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Adam Chamber Music Festival Jan 29 – 7 Feb 2015

Nelson is set to experience its biennial influx of well-heeled music lovers this week, with the Adam Chamber Music Festival drawing in guest stars and concert lovers from across the country and the globe.

This is the 13th of the biennial festivals, New Zealand’s only truly international festival, in that it attracts close to ten percent of its audience from off-shore.

Artistic Directors Helene Pohl and Gillian Ansell say they are delighted with the stellar line up for this year’s Festival.

“There are two New Zealand debuts - the sensational Ying Quartet from America, who perform regularly at the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall; and distinguished English pianist Kathryn Stott who people will recall from her longtime partnership with ‘rockstar status’ cellist Yo Yo Ma,” Ansell says. “We know New Zealand audiences will be looking forward to revisiting the vibrant choral musicianship of the Song Company and of virtuoso clarinetist David Griffiths, both from Australia, and then there are our wonderful New Zealand composers and chamber musicians.”

Ansell and Pohl are part of the festival’s resident ensemble, the New Zealand String Quartet. They tour and collaborate with musicians from all over the globe, building up the contacts that give the Adam Festival its status and ability to attract the world’s top chamber musicians. This allows the Festival to feature collaborations between international artists.

“We can use different combinations of musicians to perform works that are rarely heard on the touring circuit,” Pohl says. “It's the excitement of hearing these newly formed ensembles that is a major draw-card of the Adam Festival. For example at Bach by Candlelight at the cathedral the two string quartets are joined by the Song Company, Douglas Mews (harpsichord), Joan Perarnau Garriga (double bass) and Robert Orr (oboe) in a programme that includes the Motet Jesu Meine Freude and the lovely soprano aria from Mein glaeubiges Herze.”

The event brought in over $2.3 million into the Nelson economy in 2013 and is expected to exceed that this year, with retailers, wineries and restaurateurs all looking forward to the late summer boost from the visitors.

The Adam Festival began in 1992 with an enthusiastic group of professional musical friends performing just five concerts in Nelson’s intimate, smaller venues to recapture the spirit of chamber music performance.

This remains the essence of the festival – the warm acoustics of the venues, the quality of the music, the added attractions of Nelson in summer and the charisma the New Zealand String Quartet make it a favourite on the calendar for internationally renowned musicians and for chamber music enthusiasts from as far away as Europe and the USA.

The Adam Chamber Music Festival begins with a gala dinner at the Woollaston Estate cellars onJanuary 29 and concludes with the Grand Finale at Nelson Cathedral on Saturday February 7. More information and bookings at


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