Baroque music superstars open season in Wellington

Press Release – Chamber Music New Zealand
“….an urbane sexiness, far removed from the rather chaste tradition of English Purcell performance” – The Guardian, UK
Early music superstars L’Arpeggiata make their New Zealand debut in the opening tour of Chamber Music New Zealand’s Kaleidoscopes 2017 Season, with a performance in Wellington.

The concert L’Arpeggiata: Music For A While is at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 18 March as part of the five centre tour which includes Auckland, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Directed by Christina Pluhar, the French baroque/jazz cross-over ensemble will perform a programme subtitled ‘Music For A While’ featuring Purcell spiced up with jazz improvisation. The programme draws inspiration from Henry Purcell’s famous secular and sacred songs, hymns and dances, the 10-piece ensemble fuses the theatre and court music of 17th century London with the sophisticated improvisatory art of jazz.

Christina Pluhar says the programme for the New Zealand tour is very special. “Purcell’s compositions were revolutionary at the time. He used a lot of dissonance and repeating bass lines which are perfect for musicians to improvise on top of.”

L’Arpeggiata, which has recently been named a finalist for a prestigious BBC Music Magazine Award, specialises in 17th century music and play instruments from the period. The core ensemble has been playing together for 16 years, but bring in different guest musicians and singers for many of their concerts and tours – for the New Zealand tour the ensemble is joined by jazz musicians.

“We will be improvising in both baroque and jazz styles. We love the different input we receive with guest musicians. It keeps us fresh and there’s a constant musical exchange. I think the audience can sense that and feel the energy and connections that are happening on stage and that’s exciting.”

The programme for the New Zealand concerts includes Purcell’s ‘Music For A While’, an incidental piece he composed for a play in 1962, John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee’s Oedipus, along with well-known pieces ‘Dido’s Lament’ from Dido and Aeneas and ‘Strike the viol’ from Come Ye Sons of Art.

“…not simply a jazz or rock version of Purcell but a wholesale rethinking of an antique repertoire for a stylistically diverse modern musical world.” – James Mannheim, Allmusic

L’Arpeggiata: Music For A While is one of seven concerts coming to Wellington during the Chamber Music New Zealand 2017 season. Highlights also include Grammy Award winning pianist Kathryn Stott, acclaimed Bach violinist Sigiswald Kuijken, chamber music royalty – the Takács Quartet, and vibrant wind ensemble Imani Winds.

L’Arpeggiata performs at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 18 March. Tickets are available through Ticketek or phone 0800 842 538. Visit for more details.

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

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