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Nelson’s Adam Chamber Music Festival declared ‘best ever’

Nelson’s Adam Chamber Music Festival declared ‘best ever’.

Packed houses, ecstatic musicians, standing ovations and happy retailers – the Adam Chamber Music Festival is over for another two years and Nelson’s place on the classical festival circuit is even more firmly assured.

Festival manager Bob Bickerton said the 13th festival was the ‘best ever’ from many points of view.

“The programming was outstanding, and I’m specially proud that we performed 22 New Zealand works to full houses that really enjoyed them,” he said. “There was a strong sense of collegiality between the musicians, with the general feeling that we took our really committed and dedicated audience on a very special journey.”

Bickerton says the number crunching is still to be done, but he estimates over 6,000 people attended the ticketed concerts and the free master classes and meet the artist sessions. He says 50 percent of the festival passes to attend all sessions were pre-sold to overseas visitors and he believes there was a greater proportion overall of offshore attendees than in past years.

“Feedback from audiences and artists has been very positive indeed,” Bickerton said. “We aim to create a sense of community during the festival and we definitely achieved that. It’s actually quite sad when the 10 days of wonderful music-making and festival experiences come to an end – people are already asking if they can book for the next festival in 2017."

David Ying of the visiting Ying Quartet from New York says the Adam Festival is ‘as good as any festival anywhere in the world’.

“It’s been a very memorable experience,” he said. “The New Zealand String Quartet’s international status gives this festival the credibility to attract musicians from the highest circles of music making.”

Mr Ying said the concert at the chapel at St Arnaud was a personal highlight: “I felt like a tourist and a musician at the same time – I could have enjoyed the view from the chapel window more if I hadn’t had to look at the music.”

Anecdotally the festival is set to keep its record as giving the best return on any of the Economic Development Agency’s event support investments. Restaurateurs, retailers and accommodation providers say the late summer boost has been ‘fantastic’.

“I’m amazed at how many people it’s brought to town,” says Jo Menary from Shine in Hardy Street. ‘It’s much better than any other event - even the Rugby World Cup – and the visitors were all buzzing about every aspect of their time in Nelson, from the festival to the food.”
Carolyn McMaster from Ottawa, Canada, has now attended five Adam Festivals. She says she just loves Nelson and the festival atmosphere.

“It’s the combination of interesting and varied programmes with some classics and some new music, the first rate musicians and the town is so friendly and informal that you meet the musicians and other concert goers in the street and feel like you’re part of a family – besides it’s 30 below in Ottawa right now!”

Nelson Music Trust Chair Colleen Marshall said it has been wonderful to see the way Nelson has embraced this festival.

“We are certainly acknowledged as an international event and our audiences have been so appreciative and excited by the programme presented by our outstanding musicians and our genius Artistic Directors Helena Pohl and Gillian Ansell,” she said. “We have survived the lack of air conditioning and the closure of the Nelson School of Music and we look forward to a well overdue 'state of the art' venue for the Adam Festival in 2017. Nelson deserves it!”

Mrs Marshall paid tribute to the management team and volunteers for their enormous contribution to the success of this year’s festival.


© Scoop Media

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