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Two grands grace the stage

4 October 2005

Two grands grace the stage

“It was, simply, proof that Houstoun remains our finest pianist.”
[Peter Shaw, NZ Listener, Sep 2005]

“...a formidable performance... [Chen’s] sympathy for French music was fully revealed with playing of dexterous virtuosity, poetry and a wondrous clarity...” [John Button, Dominion Post, May 2005]

The final concert in the Auckland Philharmonia’s 2005 Vero Premier Series features something of a rarity – two New Zealand pianists as dual soloists. Long-standing virtuoso Michael Houstoun and remarkable young musician John Chen, each on their own Steinways, join forces in Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos.

Since his teens, MICHAEL HOUSTOUN has been a household name in New Zealand. Throughout the last 30 years he has performed regularly with orchestras, as a recitalist, and as a chamber music partner. He draws from a large and ever-expanding repertoire which includes the most recent compositions by New Zealand composers alongside the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. These 32 sonatas Michael played in a series of cycles in the 1990s, and the recording of them led to the establishment of Trust Records in 1995.
Michael has been a prize winner in numerous international piano competitions including Van Cliburn (third, 1973), Leeds (fourth, 1975) and Tchaikovsky (sixth, 1982), completing an unprecedented record in international competition by a New Zealand pianist.

JOHN CHEN won his first piano competition at the age of nine, and over the subsequent years was successful in a number of national competitions. In July 2004, the 18 year old pianist became the youngest (and first competitor from Australia or New Zealand) to win the prestigious Sydney International Piano Competition.
John has performed concertos and solo recitals throughout New Zealand and Australia; future engagements include concerts in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Singapore, Japan, China, South Korea, the United States and Canada. He also has been awarded recording contracts with Naxos and ABC Classics.

Experience these two pianists as they conquer Poulenc’s exhilarating Concerto for Two Pianos. Swiss conductor Rodolfo Fischer conducts the concert which also features Kodály’s Peacock Variations and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

Thursday 27 October – 8pm, Auckland Town Hall
Bookings: phone the Ticketek Orchestra Hotline on (09) 307 5139 or visit

The Auckland Philharmonia receives major funding from Creative New Zealand and a major grant from Auckland City.


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