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Kuijken Quartet Brings Fresh Look at Early Music

MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release
Kuijken Quartet Brings Fresh Look at Early Music to Wellington in July

“…truly exceptional, exquisitely fresh and uncomplicated…” BBC Music Magazine

For more than four decades Belgian violinist Sigiswald Kuijken and his family have been bringing the music of Haydn, Mozart and Bach to life in concerts around the world and in July they make their New Zealand debut.

The internationally-acclaimed Kuijken Quartet performs eight concerts in New Zealand from 8-20 July as part of Chamber Music New Zealand’s Kaleidoscopes 2017 Season with a concert in Wellington on Saturday 15 July.

The tour also includes concerts in Hawke's Bay, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin, and Sigiswald Kuijken performs Bach solo concerts in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington.

The Kuijken Quartet is a family affair – led by Sigiswald Kuijken with his wife Marleen Thiers on viola and their daughter Sara Kuijken on violin with colleague Michel Boulanger on cello.

For Sigiswald Kuijken it is a return visit – almost 40 years after he toured New Zealand with his brothers and Chamber Music New Zealand chief executive Peter Walls recalls that tour well.

“I was something of a groupie then and drove the harpsichord through the night after their Wellington concert to get it to Auckland in time for the concert there the next day.”

Mr Walls said he first heard Sigiswald Kuijken play 45 years ago at a summer school in England. “His playing was a revelation. Suddenly music that had been a closed book to me – like Italian violin sonatas from the early 17th century – made sense and seemed extraordinarily fresh and inventive.

“Sigiswald and his wife Marleen, and now their daughter Sara, have been on a journey of discovery and we can expect their performances of Haydn and Mozart to sound utterly fresh and exciting.”

The Kuijken Quartet performs Haydn and Mozart string quartets in Auckland, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin; and Sigiswald Kuijken performs solo Bach concerts in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington.

Sigiswald Kuijken describes the Mozart and Haydn works as “classics” which the ensemble will play “Kuijken style” referencing extensive study of early music performance which he says varied from city to city, particularly when it came to pitch.

“In 18th century Vienna, Paris or London, musicians in the different cities did not even necessarily play at the same pitch in the same years, and sometimes more than one pitch would be used within one city!”

As part of the Kuijken Quartet tour, Chamber Music New Zealand also presents Open Stage – an opportunity for young musicians to perform as an opening act prior to the Kuijken Quartet concerts. The Open Stage concerts take place 45 minutes before each of the concerts and are presented in partnership with SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music. They will feature performances by successful ensembles from the NZCT Chamber Music Contest.

The Kuijken Quartet performs at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 15 July at 7.30pm and Sigiswald Kuijken performs Solo Bach at St Mary of the Angels on Tuesday 18 July at 7.00pm. Tickets for the Kuijken Quartet concert are available through Ticketek or 0800 842 538. For Sigiswald Kuijken Solo Bach, tickets are available through Eventfinda

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