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Nació Para Tocar wins top chamber music title

Nació Para Tocar wins top chamber music title

The musical future looks even brighter today for the members of Auckland quintet Nació Para Tocar after winning the National Final of the 2004 New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest on Saturday.

Violinists Amalia Hall and Jessica Alloway (Rangitoto College), cellist Cameron Stuart (Auckland Grammar School), violist Chloe Jones (Rangitoto College) and pianist Wendy Wei Huang (Westlake Girls¹ High School) performed Dohnányi¹s Piano Quintet in C minor Opus 1 Allegro to over 500 appreciative music lovers and supporters.

Presented by Chamber Music New Zealand, the National Final was held in Christchurch for the first time on Saturday night (31 July) at the James Hay Theatre.

Jessica said that their pre show nerves were dealt to with a group hug: "Once we¹re onstage we really pass the melody on to each other. We were able to channel all our nervousness into one hell of a performance!

Cameron, the only male in the group, said that animation film Finding Nemo was inspiration for their performance. Each member of the group had to identify themselves with one of the characters and Cameron explains he was "the big giant squid".

A record number of 533 groups comprising 2000 secondary school musicians entered the contest this year. Fourteen District Contests were held throughout the country in June, from which eight groups were selected to compete for top honours in the National Final.

The chosen eight finalists were adjudicated by Australian musicians, Caroline Almonte and Miki Tsunoda of Duo Sol. After judging the four groups from Auckland, one from Wellington and three from Christchurch, the adjudicators said "the performances were without a doubt of international standard. Nació Para Tocar¹s performance embodied the very essence of chamber music and exuded a magical synergy and true artistic cohesion."

The de Croÿ Arts Trust Schools Prize of $10,000 is shared proportionally between Rangitoto College, Auckland Grammar School and Westlake Girls¹ High School and each member of the quintet receives the Arthur Hilton Memorial Prize of $400 each. (Arthur Hilton was a former president of CMNZ who started the contest in 1965.)

Tacet from Burnside High School in Christchurch came runners-up with their performance of Neville Hall's Beneath the Veil of Silence, a New Zealand work in avant-garde style. The members of the quintet are clarinetist Hayden Sinclair, alto saxophonist Lauryn Williamson, violinist Jun Bouterey Ishido, cellist Hannah Kim and pianist Jenny Cho. Their school receives the de Croÿ Arts Trust second-place prize of $2,000.

Tacet boast a wealth of talent. Alto saxophonist Lauryn also performed in female saxophone quartet Sierenes and pianist Jenny in The Ahi Trio at the National Final. Jenny explains that the best thing about performing in two groups is "it doubles your energy!"

Both Jenny and violinist Jun Bouterey Ishido are off to study abroad Jun had to leave the celebrations early to catch his flight to Israel, where he has been selected to attend a violin summer school with Shlomo Mintz. Jenny has been awarded a scholarship to the National University of Singapore for four years where she will explore musical possibilities. When asked if she will work on her theatrical piano performance style she says, "I don¹t want to be a concert pianist, I just want to be a musician!"

A highlight of the evening included a performance of the winning Original Composition, Zemljotres, composed by Wellington student Karlo Margetic. Karlo won the SOUNZ prize of $500 and performed the piece with the Zemljotres Quintet from Hutt Valley High School and Wellington High School.

Karlo, who has been composing since he was 12 years old said "getting the recognition for composing is absolutely wonderfulŠnow I just can¹t get the piano theme outta my head!"

All participants in the National Final also receive a Chamber Music New Zealand Flexi Pass to the 2005 Celebrity Season concerts in the centre of their choice.

National Organiser of the contest, Megan Mannering says, "it¹s a privilege to organise an event which involves young musicians of such a high calibre and the students are a pleasure to deal with."

The contest is a breeding ground for young musical talent in New Zealand, with past winning finalists including pianist John Chen and Justine Cormack, now violinist in the New Zealand Trio.

Brian Budd, General Manager of Chamber Music New Zealand, says "the contest is a platform for New Zealand¹s best young musicians to perform together and strive towards excellence. All competitors, regardless of age or playing level are able to compete in a positive environment that encourages the best of them. Nació Para Tocar are testament to this, after their magnificent performance at the James Hay on Saturday night."

Saturday's National Final marked the beginning of a new funder for the contest. The New Zealand Community Trust's association with the event, which is now known as the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest, became effective from this year's National Final. The de Croÿ Arts Trust had been the major sponsor of the contest since 2000.

In presenting this event, Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges major funding from New Zealand Community Trust and Creative New Zealand.

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