Excerpt from Kenji Bunch Swing Shift ii Night Flight
NZTrio’s Sway perfectly encapsulates their shared ambition to bring joyful, vibrant, life-affirming music to audiences in all corners of the world. The album comprises a rich and rewarding programme of beautifully performed and recorded music by five exceptional contemporary composers.
MIKE NOCK TRIO: Mike Nock (piano) Brett Hirst (bass) James Waples (drums) NZTRIO: Justine Cormack (violin) Sarah Watkins (piano) Ashley Brown (cello) Mike Nock (ONZM) is an internationally recognised master of jazz. His trio, with Christchurch-born bassist Brett Hirst and Australian drummer James Waples, is one of the top modern jazz groups in Australasia. NZTrio is New Zealand’s leading piano trio, and one of the finest in the southern hemisphere. Their innovative repertoire features dynamic and inspired interpretations of both traditional and contemporary classical music, as their critically acclaimed recordings for Rattle brilliantly attest. Vicissitudes came about after Philip Tremewan (Director of the Christchurch Arts Festival) suggested to Mike Nock that he write a piece for two trios using a set of variations to show the different approaches each group might bring to the same piece of music. Mike wrote the piece as a way of offering something positive to the people of Christchurch in recognition of the extreme difficulties they’ve had to deal with in the wake of the devastating earthquake of 2011. The idea was to combine the disparate worlds of jazz and classical music to show the strength of the human spirit when faced with seemingly overwhelming obstacles. “Over many years working together,” says Mike, “my trio has developed a largely intuitive approach to making music, so performing with NZTrio presents a very different musical dynamic. Improvisation is central to my trio’s role, as this is where we do our best work, so a large part of the enjoyment and interest for all six players is to explore the musical opportunities we discover when rehearsing and performing the piece”.
Hot off the press, Lightbox features recent commissions by some of the finest of the current generation of New Zealand composers. Taking its title from Karlo Margetić’s SOUNZ Contemporary award-winner, Lightbox features works by Claire Cowan, Rachel Clement, Alex Taylor, Samuel Holloway, Gao Ping, and Chris Gendall. Download in iTunes.
With this new album, their first on the ABC Classics label, the Trio presents music by award-winning Australian composer Stuart Greenbaum. The Greenbaum sound has clear connections to jazz, pop and minimalism but goes beyond these important influences: ‘I often conceive of music in terms of journeys, but I also believe that music should be appreciable as pure, abstract sound in time. Either way, my music aims to evoke an atmosphere apart from the routine of modern life. At times, I think we lose a sense of wonderment at our earthly surrounds. I believe in the need to cultivate space in a world increasingly filled with commercialism, light and noise pollution and 24/7 thinking’.
This recording documents an extraordinary collaborative project initiated by NZ composer and Asian specialist Jack Body and launched for the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival. NZTrio performs alongside 3 Cambodian musicians, premiering 4 new and incredibly unique works from NZ and Cambodian composers. This CD is a wonderful record of these works from composers Jack Body, Dame Gillian Whitehead, Him Sophy and Chinary Ung, and is a moving commentary on the atrocities that unfolded in Cambodia in the 1970’s.
NZTrio features on this release of music by John Psathas – performing Helix, a work commissioned by NZTrio in 2006.The performance has been described by New Zealand Herald reviewer William Dart as one that ‘guarantees goosebumps’ and he rates the album 5 out of 5.
Helix is a truly 21st century album. Inspired by an eclectic range of musical interests, the album takes the listener on a millennia-leaping journey, from the sounds of the ancient Mediterranean, through the dance music of 18th century Italy, to the latest dubstep and drum’n’bass beats of 21st century South East London. The album features stellar performances by NZTrio, the New Zealand String Quartet and Donald Nicolson.
FLOURISHES is the third album by one of New Zealand’s most accomplished classical groups. Playing with the boundaries of contemporary chamber music, NZTrio brings its much-heralded blend of contrasting works to its new album, which provides a snapshot of the type of programme the group loves to perform live.
Recent NZTrio commissions by Wayan Yudane and Eve de Castro Robinson are very much at home among the masterworks of Mozart and Ravel, with Arvo Pärt’s lovely take on a Mozart Adagio in the middle, forming what the trio calls a ‘fascinating and unexpected mix’.
FLOURISHES was a finalist for Best Classical Album at the 2010 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.
bright tide moving between is NZTrio’s first outing on Rattle Records, after Spark, its critically acclaimed 2005 debut on Trust. The album signals a maturing artistic focus as NZTrio keeps one foot proudly on the shores of Aotearoa, while taking its listeners on a journey out through the Pacific Rim.
Bright Tide’s thematic focus extends through a richly illustrated package, to provide a sensual aural and visual experience affirming that beauty is easily at home in contemporary classical music, right here, right now.
The album represents a distillation of the experience of some very finely honed live performances of the music, which NZTrio has performed since 2005.
bright tide moving between was a finalist for Best Classical Album at the 2008 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.
Charlotte Yates was invited to oversee this ambitious project: setting Hone Tuwhare’s poetry to music. This resultant collection features Goldenhorse, Hinemoana Baker, Graham Brazier, Whirimako Black, Dean Hapeta, Don McGlashan, Hone Hurihanganui, Strawpeople, Dallas Tamaira, Mahinirangi Tocker, Wai, and of course Charlotte herself. As well as being among the top ten of New Zealand’s greatest living artists, Hone was one the of first Maori poets to have work published in English, plus he was named “Icon Artist of the Year 2003” by the Arts Foundation. Charlotte’s previous project was putting the venerable James K Baxter’s work to music. Featured artists: Goldenhorse – Oh Africa, Strawpeople – Covetous, Dallas Tamaira – We, Who Live In Darkness, Don McGlashan – Rain, Hinemoana Baker – Where Shall I Wander, Charlotte Yates – Mad, Whirimako Black – Spring Song, Te Kupu – Speak To Me, Brother, Graham Brazier – Friend, Wai – On A Theme By Tone Taiapa, Hone Hurihanganui – Papa-tu-a-nuku, Mahinarangi Tocker and NZTrio – A Northland Heartscape
The brightest new stars in the firmament of New Zealand chamber music, NZTrio here make their debut recording with a programme of works they have made their own in concerts throughout New Zealand and overseas.
Over the last decade or so, a number of piano trios made up of outstanding individual musicians have formed and re-formed in New Zealand, and this particular instrumental combination has appealed to the country’s leading composers, who have produced an exceedingly fine body of work in the genre.
The members of NZTrio, each notable musicians in their own right, together make up a formidably powerful ensemble, and their performances in this recital showcase the vitality, beauty and sheer emotional impact of works by John Psathas, Gareth Farr, Penelope Axtens, Michael Norris, Maria Grenfell and Victoria Kelly.
Spark was a finalist for Best Classical Album at the 2006 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.