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Auckland Philharmonia: Good Things Come in Threes

All good things come in threes

“With playing of this stature, Justine Cormack (violin), Ashley Brown (cello) and Sarah Watkins (piano) are set to become a force on the national music scene.” [NZ Herald, August 2004]

The penultimate concert in the Auckland Philharmonia’s 2004 Vero Premier Series is an all-Beethoven programme and features the newly-appointed Artists-in-Residence at the University of Auckland, the New Zealand Trio.

On Thursday 23 September, the New Zealand Trio (violinist Justine Cormack, cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Sarah Watkins) make their début with the Auckland Philharmonia performing Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello.

Also featuring in this banquet of Beethoven are the Fidelio Overture and Symphony No.7. Italian conductor Marco Zuccarini makes a welcome return to the podium.

The New Zealand Trio is becoming known both at home and internationally for its diverse, innovative and uplifting concerts. As a talented and versatile contributor to the country’s cultural landscape, the Trio regularly commissions and performs New Zealand works and enjoys mixing classical music with other genres as varied as pop, jazz and the visual arts. Along with its commitment to the continued growth of a vibrant creative arts scene at home, the group is exporting its unique blend of classical and modern music to international audiences. [NZ Trio biographical information over.]

Thursday 23 September – 8pm, Aotea Centre Conductor: Marco Zuccarini Soloists: New Zealand Trio Programme: Beethoven: Fidelio Overture; Beethoven: Symphony No.7; Beethoven: Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello

Adult tickets from $20; concessions available (service fees may apply). Bookings phone Ticketek Orchestra Hotline on 307 5139 or visit

The Auckland Philharmonia gratefully acknowledges Vero, the major sponsor of this series. The Auckland Philharmonia receives major funding from Creative New Zealand and a major grant from Auckland City.


New Zealand Trio Comprising three of the country’s most outstanding and successful young musicians, the New Zealand Trio has already established itself on the national landscape, as evidenced by its inclusion in the recent New Zealand Festival of Arts in Wellington (March 2004), and a highly successful tour under Chamber Music New Zealand (May 2004). Internationally, the Trio has performed in major US universities as well as mainstream concert venues such as St Martin-in-the-Fields in London during its tour of the US and UK in January and February 2004.

In July 2004 the ensemble took up a residency at the University of Auckland, a partnership which demonstrates a joint commitment to the continued growth of a vibrant creative arts environment in this country. With the University’s support, the Trio is commissioning the work of leading New Zealand composers, broadening interest in and access to chamber music in New Zealand, and is an important ambassador on the international stage for New Zealand and New Zealand music.

Justine Cormack, Violin Justine appears regularly around New Zealand as a recitalist, chamber musician, adjudicator and concerto soloist. She is the former Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia, has been a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and has played for the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra. A dedicated teacher for many years, she now teaches at the University of Auckland. Justine has a Bachelor’s degree in performance violin from the University of Canterbury (under Jan Tawroszevicz), a Master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory (under Isadore Tinkleman) and a Doctoral degree from the New York State University at Stony Brook (under Joyce Robbins and Mitchell Stern). A recipient of many awards, Justine has received a TVNZ Young Achievers’ Award, two QEII Arts Council Grants (the Jack McGill Scholarship and a Music Study Award), an NZ-US Educational Foundation Fulbright grant, an NZSO Alex Lindsay Memorial Award, and was runner-up in the 1990 TVNZ Young Musicians’ Competition.

Ashley Brown, Cello Besides his many performances both locally and internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, Ashley has taught cello at the universities of Waikato and Canterbury and now teaches at the University of Auckland. He has been Principal Cello of the National Youth Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia and the Auckland Philharmonia, and was Cellist of the Turnovsky Trio. Ashley studied at Canterbury University with Alexander Ivashkin, graduating with a Master of Music with Distinction. During this time he won the TVNZ Young Musicians’ Competition, the CCMC National Concerto Competition and a special prize at the ROSL Music Competition in London. With the help of a Yale scholarship, a Creative New Zealand grant and a TVNZ Young Achievers’ Award, he spent two years studying with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, graduating with the Artist Diploma, and then six months with William Pleeth in London before returning to New Zealand.

Sarah Watkins, Piano Sarah is an active chamber musician, collaborative partner, touring and recording artist. She performs frequently throughout New Zealand and has performed in Japan, England and the US with some of America’s leading instrumentalists. She has given master classes in accompanying and chamber music, has been an official pianist at national and international competitions, and is often invited to adjudicate competitions. Sarah has been a member of the music faculty of Purchase College, New York, and now teaches at the University of Auckland. Sarah is a graduate of both the University of Canterbury and the Juilliard School, where she received her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in collaborative piano. She has been a staff pianist at the Juilliard School, Yale University and the Aspen Music Festival.

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