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FRINGE '04: Songs Of These Islands’


Contemporary NZ & UK songs from the 20th & 21st C
St Andrew’s on the Terrace, 40 The Terrace, Wellington
Door sales Admission $10/7/5

Morag Atchison has recently returned to New Zealand after eight years in Europe
with a string of international awards. They include the Premier Prix at the Royal Academy of Music, a finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Competition and winner of the NZ Society Prize in the Royal Over-Seas League’s International Music Competition.

While overseas, some of her leading roles included Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni with Sir Colin Davis, Annina, La Traviata (ETO) and La Ciesca, Gianni Schicchi (Aspen Festival) while her extensive oratorio and concert repertoire have taken her to the Royal Albert Hall London, Aspen Festival, The Netherlands, Venice, The Seychelles and Kenya for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations.

Returning to sing in her birthplace of Wellington, for the NZ International Festival of the Arts Fringe, she has chosen to perform major works by Benjamin Britten (UK) and David Hamilton (NZ) both of which hold special significance.

“Having performed a great deal of Britten while I was at the Royal Academy of Music, I have always longed to perform ‘On This Island’ says Morag, “as it is undoubtedly one of Britten’s best song cycles.” With text by W.H. Auden it talks about music making, refers to nature, to the industrial age and the juxtaposition of nature and the modern age.”

Renowned New Zealand composer David Hamilton was Morag’s music teacher while at Epsom Girls’ Grammar. Having grown up singing Hamilton at school in choirs, she is now happy to be performing some of his solo work and has chosen “At the Lighting of the Lamps”. This was commissioned in 1996 by Judith Bellingham for a concert in Salt Lake City. The poems by Ursula Bethell are Canterbury based and include visions of looking westward from the Port Hills over the Southern Alps, the settlement of Canterbury Plains, talks about the Universe and its moons and planets, finishing with The Universal Hymn of Praise and returning to the seas and rivers.

Rachel Thomson, accompanist, needs no introduction to the Wellington audiences. Gaining a B.Mus.(Hons) at the Victoria University, Rachel continued her studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music gaining a Doctorate in piano performance. Winner of the NZ Concerto Competition (1993) as well as many other awards and competitions at home and in the US, Rachel is today a national recording artist for Concert FM, tutors at the Victoria Academy, a member of the chamber ensemble ETHOS and has toured with Chamber Music New Zealand. She also occasionally works as pianist for the NZSO.


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