trust Citation (2017) – both for outstanding services to New Zealand Music, as well as an ever-expanding catalogue of recorded work. Recent CD releases under the Rattle label include Lightbox (2015), Sway (2016), and Vicissitudes (2016) – a jazz-meets-classical collaboration with the Mike Nock Trio, and a finalist for Best Jazz Album in the 2017 New Zealand Jazz Awards.
The trio enthusiastically welcomes collaborative opportunities from across the arts spectrum such as animated film (David Downes, 2009), contemporary dance (New Zealand Dance Co., 2012/2013), theatre (Massive Co., 2013), voice (tenor Simon O’Neill, 2016) as well as cross-cultural musical works with masters of Maori taonga puoro, Chinese guzheng, and Cambodian traditional instruments. They have captivated music-lovers throughout New Zealand, Australia, Asia, South America, the USA, Europe and Scandinavia – the most recent highlights being a poignant tour of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with UK clarinettist Julian Bliss (2016 & 2018), and building on multiple return visits to China – a significant cross-cultural project to record and extensively tour 9 new piano trios by Chinese composers (2017 & 2018).
Recently the trio has been in a fascinating period of transition, with founding cellist Ashley Brown inviting an amazing array of talented guest musicians to join him on stage. This follows the departure in 2017 of the group’s founding violinist Justine Cormack and then in the following year founding pianist Sarah Watkins. Now NZTrio is thrilled to begin a new era with the appointment of two new permanent members Amalia Hall (violin) and Somi Kim (piano). For more information on individual musicians please visit our musician bios page here.
Photography by Garth Badger