September 2016 High Notes Newsletter


Spring is finally here, as is this month’s High Notes, which is all about collaborations, celebrations, and moon wishes…



unnamedMessiaen’s Quartet For the End of Time has been on our wish list for years. Thanks to Chamber Music NZ this dream was realised in our recent 10-city tour with British clarinet prodigy Julian Bliss. What’s it like to perform a work of such duration and emotional intensity 10 times in the space of two weeks? Phenomenal. Exhausting? Yes. But it was such an enormous pleasure to collaborate with this incredibly talented and generous (not to mention fun!) musician. Ross Harris’ commissioned work There May Be Light was an atmospheric, otherworldly companion piece for the ensemble, and the feedback around the country for both programmes was unanimously positive. Needless to say, we can’t wait to play with Julian again. Cheers to that!



Our next intriguing collaboration is with Xia Jing, a master zheng (Chinese zither) player who is currently based in Tucson, Arizona. Jing will join us for two different and very special concerts in Wellington and Auckland, both of which coincide with Moon Festival celebrations. Jing previously visited New Zealand as part of the Forbidden City Orchestra, so we are delighted to welcome her back, and are loving our rehearsals so far.

unnamed-1Fa 发 : NZTrio and Xia Jing on guzheng

In conjunction with The China Culture Centre in New Zealand and the Confucius Institute, NZTrio: Fa 发 takes place at the ACR in Wellington on September 16, and features no fewer than four highly imaginative world premieres by Dylan Lardelli, Dorothy Ker, Jeroen Speak, and Gao Ping (who we talk to in this month’s Composer Corner). As we push send on this newsletter, Fa 发 is sold out.


NZTrio Loft Series: GLOW

We then head back to Q Theatre on September 25 and 27 (where the good folk at Q are celebrating their 5th birthday!) for the second of our Loft Series concerts. The senses will surely be indulged in our GLOW programme: evocative and colourful offerings by Zhou Long and Gareth Farr sit alongside two impassioned works dedicated to the memory of great artists – Gao Ping’s Feng Zheng (honouring Jack Body), and Rachmaninov’s second Trio Élégiaque (the young composer’s tribute to Tchaikovsky). Click here for more info and to buy tickets for GLOW.



MoonLate September is Moon Festival time in China. It’s tradition to light a paper lantern and send thoughts and wishes into the sky – we’re building a moon using Facebook, Twitter and digital moon dust instead. Your messages can be to far away loved ones, or those who have passed on before you, or even just wishes of love and peace for your fellow humans with whom we share this beautiful planet.

A starry sky is on the wall in Q Theatre’s lounge as a special lead up to our GLOW concerts. Every wish you send via Twitter or NZTrio’s Facebook page, or by text to 0284-027-100 that includes #GLOW (maximum 140 characters) will appear briefly on the wall, before turning into glowing moon dust and filling up our harvest moon.

Click here for further instructions on how to share your glow.


If you can’t make it to a concert in Auckland or Wellington – don’t worry! We’ve got some fab concerts up and down the country in early October. Click on each event for more info:

Oct 1 CHRISTCHURCH Nut Point Centre – Buy tickets now
Oct 5 DUNEDIN Arts Festival: Vicissitudes, with Mike Nock Trio – Buy tickets now
Oct 6 DUNEDIN Arts Festival: NZTrio: Uncaged – Buy tickets now
Oct 8 HAWKES BAY Arts Festival: Vicissitudes, with Mike Nock Trio – Buy tickets now



unnamed-1We first met Gao Ping in 2009, when he was commissioned to write a work for us while he was teaching at the University of Canterbury. Many performances of Su Xie Si Ti (Four Sketches) later, and with the composer now living in Beijing, we still maintain a close friendship – a big part of this is thanks to the late Jack Body.

In addition to the beautiful programme note he provided for Feng Zheng (which you can read by clicking the programme notes link at the bottom of the NZTRIO LOFT SERIES: GLOW concert listing), we asked him a few quick questions:

NZTrio: “Feng Zheng” is a gorgeous blend of traditional Chinese and ‘western’ instruments, with the resulting sound (and music) being delicate, evocative, and thrilling all at the same time. As a composer, what do you find special, or challenging, in writing for this combination?

GP: The imagination for sounds can go very far in this combination, which is extremely exciting to work with. To bring together the different ways of making sounds and the traditions behind them are challenging. Zheng is a very beautiful instrument but difficult to write for as the pitches are fixed.  

NZTrio: Your new piece is dedicated to the memory of Jack Body, who was such a dear friend and supporter of composers and performers here and all over the world. What would you say is one of Jack’s main contributions to the musical bridge between New Zealand and China?

GP: That he made both sides aware of the value and joy of coming across. 

NZTrio: In the lead up to our two concerts at Q Theatre, we are inviting people to share their thoughts and wishes, and we’ll use them to build a ‘digital moon’ as a way to celebrate the Moon Festival. Would you care to add some thoughts and wishes of your own?

GP: NZTrio can fly in and out of the moon! 



ab571619-1c35-4be1-a92c-4f249043ea01Our lucky CD winner is Isla R-D, who came along to our Zoom concert at Q in Auckland. Congratulations Isla! We’ll be in touch to find out which CD you’d like to add to your collection. 




We hope you have a wonderful Spring!
Justine, Ashley and Sarah



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