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Memorial concert for luthier and cellist Ian Lyons

Première of new work by Kenneth Young
at memorial concert for luthier and cellist Ian Lyons

A specially-commissioned new work by one of New Zealand's leading composers will have its first public performance at a memorial concert for luthier and cellist Ian Lyons on Sunday the 13th of August, starting 2.30pm at St Andrew's on the Terrace, Wellington.

Featuring some of the top classical musicians from around the country, including members of the string section of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand String Quartet, the concert is the second remembering the Wellington musician and instrument repairer.

A new 12-minute work by composer Kenneth Young for cello, harp and string orchestra entitled 'Meditation' was written to honour Ian Lyons, who died suddenly and unexpectedly in mid-2015. “It is a quiet and reflective work which highlights the supremely lyrical nature of the cello, the instrument which Ian loved so much,” says Young. “That we have NZSO principal cellist Andrew Joyce as soloist is so gratifying and not just because of his wonderful talent and musicianship but also because of the close nature of his relationship with Ian.”

A cello bow made in by Irish bow-maker Gary Leahy in memory of his former co-worker, in a special case provided by luthier John Harte and Yoshito Ishido of Antonio Strings in Christchurch, will be presented to the Victoria University's New Zealand School of Music, and will be used during the concert by Dr Rolf Gjelsten.

The concert features Ian's former cello which is now a scholarship instrument at New Zealand School of Music, some of the instruments set up by Ian or gifted to his fellow musicians. Also playing are an up-and-coming string quartet. “Ian encouraged younger musicians, and was great at sourcing instruments for students,” says concert organiser Greg Squire.

Ian Lyons, originally from Christchurch, serviced many of the country's leading string instrument players from 'Ian's Violin Shop' in Wellington. The case of his mysterious death has yet to be reviewed by the Coroner.

British luthier, David Hume, formerly Resident Luthier at the Royal College of Music in London, is establishing a workshop and shop at Level 5, 75 Ghuznee Street, Wellington from the end of July, continuing Ian's legacy.

The free concert starts at 2.30pm, and concludes with Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B-flat major.

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