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Music contest celebrates 40th birthday at Gov. Hse

Music contest celebrates 40th birthday at Government House


MEDIA RELEASE: Music contest celebrates 40th birthday at Government House For immediate release / 10 May 2005 / 331 words

New Zealand¹s longest running music contest, the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest, celebrates its 40th birthday this year with a soirée at Government House in Wellington on Friday 20 May.

The contest is the longest running youth music competition in New Zealand and is the only national chamber music competition for young musicians and composers in the country.

The contest received a record number of entries this year, with a total of 562 entries comprising 2115 students participating nationwide.

The Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright will be hosting the event and two of New Zealand¹s best young musicians, violinist Julia McCarthy and pianist John Chen will be performing at the celebrations.

Both Julia and John have participated in the contest over the years, performing in groups which won the music contest. Julia¹s group the Elysian Quintet took top honours in 1999 and John¹s Garmisch Quartet in 2001. John¹s original composition was also performed at the National Final in 2001.

CMNZ Chief Executive Brian Budd says "From the contest¹s inception in 1965 to its 40th birthday in 2005, the essence of the contest has remained the same ­ young people sharing the joy of making music together. Every year the contest aims to encourage creativity amongst young people and to provide an accessible platform for New Zealand¹s young musicians and composers."

Many of New Zealand¹s premier musicians and composers started their career in the contest including composer John Psathas, pianist and composer Dan Poynton, members of the New Zealand Trio and New Zealand String Quartet.

Success in the contest brought international recognition for young composer Jenny Thomas, who in 2002 won the composition section of the contest with a piece responding to the events of September 11, titled September¹s Scars. The following year September¹s Scars was performed by New York-based Eroica Trio during their New Zealand tour.

In presenting the 40th birthday celebrations Chamber Music New Zealand kindly thanks Government House.

Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges major funding from Creative New Zealand.


For more information on the contest online log onto:


About the contest

The contest was established by CMNZ Chairman Arthur Hilton to encourage young musicians across New Zealand, regardless of standard or experience, to perform together and strive towards excellence. It was envisaged that all participants would be able to compete in a positive environment which asked the very best of them.

A total of 63 groups, comprising 220 students entered the first contest in 1965.

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest has become a rite of passage for many of the country¹s top classical musicians with both past winners and participants establishing careers in live performance and composition. Since its inception, around 40,000 New Zealanders have participated in the contest.

Unusual chamber groups over the years have included a bagpipe chamber music group from Dunedin and a semi-electronic group called The Synthesisers from Southland who performed a combination of taped electronic sound with live strings, brass and percussion.

Many of New Zealand¹s premier musicians started their career in the contest. Past competitors are now members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand String Quartet, New Zealand Trio and include composers Anthony Ritchie and Dan Poynton.

"While the contest may change from year to year, its basic objective does not. Our aim is to encourage music making and composing by youngsters at home, at school, wherever they can form a group with their friends." ­ CMNZ President, Arthur Hilton, 1974.


About Julia McCarthy and John Chen

Julia McCarthy and John Chen are two of New Zealand¹s finest young musicians, and have known each other from a very young age.

In 2004, 18 year old John Chen became the youngest winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition. He was the first competitor from Australia or New Zealand to have won the competition since it began in 1977.

John is currently completing his Master of Music degree in piano performance at the University of Auckland and has been awarded recording contracts with NAXOS and ABC Classics.

Julia McCarthy has been a regular player with the Wellington Sinfonia and the National Youth Orchestra of which she became Concertmaster in 2004.

In August Julia will fly to London to commence a Masters degree in Violin Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she has been awarded a half fees scholarship and will study with renowned teacher David Takeno.

John and Julia recently performed in Gore, Kerikeri, Rotorua, Whakatane and Wellington in April and May for CMNZ¹s Associate Societies and finish their tour with a performance at the 40th birthday celebrations of the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest at Government House in May.

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