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Queenstown all jazzed up for Labour Weekend Sunday

Queenstown’s all jazzed up for Labour Weekend Sunday

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Fiona Pears.

Media Release from ASB JazzFest Queenstown
8 October 2008

Queenstown’s all jazzed up for Labour Weekend Sunday

Fresh from performances at London’s Ronnie Scott’s and The Palladium, New Zealand violin virtuoso Fiona Pears will be headlining at two special ASB JazzFest Queenstown concerts this Labour Weekend.

From 11am on Sunday 26 October, Ms Pears will take locals and visitors to new heights with her amazing mix of Celtic, gypsy, Latin and classical jazz at the top of the Gondola in the iconic Skyline complex. The Skyline JazzFest Sunday Brunch will be held at the Skyline Restaurant and the $44 ticket will include a full sumptuous buffet brunch and return Gondola Ride.

The same night she will celebrating the festival’s 30th anniversary in style at the JazzFest Finale, performing alongside uptown blues maestros King Leo and the Growling Dogs, Melbourne’s jazz groove gurus the Michael Story Trio, Latino and groove jazz fusion ensemble ‘Subject2change’, and the Frank Gibson Trio featuring New Zealand’s foremost drummer, plus some special guests.

ASB JazzFest Queenstown director Harvey Maguire promises the finale concert, to be held at the Queenstown Memorial Hall, will be a night to remember.

“Reaching the 30th anniversary of the jazz festival is a real landmark. The Finale will be a music extravaganza with a compelling, highly infectious range of styles guaranteed to get everyone on their feet. It’s a rare chance to see such a wealth of talent on one stage.

“We’re very excited about the line-up of performers, particularly Fiona Pears and her highly acclaimed band who are outstanding, passionate performers.”

Now based in London, Christchurch-born Fiona Pears has risen to fame as an international soloist and recording artist, performing at concert halls around the world and recording for EMI and Universal Records. She has also opened for world-renowned artists such as Tony Bennett, Ottmar Liebert and the late Victor Bourge, as well as recording for New Zealand artists including Bic Runga and Hayley Westenra.

Festival tickets can be purchased online through, by calling TicketDirect on 03 450 9110 or 0800 224 224, or at the Queenstown i-Site (corner of Shotover and Camp streets).


26 Oct 2008, 11am – 2pm
Skyline Restaurant
$44, includes full sumptuous brunch

26 Oct 2008, 7.30pm – midnight
Queenstown Memorial Hall
Seating: Cabaret style, tables of 8-10 people

More about Fiona Pears and her band

Fiona has released three CDs and two DVDs to rave reviews. Her February 2007 ‘Live at the ChristChurch Cathedral’ concert drew this comment from the Christchurch Press:
“…It left performers and audience breathless and will be remembered by all as a truly splendid night.”
This year Fiona has toured the US, Ireland and Jersey as well as performing at festivals and concert halls around England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. She is currently recording her fourth CD ‘Fire and Light’ which features the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
Following her appearance at the ASB JazzFest, Fiona will be embarking on a nationwide tour with her band. She will be touring the North Island in November and the South Island in February 2009.
Fiona will also be making her first appearance on the silver screen performing one of the tracks from her new album in a UK independent feature film, due for release in 2009.
For more information please visit

Ian Tilley - Pianist
Ian has produced and co-produced several albums for artists such as Hayley Westenra, All Angels, The Choirboys, Libera and Aled Jones. He has also worked as a recording engineer on numerous productions for CD release, TV and radio. As well as being a classically trained pianist, Ian is also a composer and arranger.

Tyson Smith –Guitar
Tyson learned how to play the guitar at an early age, impressing people immediately with his natural ability. After playing around Christchurch in a variety of ensembles, Tyson performed in show bands overseas, soaking up different musical influences from Cuba, Central America and New York City. Now based in Wellington, Tyson teaches, performs and composes.

Peter Fleming – Bass
Christchurch bass player Pete Fleming has been part of New Zealand’s jazz scene for many years. He has also toured and performed overseas with many acclaimed international musicians and with top jazz bands on cruise ships.

Greg Donaldson – Drums
Greg Donaldson is a well known session drummer who has performed at the Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland, toured NZ/Australia/Japan with Hayley Westenra, and can be heard on Bic Runga’s ‘Live’ CD, Hayley Westenra’s ‘Live’ DVD and The Dukes ‘Lil’ Sunshine’ new release CD. He has performed live with artists such as Dave Dobbyn and Anika Moa.

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