Bay musicians ready to battle it out

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Nearly 80 young Bay of Plenty musicians are tuning up to compete in the annual New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest.

The Bay of Plenty district contest of the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest takes place on Tuesday, June 10 and is one of 15 district contests being held nationwide to select the top 12 ensembles who will compete in the National Finals in Christchurch in August.

This year the Bay of Plenty contest has attracted 21 ensembles, an increase on last year's numbers and involving 78 musicians from around the Bay of Plenty and Taupo regions including two ensembles from Rotorua, four groups from Taupo and a guitar trio from Katikati. Overall throughout New Zealand, 507 ensembles of between three and eight musicians including 19 octets and involving close to 2000 students, will compete for spots in the National Finals.

Chamber Music New Zealand chief executive Euan Murdoch said he was delighted with entry numbers for the 2014 contest which are up from 456 ensembles nationwide in 2013.

Mr Murdoch said it showed there was still strong interest and support for chamber music in schools and this was excellent news as the competition celebrates its 49th anniversary. The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest is the longest running youth music competition in New Zealand and is the only nationwide chamber music competition for young musicians and composers. As well as organising the contest, Chamber Music New Zealand also arranges coaching and open workshops for ensembles.

At the end of each District Contest the winning group from each district, and up to four highly commended groups, will be named and an award will be given for the overall Best Performance of a New Zealand work.

The top ensembles from the District Contests compete in the National Finals on Friday and Saturday, August 1 and 2 in Christchurch.

Each member of the winning group at the National Final receives the James Wallace Arts Trust Prize of $1000.

The contest also includes an Original Composition section which, this year, has attracted 37 entries. New Zealand composer Philip Norman will select the winning score and the winning composer will be announced on Monday 16 June. The winner will be awarded the SOUNZ prize of $500.

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest is well-known for nurturing young musicians who go on to successful musical careers. Iconic New Zealand pianist Michael Houstoun competed in the event when he was a school student in Timaru and acclaimed pianist John Chen is also a past winner. He went on to win the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition and the 2003 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and in 2009, his ensemble, Saguaro Trio won the International Chamber Music Competition in Hamburg, Germany.

The New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest - Bay of Plenty District Contest takes place on Tuesday 10 June at Bethlehem College at 9.30am and 1pm. Entry is $5 on the door.

In presenting the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest, Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges the generous support of The New Zealand Community Trust, ABRSM, SOUNZ (Centre for NZ Music), The Wallace Arts Trust, KBB Music and various regional funders who support events at District Contests.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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