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Brahms publishing double celebrated with concert

22 November 2006

Brahms publishing double celebrated with concert

The publication of two new books about the life and music of German composer Johannes Brahms by researchers at Victoria University and the New Zealand School of Music will be launched with a special concert this week.

The achievements of Dr Peter Russell, a former Associate Professor in the School of Asian & European Languages & Cultures, and Dr Inge van Rij, Lecturer in the New Zealand School of Music, will be celebrated with a special concert at the Adam Concert Room, New Zealand School of Music, Kelburn Parade, at 5.30pm on Saturday November 25.

Dr Russell’s book, Brahms and Groth: The Biography of a Friendship (Ashgate), and Dr van Rij’s book, Brahms’s Song Collections (Cambridge University Press) will be launched by the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Emeritus Professor Peter Walls.

Director of the New Zealand School of Music, Professor Elizabeth Hudson, congratulated the two academics on their achievements.

“That a New Zealand academic publishes a book about Brahms in Britain is an event in itself. That two are published there in the same month, by colleagues at the same university, is spectacularly improbable.”

The two authors were working independently on their books, Dr Russell at Victoria and Dr van Rij at Cambridge University, and were only made aware of the synchronicity of their projects several months after Dr van Rij returned to New Zealand to take up a job in what was then Victoria’s School of Music in 2002. From that point on the two books progressed together, the authors advising each other from the benefits of their own disciplines.

In an usual twist for a book launch, Dr Russell, who is also a professional singer, will sing some of Brahms’s songs, accompanied by Margaret Nielsen, a nationally renowned pianist and former Victoria University staff member. Dr van Rij first became interested in the songs when she heard Dr Russell and Miss Nielsen performing when she was an undergraduate student at Victoria.

The concert will also include performances by Richard Mapp, Emma Sayers, Donald Maurice, professional musicians in the New Zealand School of Music; Allison Cormack, runner-up in the prestigious Lexus Song Quest (2005) and former student of the School; Brigitte Heuser, Moyra Todd Scholar and National Young Performer of the Year vocal winner 2006, completing Honours in the School; and professional violinist Rupa Maitra.

Dr van Rij’s research was supported with grants from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand while both researchers were supported by grants from the German Academic Exchange Service.


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