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National Chamber Music Contest Finalists Announced

National Chamber Music Contest Finalists Announced

Chamber music ensembles from Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Whangarei make up the 12 semi-finalists in the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest National Finals for 2014.

The semi-finalist groups were selected from 507 ensembles that competed in regional contests in 15 districts throughout June.

The 12 semi-finalists include five ensembles from Auckland, four from Christchurch and one each from Wellington, Hamilton and Whangarei. The National Finals take place in Christchurch on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 August.

Semi-finalists for the 2014 contest are, from Auckland: Suk Trio (Westlake Boys’ High School, Kristin School and Rangitoto College), Katalyze Quintet (St Cuthbert’s College), Schmitten (Rangitoto College), L’arc en ciel (King’s College, Macleans College and Burnside High School, Christchurch) and Exaudio (Epsom Girls Grammar School, Diocesan School for Girls and Rosehill College); from Christchurch: Kalim and Vaha from Burnside High School, and Trio Emporte and Eklamore from Rangi Ruru Girls’ School; from Wellington: The Elegiac Trio (Scots College, home-schooled and Correspondence School); from Hamilton: Lichnowsky (Hillcrest High School, Hamilton Boys’ High School and St Paul’s Collegiate); and from Whangarei: Womendelssohn Trio (ACG Parnell, Auckland and home-schooled).

Auckland ensemble Applachian Octet (Diocesan School for Girls) was awarded the National Award for the Best Performance of a New Zealand Work (in association with SOUNZ and CANZ). The octet of two violins, viola, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon and piano performed Kiwi in Appalachia by Ryan Youens (inspired by Copland).

Also announced, are the two winners in the composition section. The winner of the junior section is Auckland student Lyndon Alford (Henderson High School) with Small Furry Creatures, a piece written for two flutes and violin; while Christchurch’s Isaac Shatford (St Andrew’s College) won the senior section with his string quartet Frost and Fire.

Composition adjudicator Philip Norman praised Frost and Fire saying it was “a mature piece of writing – elegant, expressive and musical.

“It is the work of someone who has something to say and has the technical facility to say it.”

This year 33 young composers entered the Original Composition section – 12 in the Junior section (for works of four minutes and under and ensembles of four instruments or fewer), and 22 in the senior section.

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest is run by Chamber Music New Zealand and celebrates its 49th anniversary this year. It is the longest running youth music competition in New Zealand and is the only nationwide chamber music competition for young musicians and composers.

The national contest is well-known for nurturing young musicians who go on to successful musical careers. Iconic New Zealand pianist Michael Houstoun competed in the event when he was a school student in Timaru and acclaimed pianist John Chen is also a past winner. He went on to win the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition and the 2003 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and in 2009, his ensemble, Saguaro Trio won the International Chamber Music Competition in Hamburg, Germany. Violinist Natalie Lin, who placed sixth in the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, was a member of the winning ensemble in 2005.

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest Semi-Finals are on Friday 1 August with the National Final on Saturday 2 August at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College in Christchurch. Tickets are available from Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) or The event is free for Chamber Music New Zealand subscribers.

The final will be judged by acclaimed British ensemble Doric String Quartet. Each member of the winning group at the National Final receives the James Wallace Arts Trust Prize of $1000.

In presenting the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest, Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges the generous support of The New Zealand Community Trust, ABRSM, SOUNZ (Centre for NZ Music), The Wallace Arts Trust, KBB Music and various regional funders who support events at District Contests.

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