Welcome to our first HighNotes of 2020. Here is a recap of summer activities, a quick overview of our year ahead together, some details about upcoming concerts, and a special spotlight on our relationship with RNZ Concert.
Sound the fanfare!
Welcome to the NZTrio family, Amalia and Somi!
Last year’s Tectonic series was just the preview – NZTrio is officially reborn in 2020 with the stellar new line-up of Amalia, Somi and Ashley. Yay!!!
For the first couple of months of the year Somi and Amalia have been honouring some remaining prior commitments (read about that below). Meanwhile, Ashley has been holding the fort, discovering some thrilling new repertoire, and drawing together this year’s intriguing programmes (while also guesting as principal cellist in APO).
Amalia’s Summer Notes
After 3 blissful weeks of complete relaxation and time off at home with my family, I set off to Argentina to perform chamber music and teach masterclasses at the Festival de los Siete Lagos, in the beautiful Patagonian mountains (see photo). It was a real retreat, with extremely limited internet access as well as only a few hours of electricity per day!
Next up was a visit to Sydney to perform string quintets by Glazunov and Taneyev; following that, I flew over to California for 2 performances of Prokofiev Concerto No. 2 with the Vallejo Symphony and Music Director Marc Taddei; then finally a brief visit to London to complete a recording of Matthew Hindson’s Maralinga, as soloist with the United Strings of Europe. All super exciting projects, but I can’t wait to resume NZTrio activities again this March!
Somi’s Summer Notes
After my first Christmas in NZ in 5 years, I spent two weeks as a staff pianist at NZ Opera School in sunny Whanganui. I was an intern there 8 years ago – it felt surreal to return as a member of staff, and I had such an amazing and rewarding experience, coaching and working with teachers I knew already from London!
I’ve now been in London for the past 6 weeks. Highlights so far include two song recitals in the Netherlands (including a scary boat trip in the middle of Storm Dennis to get to the second recital), receiving an ARAM from the Royal Academy of Music) and immersing myself in the opera scene over here – in the last five weeks I’ve been to see Carmen, Madame Butterfly, Fidelio, La bohème, La traviata, Susanna, and Alice in Wonderland!
Now I am in the beautiful countryside in Northern England, in Cumbria, spending the week as a staff pianist on the Samling Young Artist Programme. We are in a luxurious farmhouse hotel, where the students receive lessons from internationally renowned tutors – delicious meals and countryside walks are scheduled daily.
I’ve enjoyed an amazing European winter, but I can’t wait to fly back next week to start rehearsals with NZTrio!
Beets and Roots
Our 2020 series is all about combining Beethoven’s 250th birthday celebrations with intrepid journeys through the diverse musical and cultural backgrounds of our musicians and composers. So, unofficially, we call it our ‘Beets and Roots’ series.
We’re excited to share an intriguing exploration of ancestry, diversity and heritage with you. Each concert begins with a powerful masterwork from Beethoven in a toast to his enduring influence on European music traditions. Then we swerve off into radically diverse realms – each a visceral mosh-pit of geographical, cultural and religious influences:
The first episode, Origins (April 5/7), celebrates the rebirth of NZTrio, introducing the new line-up with an intimate journey through our musical and cultural influences – English, Korean, Indian, Jewish-American – and spotlights the inclusive understanding exemplified by Zemlinsky. Click here for more info or to book your tickets.
The second, InterFusions (July 5/7), zooms further out touring the globe through rich combinations of Greek-Canadian, Sri Lankan-Canadian and Japanese-Kiwi flavours, returning to Europe for the equally aromatic masterpiece of Ravel. Click here for more info or to book your tickets.
The final episode, Constellations (Oct 18/20), zooms right out to explore the spectral wonders of the cosmos – light and matter – returning to Earth into the romantic embrace of Korngold. Click here for more info or to book your tickets.
P.S. Note our fab new series images from Garth Badger at Thievery Studio!
Manic March and Animated April
In March we are rehearsing intensely for the month and year ahead. April will be super-busy with our Origins concerts in Auckland and Nelson (NCMA Celebration Series) and in Australia. There are two international composer conferences happening too – International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) in Auckland and Asian Composers League (ACL) in Christchurch. We’re playing a feature concert in each one. It’ll be a brain-strain with all the brand new, avant-garde, complex music. But it feels great to participate on the forefront of such a fascinating and experimental sound-world that forges new pathways for the masterpieces of the future.
Click here for concert details.
Later in 2020, watch for details of our CMNZ tour, plus a tour of the UK and Europe. We’ll keep you in the loop.
We ♥️ RNZ Concert!
The recent ‘policy turbulence’ around RNZ Concert remains very concerning. But the way the community banded together to kick back at this threat is thoroughly heartening and the response from government gives us hope.
All that uncertainty wasn’t pleasant for our friends who work there. So we want to highlight our relationship with RNZ Concert.
Decades ago, RNZ would pay the artists they recorded. The income was small but very useful to a fledgling group like “The New Zealand Trio” as we used to be called. When that policy changed, while it hurt the budget, we could still appreciate the extraordinary, if intangible, benefit of working with RNZ Concert to broadcast our brand of music: our programmes, our interpretations, our message that chamber music is exciting, stimulating, topical, and captivating. It’s important to us that our music is accessible for anyone who is open to be moved, so it’s essential that it gets broadcast to the wider public. While we are fervent proponents of the live music experience, those Kiwis who can’t get to our concerts for whatever reason still have the opportunity to experience our music through RNZ Concert. That’s why all of us at NZTrio ♥️ RNZ Concert!
And we particularly appreciate the steadfast support of Tim Dodd and Adrian Hollay. They are consummate professionals and unflappable perfectionists… who sometimes have to squeeze their production desk into a corner of our dressing room!
A Note from Tim Dodd, Producer at RNZ Concert:
At RNZ Concert, we appreciate NZTrio so much. Our duty, as a publicly funded broadcaster, is to “provide services of the highest quality”, which “stimulate, support, and reflect the diversity of cultural expression, including drama, comedy, literature, and the performing arts” and “stimulate, support, and reflect a wide range of music, including New Zealand composition and performance” (RNZ Charter). NZTrio’s concerts tick boxes for us.
But that sounds so detached and emotionless. Much more than that, NZTrio’s concerts are wonderfully curated, exquisitely performed, exciting, and both serious and fun. They make great radio. And when we’re recording the concerts in the Loft at Q Theatre, sound engineer Adrian Hollay and I perch ourselves in a corner of the trio’s dressing room with our gear. It’s a pleasure for us to share their space and we enjoy the social interaction as much as their music. Amalia, Ashley and Somi are very special people.
And the Winner is…
Congratulations to our recent survey winners Vicki Taylor of Motueka (CD winner) and Kerry Taylor of Auckland (concert tickets). With every newsletter we draw a new CD winner from our concert feedback cards, and today’s winner is… Sue MacRae. Congratulations Sue, you’ve won a CD of your choice (view the selection here). We will be in touch to work out the details soon.
Thanks everyone and we are look forward to seeing you at this year’s concerts.
From Ashley, Amalia, and Somi – NZTrio
NZTrio gratefully acknowledges its
Sustaining Partner: Creative New Zealand
Funders: Foundation North, APRA AMCOS, Auckland Council,
NZTrio Patron Programme, Four Winds Foundation
Supporters: MinterEllisonRuddWatts, WORLD clothing, biodynamic massage,
David Jenkin Piano Service, Lewis Eady, and Music Planet