Challenge for Houstoun

Pianist Michael Houstoun will play the first of this year's lunchtime concerts at the University of Waikato.

Houstoun, a household name in New Zealand since the beginning of his successful international career in the 1980s, will perform J S Bach's Goldberg Variations at the Academy of Performing Arts next Wednesday.

It's a work that many pianists aspire to in their careers and Houstoun says the masterpiece requires immense stamina and concentration.

"It's 30 minutes longer than the next longest work in my repertoire," he says.

"The Goldberg Variations are more demanding than anything else written for keyboards in the 18th century, much harder than anything else J S Bach wrote. All these difficulties are nothing compared to the pleasure of playing such a magnificent masterpiece."

The university lunchtime recitals are hosted by the Conservatorium of Music. They run every Wednesday and are organised by lecturer and concert pianist Katherine Austin.

"We are incredibly honoured to have Michael, by far New Zealand's most celebrated concert pianist, open the recital concerts for us," says Austin.

The concerts are open to the public for a small donation and the series will see a large variety of musical talent - national and international performers - plus staff and students from the Conservatorium of Music.

On the first Wednesday in March, singers Dame Malvina Major and David Griffiths are joined by the New Zealand Chamber Soloists for a concert of opera gems and piano trios.

The concerts are in the Concert Chamber at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, every Wednesday at 1pm. A $5 donation gains entry to Michael Houstoun's performance.

- Hamilton News

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