Wellington Scoop

Michael Houstoun to play all 32 Beethoven sonatas as birthday celebration

Press Release – Chamber Music New Zealand
Three giants of the classical music world headline Chamber Music New Zealand’s 2013 Kaleidoscopes season.

Inventive, daring and exhilarating – Kronos Quartet opens the season in March with concerts in four centres; while in June, Tokyo String Quartet has two New Zealand concerts on its farewell world tour; and throughout the year, Chamber Music New Zealand celebrates the 60th birthday year of acclaimed New Zealand pianist Michael Houstoun performing all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas in 40 concerts.

“This year’s programme is very special as we enjoy the return of favourite ensembles, including Kronos Quartet and Tokyo String Quartet, and celebrate an incredible milestone with one of our favourite New Zealand artists – Michael Houstoun,” says Chamber Music New Zealand chief executive Euan Murdoch.

International superstars Kronos Quartet have redefined the chamber music genre and continue to forge a new identity for string quartets in the 21st century. This year marks the quartet’s 40th birthday and to celebrate they are bringing the best music of our time to New Zealand for a four-centre landmark tour.

The tour begins in Auckland with a very special concert featuring Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man as part of Auckland Arts Festival 2013, before touring to Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch with a programme ranging from ancient Serbia to modern-day New Zealand.

After more than 40 years together, Tokyo String Quartet has announced that they are disbanding. Their two concerts as part of the Chamber Music New Zealand 2013 season will be a last chance to experience one of the world’s supreme chamber ensembles.

In these concerts, the Tokyo String Quartet bring with them three masterpieces from three very different centuries: Mozart’s Hoffmeister Quartet, Bartók’s String Quartet No 6, and Brahms’ expansive C minor Quartet.

In October 2012 Michael Houstoun celebrates his 60th birthday and Chamber Music New Zealand marks this milestone throughout 2013 with Beethoven reCYCLE, a 40 concert celebration performing all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas performed in three parts across the country, an historic repeat cycle of his famous Beethoven tour 20 years ago.

“Those of us who remember Michael’s extraordinary first cycle more than two decades ago will not want to miss this one.” Euan Murdoch says. “And if you haven’t experienced immersing yourself in the genius of these great works, here’s your opportunity.”

As a taster for Beethoven reCYCLE, this month Michael performs Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations in Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, and Napier.

“The Diabelli Variations are an incredible masterpiece and cover such a range. They really are the synthesis of all of Beethoven – from the simplest of ideas to the most complex.

“It is virtuosic writing and it’s fast, exciting and wonderful. Beethoven speaks to audiences in a way which I don’t think any other composer has replicated – people respond to his music because he tells the truth; they find a catharsis and an explanation for their lives.”

Also featuring in the Chamber Music New Zealand 2013 season are concert tours by two new ensembles, as well as NZTrio, Australia’s Goldner String Quartet and Britain’s The Tallis Scholars.

New Zealand pianist Diedre Irons has joined up with friends Rebecca Steel (flute) and Debbie Rawson (saxophone) and formed new trio, Galvanised, performing in six centres in March.

The programme takes audiences on a journey through some of the world’s most delightful music from Takács’ extraordinary ‘Fantastics’ to the unashamed romance of Marc Eychenne a Shostakovich, ending with 21st century klezmer and a brand-new commission from Ross Harris.

In May, the NZTrio tours to 10 centres with Chamber Music New Zealand. In 2012 violinist Justine Cormack, cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Sarah Watkins marked a sensational 10 years together and for 2013, the trio will present a programme pairing masterworks from Russia and America with new works from New Zealand and China, including a new commission from young New Zealand composer Claire Cowan.

A very special collaboration heads to all 10 centres in July when Chamber Music New Zealand combines forces with the Royal Society of New Zealand to present Einstein’s Universe. Albert Einstein was not only the greatest physicist of the 20th century – he was also a keen musician. British violinist Jack Liebeck, together with Professor Brian Foster, has presented the Einstein’s Universe programme worldwide – a series of illustrated talks and concerts of the music that Einstein played and loved.

For this New Zealand tour, Jack Liebeck ‘Young British Performer of the Year’ is joined by pianist Stephen de Pledge, cellist Andrew Joyce, Julia Joyce on viola and Victoria Sayles on violin.

The Goldner String Quartet team up with their old friend, pianist Piers Lane, for their first-ever tour together in September and October for a 10-centre tour. The programme includes a new commission from New Zealand composer Gareth Farr in celebration of the 21st birthday of the sister-cities relationship between Sydney and Wellington.

The season ends with the superbly talented The Tallis Scholars visiting New Zealand for the first time and performing in cathedrals in four centres, including a concert in the new Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, and concerts in Auckland, Napier and Wellington.

This special tour programme includes works that The Tallis Scholars have made famous: Allegri’s Miserere and Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli; Elizabethan motets by William Byrd; and works from two of the most beautiful contemporary composers for voices, John Tavener and Arvo Pärt. The evening finishes with the finest choristers from each of the four centres joining The Tallis Scholars for the astonishing 40-part masterpiece, Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium.

Bookings for Chamber Music New Zealand’s Kaleidoscopes Concert Season 2013 are open for subscribers from Friday 5 October and public bookings open on Monday 26 November. For more information and the full programme, visit www.chambermusic.co.nz

Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges major funding from Creative New Zealand.

The full programme is available here.


WELLINGTON: Ilott Theatre, Wellington Town Hall| Saturday 20 September 5.00pm| Book at Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) www.ticketek.co.nz SOLD OUT


GALVANISED with Diedre Irons (piano)
2-9 March
Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson and Invercargill

9-14 March (in association with Auckland Arts Festival 2013)
Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin

Part One (March/April): Auckland, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch
Part Two (June/August): Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill
Part Three (October/November): Auckland, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch plus concerts in Hamilton, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill

2-16 May
Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill

14 & 15 June
Auckland and Wellington

15-31 July (in association with The Royal Society of New Zealand)
Auckland, Hamilton Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill

GOLDNER STRING QUARTET with Piers Lane (piano)
21 September – 5 October
Auckland, Hamilton Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill

19-23 October
Auckland, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch

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