NZTrio Board Member – Jack Bourke

NZTrio Board Member Jack Bourke, has always been driven by a deep commitment to community empowerment and inclusion, and a passion for the arts. Read on to find out what is behind this drive, and what he’s looking to achieve in the future.

A proud New Zealand-born Tongan, Jack has an impressive background that includes serving as CEO in the Caribbean for a global telecommunications company, where he has achieved significant professional milestones. Notably, Jack has mentored eight female CEOs as part of his remit, showcasing his dedication to fostering diversity and gender equality in leadership roles. 

 Key values such as communication, transparency, honesty, and respect have guided him throughout his career, enabling him to overcome challenges as he took a less traditional path to becoming a CEO. By letting his work and results speak for themselves, Jack has proven that perseverance and dedication can break down barriers.

A unique skill that Jack possesses is his ability to connect people and ideas, bringing together great minds to achieve remarkable outcomes. Currently, he is involved in the Symphony Centre Development in The Aotea Arts Quarter, a groundbreaking project that combines transportation-oriented development with a commitment to community and the arts sector. This initiative reflects his vision of creating synergies between the private sector and the arts, believing that arts patronage can lead to incremental commercial outcomes.

Looking to the future, Jack aspires to continue breaking down barriers for diverse communities, striving to see more representation in governance and senior corporate roles. Community has always been Jack’s source of inspiration, as he believes that true success lies in empowering others to succeed.  His journey with Digicel, witnessing the transformative impact of mobile telephony on developing nations, has reinforced his belief in accessibility for all and the importance of eradicating the digital divide in the 21st century.

Through his leadership and advocacy, Jack seeks to make a lasting impact on the arts and community, driving positive change and creating opportunities for all to thrive.

Guest Artist – Liu-Yi Retallick


Guest Artist Liu-Yi Retallick will join us for our Summer Series – Groove Cafe.


Violinist Liu-Yi Retallick joined the Auckland Philharmonia as Associate Concertmaster in 2016. Prior to moving to New Zealand, Liu-Yi spent most of her life growing up in Malaysia, before moving to Singapore to pursue her music degree. 

Whilst at university, Liu-Yi was part of a number of ensembles, with which she toured South-East Asia, and Europe. After graduating, Liu-Yi won first prize at the Singapore National Piano and Violin Competition, as well as the Malaysian Youth Foundation Competition. She then took freelance contracts with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since joining the Auckland Philharmonia, Liu-Yi has performed as a soloist with the orchestra, and taken part in numerous chamber concerts as part of the In Your Neighbourhood Series, Mt Eden Chamber Music Festival, as well as the Akaroa Music Festival. She continues to play in orchestras in Asia and Europe when her orchestra schedule allows. Liu-Yi is a current member of the Jade String Quartet and a founding member of the Dégustriō. Liu-Yi has also been a guest with chamber ensembles that have toured to New Zealand, including the Sydney Art Quartet and Sonoro Quartet.

In between bush walks and visiting the beach, a love of New Zealand gin has kept her very busy!

Summer Series – Groove Cafe

Join NZTrio for a refreshing 1 hour concert of vibrant quirky music that is bound to brighten up your summer.

Kenji Bunch | Groovebox
Tabea Squire | Der Tanz
Paul Schoenfield | Café Music

Prepare yourself to be whirled away in this toe-tapping journey through quirky rhythms, vibrant city nightlife, and the colourful spectrum of jazz. Kenji Bunch’s rhythmic Groovebox captures the essence of New York City between dusk & dawn, before NZ composer Tabea Squire leads us on a strangely off-beat dance with an “upbeat owl”, and we finish in style with Paul Schoenfield’s jazzy romp through a Minneapolis steakhouse.

Tickets $22.50 – $45 + Fees

1 hour concert with no interval

16 February 7pm
Uxbridge Theatre

18 February 7pm
Pah Homestead

Homeland Three: Dumky

The future and past collide as modern composers draw on their heritage to create something new, before we embark upon the joy and nostalgia of Dvořák’s famous “Dumky” Trio.

Prepare to be swept away by the heartfelt melodies of Novak’s dramatic one-movement ballade, written when he was simultaneously gazing back in time to traditional Czech folk melodies, yet also looking ahead to tonal modernism. Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch’s evocative Three Nocturnes showcase his Jewish heritage with staggering impressionistic beauty, before Frank Martin takes us on a rambunctious journey through popular Irish melodies that will be sure to awaken your inner dancer. We return to the sounds of Aotearoa with an exciting new work by celebrated NZ composer Ross Harris, before we embark upon the joy and nostalgia of Dvorak’s famous “Dumky” Trio, overflowing with a wealth of village songs and Czech country dances.

The Programme

Ernest Bloch | Three Nocturnes
Vitezslav Novák | Piano Trio No. 2, Quasi una ballata
Frank Martin | Trio sur des mélodies populaires irlandaises
Ross Harris |  Prendre ses rêves pour des realités (New NZTrio commission)
Antonín Dvořák | Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90 “Dumky”

Dates and Venues

3 November 7pm
Nelson Cen
tre of Musical Arts

4 November 5pm
Nathan Homestead

5 November 5pm
Waiheke Musical Museum

22 November 7pm
Lawson Field Theatre

23 November 7pm
Public Trust Hall

25 November 2pm
The Old Library

26 November 7pm
Concert Chamber
Auckland Town Hall

Composing Competition 2023: Trip the Light Fantastic!

Winners’ Concert

Sunday 8 October / 5pm
The University of Auckland School of Music Theatre

This is a free concert – koha appreciated ❤️
Donate here

Haere mai and welcome to the 2023 Winners’ Concert of NZTrio’s 5th biennial tertiary Composing Competition: Trip the Light Fantastic!

The brief this year was for applicants to create a new work inspired by this phrase and its connotations. Once again we have been heartened by the enthusiastic response by all levels of tertiary composing students and lecturers from up and down the country.

The overall standard and variety of voices within the 21 entries received was impressive, and the resulting works are truly explorative, evidencing each composer’s distinct musical language. Fourteen scores were selected to progress to the second stage, for which we held workshops in person at the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Canterbury. The works were presented and discussed, and feedback was offered, at which point the candidates had the opportunity to tweak and adjust their works before final submission. In collaboration with New Zealand composer Samuel Holloway,
we selected the six winning works that you will hear this evening.

For us, this competition is a way of having meaningful interaction with some amazingly talented students early in their careers and simultaneously offering Aotearoa’s best emerging composers invaluable exposure to a professional ensemble. As proud supporters of New Zealand music, we look forward to watching the careers of tonight’s winners (and indeed, all those who submitted works) truly blossom and flourish.

Amalia, Ashley & Somi

Guest composer: David Mason
In Search of a Voice
New work premiere, composed with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.

Growing up in the 21st century alongside the internet and social media age is a fascinating experience but also an alienating one. I have had the opportunity to be exposed to such a wide variety of cultures and ideas. However, finding your own space in this vast ocean of styles, ideas and aesthetics can be as daunting as it is exciting. In Search of a Voice directly contributes to my personal journey in finding my place in the world. Specifically my journey in 2022 to reconnect with my Māori heritage. The work embodies many of the different influences I’ve encountered in my life whilst finding ways to subtly reference Māori musical styles including Taonga Puoro and Karanga.

Cameron Monteath
University of Otago

In his 1645 poem L’Allegro, where the term trip the light fantastic was first coined, John Milton invokes the mythical figure Euphrosyne, goddess of joy, mirth and good cheer. Feelings of joy and excitement can show themselves in many different ways. Wagnisfreude (translated literally as ‘risk-joy’) ultimately seeks to explore the relationship between risk, joy, and personal growth, as well as the different types of risk we encounter — whether perilous and daring, or more personal and intimate. The outer sections of the work acknowledge the thrilling, potentially treacherous nature of risk-taking, while a slower, introspective middle section shows that joy can also reveal itself through personal risks and vulnerabilities. Meaning ‘to dance nimbly to music’ the term trip the light fantastic is further evoked through a swift waltz-like meter, which enables the element of good cheer to always act as an undercurrent to the more astringent dissonances.

Lucy Pollock
University of Otago

I’ve always had an interest in birds, so I wanted to include some birdsong in this piece. I had recently found this painting by Don Binney of a Pīpīwharauroa (shining cuckoo) flying over Te Henga (Bethells Beach). The shining cuckoo centring the painting appears like a symbol of hope, so I decided to adapt the Pīpīwharauroa’s call into the violin part. The first instance of this motif is in bars 2-5. It then appears at different intervals throughout the piece, usually to signal the beginning of a new section to the piece. This usage matches its symbolism — in Māori culture the Pīpīwharauroa represents new beginnings, as explained by the following whakataukī (Māori proverb): “ka tangi te wharauroa, ko nga karere a Mahuru,” meaning “when the shining cuckoo cries it is the messenger of Spring.”

Sebastián Rodríguez Bonil
University of Auckland
Trio Op. 10 No. 1

This work was inspired by the phrase in two different ways: a literal and a metaphorical one. The literal inspiration resulted with a rhythmic transcription of the phrase in morse code, which is used near the beginning of the piece The complex rhythms that resulted from that transcription set the base of the rhythmic style used in the first section of the song. The metaphorical one was quite different. As a composer I imagined a trip through rays of light, as if I were inside a sci-fi movie or videogame. I immediately related that with the sound of Stravinsky’s Petrushka chord, and Villa-lobos’ O Polichinelo, which led to the choice of a politonality between the black and the white keys of the piano. Rhythmically speaking, however, it reminded me of the permanent speed feeling you can get from Adams’ A Short Ride in a Fast Machine. 

Hanzhong Kang
University of Auckland
Drunk Light Dance 醉光舞 (Han-Yin Method)

The compositional method I employ is called the “HanYin Method,” which I self-created at the end of 2022. Han-Yin method is an interdisciplinary study of Microtones, Mandarin and Ancient Chinese Literature, combining 26 letters and 24 microtones. Based on this method, every letter matches its specific pitch. Following this method, the three characters “醉光舞” (Zuì Guāng Wuˇ) have formed with six pitches and a Buff note ( letter “Z” — Fermata). These six pitches have generated their own mode, harmony, and colours. This 10-minute piano trio is composed solely using these six pitches: C, C#, E, 3/4#F, #A, and B. It aims to utilize the surface form (Character) to reverse-engineer and uncover the profound essence (Poetry) through this musical “translation” method.

Nicholas Denton Protsack
Victoria University of Wellington
Keybell (Movement 1)

Inspiration is a fleeting and ephemeral thing. I have been fortunate enough to experience states of inspiration that have lasted for days or even weeks, and during these illuminating times everything seems to reveal in itself a hidden and sublime life, and the very world seems to buzz, with a deep and almost cosmic hum. Sometimes it’s as if a flash of fantastic light has struck my eyes, and what I see before me is a world different from the one I know. Sound, landscape, and emotion are all sides of the same coin in my mind, and the way I experience inspiration can be personified by all three: It is an otherworldly landscape of undulating hills and pulsing, celestial lights; of choruses of bells and a deep, glowing hum. It is the landscape I have attempted to capture and distill in my work Keybell (2023) for piano trio.

Bjorn Arntsen
University of Waikato
Pacific Notion

This composition emerges as a stream of consciousness that flows, is felt, punctuated, interrupted, shaped, and then crafted. It does not emerge from a verbal place, but from an idea of a certain time and place, namely the urban music of Aotearoa in the early part of this century, especially the sounds heard on “trips” to the clubs and arenas around the country, from electronica, dance, drum & bass to hip hop and trance. With the origin of the phrase attributed to John Milton, Pacific Notion takes several cues from Milton’s poem L’Allegro, as seen in the score; casting off gloom to embrace the delights of a glorious spring day and certainly the idea that “trip the light fantastic” is to dance nimbly or lightly to music…

Programme notes are the composers’ own words, abridged.

Ngā mihi nui! The 2023 NZTrio Composing Competition is generously supported by the Freemasons Foundation. We’re also hugely grateful to guest judge Samuel Holloway, and to all the music schools’ staff from the Universities of Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago for their generosity of support, advice and enthusiasm, without which the competition would not have been this successful.

Homeland Two – The stories behind the music

Find out the full story behind the composers and their works with our programme notes. Written specifically for NZTrio, these will give you an insight into the lives of the composers and what inspired the works in Homeland Two – Tunes from my home.

You can also read these notes as a PDF

Chen Yi (b. 1953) 

Tunes from My Home (2007)
I Introduction
II Nostalgia
III Happiness

Home for Chen Yi was the southern port city of Guangzhou. Taught piano and then violin by her parents, doctors and gifted amateurs, she and her siblings grew up playing chamber music together and learning the western musical canon by heart. Then, when she was 13, Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution intervened. Targeted as ‘intellectuals’, her father and older sister were sent away to do forced labour at work camps in the countryside; two years later she and her mother and younger brother joined them. They were forced to climb up and down a mountain carrying rocks. She recalled later that she “carried more than 100 pounds on my back, and would go up and down sometimes 20 times in a day.”

She managed to continue her musical studies in secret. She had been allowed to bring her violin with her, as long as she played only revolutionary songs to ‘inspire’ the workers. Left to herself, she practised the classical pieces she knew by heart and finally, two years later, was allowed to return to Guangzhou to take up the position of concertmaster of the Peking opera. Here, both Chinese and Western instruments were allowed, and she learned to play a number of Chinese instruments while also being steeped in the environment of composing and arranging for both. 

Finally, the Cultural Revolution came to an end, the Central Conservatory reopened after years of being closed, and in 1978 she became the first Chinese woman to graduate with a Masters in Music, from the famous ‘Class of 1978’ alongside Tan Dun, Bright

Sheng, and her future husband Zhou Long. All of them moved for further study in the USA and she has been based in the USA ever since, lately as Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, and garnering a variety of awards and distinctions including a Pulitzer nomination and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2019).

Extraordinarily prolific as a composer, her work ranges from multitudes of instrumental, chamber and choral pieces to concertos, symphonic band pieces, four symphonies and many large orchestral works, often incorporating Chinese traditional instruments and always fusing western and Chinese elements into her utterly distinctive and satisfying style. She wrote this trio for her fellow Chinese-American pianist Xun Pan at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music, and says of the piece:

“Both Xun Pan and I are Cantonese in origin and it’s natural for me to speak in my native tongue in our trio, to make him smile and feel ‘home’. I got the inspiration from the folk Cantonese Music for my work. The pitch materials of my motives are drawn from Summer Thunder, Prancing Horses, and Racing the Dragon Boat. The first movement serves as the introduction of all pitch materials, the music is happy, energetic and celebrating, with a quiet middle section featuring harmonics and lyrical counterpoint in the strings as a contrast; the second movement, Nostalgia, is a fugue in delicate and sensitive expression; and the final movement, Happiness, in the textures of dialogues and smooth moving passages, is a celebration to happy occasions, particularly to the one with the Pennsylvania Academy of Music.”


Programme note by Charlotte Wilson 2023

George Enescu (1881 – 1955)
Piano Trio A minor (1916)

I Allegro moderato
II Allegretto con variazioni
III Vivace amabile

“I remain here because I undertake to serve my country with my weapons, with my baton, my violin and my bow.” – George Enescu, 1916

Lost until 1965, this marvellous piano trio was performed only once and then lost again, emerging only in the 1990s after considerable work from Enescu scholar Pascal Bentoiu. Enescu was obviously in great haste when he wrote it. The original manuscript amounts to no more than 12 1/2 near illegible pages. It was the First World War and one of the reasons that Enescu is so much adored in Romania is that although he had been invited back to the relative safety of Paris to save his skin, he chose to stay in Romania to help, first in the old Moldovan capital of Yassy, then in Bucharest where the central school soon got turned into a military hospital. Here he worked as a nurse, in surgery, people recognising the already famous and revered musician in the harrowing accounts of what they all saw.

At the same time, he worked tirelessly to keep the musical life of Romania going. He founded a new national symphony orchestra for public concerts. He organised artistic teams to travel to all the hospitals. He rushed from place to place conducting and performing himself, and all with an unflagging energy and enthusiasm and humility that endeared him to everyone who ever met him. His student Yehudi Menuhin said that ‘Enescu gave me the light that has guided my entire existence’.

He had always been extraordinary, a prodigy who wrote his first opus ‘aged five and one quarter’, at seven the youngest student ever admitted to the Vienna Conservatoire (graduating at 12 with the silver medal), at 10, a virtuoso performing equally on violin and piano including before the Emperor Franz Joseph. He was, everybody agreed, the greatest musical phenomenon since Mozart. And he was also a quintessentially Romanian composer born at exactly the right time. An exact contemporary of Bartók, he accompanied Bartók on one of his early folk-music expeditions around Romania and Transylvania, with their wax-cylinder phonograph, learning how to charm the suspicious country folk into singing and dancing for them. Romanian folk music inflects all of Enescu’s work, including this trio which sits exactly halfway between the folkloristic forms of his youth and the more esoteric, impressionist utterances of his maturity. But there’s an important difference compared to, say, the folk music of Vaughan Williams. Where one leads back the other leads forward. Enescu’s folk music, and the folk music of Eastern Europe, was dissonant, disruptive, heavily accented and dizzyingly complex, leading to exciting new possibilities. That’s what informs the tour-de-force variations, the thrillingly virtuoso heart of this piece. 

The other influence of this trio is undeniably French. Since he was 12 years old Enescu’s other home was always in Paris, where he studied with Fauré and Massenet, encountered Impressionism and Indonesian gamelan, later in his life becoming excited by collaborations with Ravi Shankar. You hear that in the first movement, with its delicate wash of sound and subtle rhythmic shifts. Then the folk-inspired variations, always with perfect interplay between the instruments, and unabashedly romantic Fauré-like finale.


Programme note by Charlotte Wilson 2023

Victoria Kelly

Victoria Kelly is an award-winning composer, performer and producer, based in Aotearoa New Zealand.  She works across a spectrum of musical genres including contemporary classical, film and popular music. Her work has been commissioned, performed and recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, NZTrio, the New Zealand String Quartet, Stroma, Michael Houstoun and Stephen de Pledge.

As an arranger and performer she has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Neil Finn, Tami Neilson, Finn Andrews / The Veils, Don McGlashan, Anika Moa, SJD, Moana Maniapoto, and Shapeshifter. As a film composer she has written music for films by Sir Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones), Robert Sarkies (Out of the Blue) and Jonathan King (Black Sheep / Under the Mountain) among others.

In 2011 Victoria was the Music Director for the Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony – broadcast live to more than 1 billion people around the world.

About this work Victoria writes:

“My grandmother, Kitte Andreasen, was born in the Faroe Islands – a tiny basalt archipelago that nestles in the vast expanse of the North Atlantic ocean – halfway between Iceland and Norway, 18,000 kms away from Aotearoa. Kitte migrated to New Zealand with her mother and siblings in the early 1920’s, after her father – a decorated Faroese sea captain and member of parliament – was lost at sea. Our written Faroese family tree goes back to the 1500’s, although our lineage most likely extends back much further, to when the islands were first settled by Vikings and Norse Irish people in c.900 AD.

The Faroes are astonishing in their beauty and strangeness. I travelled there with my family in 2019. Their isolation is tangible, like a tone in the air. Because of their extreme climate, the islands have no trees. They are frequently bathed in dense fog which appears and disappears with miraculous speed, as if inhaled and exhaled by the sea.

In Greek mythology, Sirens lured sailors to their deaths – singing to them from islands (said to be the Sirenusas off the Amalfi coast). Sirens are often depicted in sculptures and paintings playing lyres. 

Lyres are also present in the folk traditions of Norway (the Kraviklyra), Iceland (the Langspil) and the Shetland Islands (the Gue) – the nearest bodies of land to the Faroes – as are dulcimers and bowed stringed instruments (the Hardanger).

In this piece I explore the lure of islands, and the promises and dangers they hold. I imagine the sea as a colossal lyre accompanying their voices, connecting them across vast distances – giving, claiming and transforming life, offering visions of possibility that may or may not materialise. The horizon is always in view, with more islands beyond sight.

The piece quotes a traditional Faroese hymn (Kingosangur) – Jeg Stod Mig Op En Morgenstund / I Got Up One Morning. It also explores elements of Scandinavian folk music. 

The music evokes the hypnotic rhythm of waves; the illusion of the horizon; the angularity and starkness of the Faroe islands; the rich colours of the surrounding seas; the hope of a new life and the longing for an old one; and the ways in which places (and the journeys towards those places) shape people and identity.

Lyre was commissioned by NZTrio with support from an anonymous patron, as a birthday gift for a man of the sea.”

Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Piano Trio No. 3 in f minor, Op. 65  

Allegro ma non troppo – Poco piu mosso, quasi vivace
Allegro grazioso – Meno mosso
Poco adagio
Final: Allegro con brio – Meno mosso – Vivace

Antonín Dvořák was born in Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic) as revolution swept across Europe and nationalism became a dominant feature in European art. A violist with the Prague National Theatre Orchestra, he was encouraged by the conductor/composer, Bedrich Smetana, to compose, which he did copiously, influenced by Wagner as were many of his contemporaries. Smetana suggested instead that he should draw on his native folk music for inspiration. 

Dvořák’s deep affection for his homeland became an integral part of his music, and he went on to produce a lasting and much-loved body of work that spoke with a national voice and brought him recognition and success. His Third Piano Trio (1883) is probably the most dramatic of his four piano trios; symphonic in scope and elegiac in character, it is intensely expressive. Dvořák’s mother had died the previous year and its emotional Slavic themes communicate an aching nostalgia contrasted with moments of brightness and even defiance.   

The finely-shaped and serious opening theme is contrasted by an exquisite second theme on the cello. The mood shifts from nostalgia and despair to drama and brief triumph. The texture is almost orchestral, particularly with the piano, the dynamic range expansive, the gestures sweeping – but there are also gentle moments. The scherzo second movement is a folk-type melody with the heavy accents and cross-rhythms of a Slavic furiant*, leading to a change of mood in its Brahmsian trio. A melancholy cello melody opens the third movement, but lightens up when joined by a tender violin theme underpinned by the piano. It offers both nobility and sorrow.

The Finale is again in the rhythm of a furiant* and returns the Trio to its home key of F minor. There’s a look back to the Trio’s opening theme, a reminder of the slow movement, and then a dashing final flourish into F major to end this dramatic trio.

*Furiant:  a rapid and fiery Bohemian dance with frequently shifting accents.


Dvořák programme notes by Joy Aberdein 2014

2023 States of Mind

Dates and Venues

Friday 23 June 4pm
UKARIA Cultural Centre

Sunday 25 June 4pm
Tempo Rubato

The Programme

Kenji Bunch | Groovebox Variations
Rachel Clement | Shifting States
Alfred Schnittke | Piano Trio
Stuart Greenbaum | The year without a summer
Johannes Brahms | Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor Op. 101

The concert opens with American composer Kenji Bunch’s rhythmic Groovebox, capturing the essence of New York City between dusk & dawn, before exploring the process of changing physical states essential to the production of mid-century art glass with New Zealander Rachel Clement’s Shifting States. The first half ends with Schnittke’s Trio, leading us to a furious moment of catharsis and then sublimating into thin air. The second half begins with Australian composer Stuart Greenbaum’s The year without a summer, evoking the 1815 volcanic eruption of Mt Tambora in Indonesia and contemplating the resulting upheaval for the community there, before Brahms treats us to moments of darkness and restless unease, bringing his Piano Trio No.3 in C minor to a close with an energetic and impassioned finale.

We’ll also be performing States of Mind at the Taupō Winter Festival

Sunday 9 July 4:30pm
Great Lake Centre Theatre

Hear NZTrio playing "Shifting States" by Rachel Clement

A dance, a melody, a memory

Antonín Dvořák’s second piano trio opens our first concert 2023 Homeland series – Songs my mother taught me. One of the great nationalist composers, he was born in Nelahozeves, Bohemia, as revolution swept across Europe and nationalism became a dominant feature in European art. In 1864 he became a violist with the Prague National Theatre Orchestra, where the chief conductor, Bedřich Smetana, encouraged him to compose.

During his 11 years there Dvořák composed copiously, influenced by Wagner as were many of his contemporaries. Smetana suggested instead that he should draw on his native folk music for inspiration. Dvořák’s deep affection for his homeland became an integral part of his music and he went on to produce a lasting and much-loved body of work that spoke with a national voice and brought him recognition and success. 


The early Piano Trios No.s 1 and 2 date from the period when Dvořák began to create his individual musical style. The first trio, with its succession of attractively natural themes, and the often poignant second trio, written four months after the death of his baby daughter, reveal the composer’s emerging Czech national style. Grove suggests that the prominence of minor keys in the G minor Trio can be attributed to Dvořák’s distress at his daughter’s death even though Dvořák gave no indication of this.

The G minor Trio opens with two assertive chords leading into a motif of repeated turns on the piano which is then taken up by the violin. This ‘turning motif’ becomes a second theme played by the cello and is skilfully developed as the movement unfolds.

Similarly, the lovely Largo is fashioned simply from a poignant cello melody, at first poetic, until a persistent low drumbeat on the piano gives a hint of a funeral march. After a sudden stillness, the tenderly repetitive theme becomes reflective and chromatic harmonies in the strings add new nostalgia.

The Scherzo, full of nervous tension and rhythmic invention, is built on a five-bar phrase which is chased from instrument to instrument. It is briefly interrupted by a wistful cello melody, which has taken the opening motif and slowed it down. The ingenious central trio is built on an arpeggio of rising chords and has an improvisatory air.

As with the first movement, the finale announces itself with assertive chords, but now in G major. This leads to a piquant dance at first hesitant, and then bolder until it resembles a polka. As the movement develops, the tantalising dance interrupts twice – and eventually has the last word.

Joy Aberdein © 2012

Rhythms of the Brain Charity Auction

We worked with contemporary artist Simon Ingram to create a visual work of art as part of our performance of Rhythms of the Brain in collaboration with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. A fascinating exploration of the inner workings of the brain and its response to musical stimuli, during the performance the brainwaves of Amalia, Somi and Ashley were captured in real time with an EEG headset and interpreted through specially developed software onto canvas over the duration of the performance.

We performed three works by New Zealand composers – Kintsugi by Salina Fisher,  Asymptote by Alex Taylor (a new commission written specifically for this project) and Subtle Dances by Claire Cowan.The resulting artwork now could be yours! It is being auctioned, and the proceeds raised will go to Toi Ora Trust, a charity that supports people to proactively manage their mental wellbeing through proven methods of creative exploration in a safe and inclusive community. A link to the bidding form, and details about the artwork are below.
Read more about Simon’s work and the process behind creating the image on the University of Auckland website
To bid for the artwork fill out our online silent auction form using the link below. Bidding will close midnight 22nd June 2023 and we will contact the winning bidder to arrange payment. Your bid does not include any transport costs for the artwork but we can help you with arranging shipping. 

Artwork details

Simon Ingram with NZTrio

Painted on the occasion of Rhythms of the Brain on 27 May 2023, in collaboration with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. The performance featured NZTrio playing Salina Fisher’s Kintsugi, Alex Taylor’s Asymptote, and Claire Cowan’s Subtle Dances while the brain activity of Amalia Hall, Ashley Brown and Somi Kim was interpreted as painting by Simon Ingram.  

Oil on Belgian Linen

LEGACY cocktails

Claire Filer specially created three signature cocktails for each of our 2022 LEGACY concerts inspired by the flavours of each programme. Based in the UK, soprano Claire Filer has also been a taster and judge for various spirit awards. You can find out more about Claire on her Instagram account: ​​@ginesthesia /

LEGACY 1 – New York Sour

The flavours of the jazz age and European sweets come together in visual counterpoint in this riff on a New York Sour; a floating plane of red wine suspended over a honey spiced whiskey sour, a harmony of sweet, dry, spiced and decadent.

2 shots whisky
1 shot lemon juice
1 shot honey syrup
Few dashes Chocolate Bitters
Red wine float

Shake the first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Float red wine on top using the back of a spoon.

LEGACY 2 – Black Forest Martini

Smooth American bourbon, decadent cherry, spiced chocolate and whimsical coffee harmonise in this Black Forest gateau-inspired martini. Dark spirit layered in counterpoint with pale cream, peppered with miniature chocolate curls, provide a visual and potable representation of this programme blending Germanic, ragtime, and playful NZ influences.

2 shots bourbon
1/2 shot coffee liqueur
1/2 shot cherry brandy
Few dashes chocolate bitters
chocolate shavings
maraschino cherry garnish

Stir the first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Float cream on top and garnish with chocolate shavings and cherry

LEGACY 3 – Mountain Gin Blanc

Fresh, spacious mountain air is evoked by this herbaceous cocktail, where gimlet meets martini in a pleasing fugue of international spices. Jazz-era gin, with its botanicals evocative of the European forest, harmonises with cooling wild mint, native kawakawa and alpine black cardamom, balanced with crisply tart lime and classic NZ sauvignon blanc.

60ml gin
15ml sauvignon blanc
30ml lime cordial
few dashes Ballin’ Drinks Wild Mint Bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini or coupe glass.