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Student Musicians prepare for battle

Student Musicians prepare to battle it out for National Prize

Tabea Squire


Secondary school students are preparing to compete in the National Final of the 2006 New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest. Eight groups comprising students from Auckland, Christchurch, Hawkes Bay and Hamilton will be competing in the National Final, held in Wellington on Saturday 5 August for awards and musical accolades. The contest is New Zealand's longest running contest of its kind (it started in 1965) and is presented annually by Chamber Music New Zealand.

"Chamber Music New Zealand treats this youth event just as it would a professional international or New Zealand chamber music ensemble. The standard of performance demands that the National Final is promoted as a chance to hear the best young musicians New Zealand has on offer. It is held in the Wellington Town Hall and members of the audience would be forgiven for thinking the artists they hear are already professionals. " says Megan Mannering Organiser of the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest.

The eight finalists are The King Trio (King's College), Farr from Russia (Westlake Girls' High School), Santorini (St Cuthbert’s College) from Auckland, A La Vez (Burnside, Lincoln and Cashmere High Schools), The Young Trio (Burnside High School) and Adidam (Burnside High School) from Christchurch, Fourtitude (Woodford House, Havelock North High School and Lindisfarne College) from Hawkes Bay, and Trois Escargots Chaud (Hillcrest High School and St Peter’s School) from Hamilton. This is the first National Final since 2001 that features a group from a regional centre.

Two members of the Australian Goldner String Quartet, violinist Dimity Hall and cellist Julian Smiles, will adjudicate the competition. This year the National Finalists will be competing for a larger prize pool thanks to support from the James Wallace Arts Trust. Each member of the winning group will receive the James Wallace Arts Trust prize of $1,000 each. In addition to this they will also receive the Arthur Hilton Memorial prize of a relevant musical text valued at $100. (Arthur Hilton is a former president of CMNZ who started the contest in 1965).

Nationwide District Contests were held in 14 centres during June with a total of 538 chamber music groups made up of 2,033 students, competing for a place in the final. The District Contests were adjudicated by a selection of top New Zealand musicians including Owen Clarke, Miranda Adams, Richard Mapp, Brigid O’Meeghan, Sarah Watkins, David Matthews and Deborah Rawson.

NZCTCMC Organiser Megan Mannering said, “The adjudicators agreed that the future of New Zealand chamber music is in very good hands. Students have performed very challenging repertoire to a near professional level.”

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music 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 competition includes an Original Composition section which allows young people to enter an original work suitable for a chamber music ensemble.

The 2006 winner of the Original Composition section is Wellington student Tabea Squire. She will be awarded the SOUNZ (Centre for New Zealand music) prize of $500 when her composition is performed alongside competing groups at the National Final in Wellington. Prominent New Zealand School of Music Lecturer in Composition, Michael Norris, adjudicated the entries and judged Tabea’s piece Random Berg 7, to be the most outstanding work in the competition.

In presenting the 2006 New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest, Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges funding from the New Zealand Community Trust and Creative New Zealand, and support from the James Wallace Arts Trust and SOUNZ (Centre for New Zealand Music).

Saturday 5 August, Wellington Town Hall


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