"[Wilma and Friends] exchanged folk melody and rhythms, enjoying each other's musical company in an energetic and spirited reading."
The Age, review of a concert last year at the Melbourne Recital Centre.
Chamber Music New Zealand works closely with New Zealand musicians to assist them in bringing their music to diverse audiences. Through relationships with a large network of presenters, including volunteer music societies and festivals, CMNZ co-ordinates tours that take Kiwi musicians to towns small and large the length of the country through the Encompass Regional Series.
CMNZ is fortunate to be bringing Wilma Smith, legendary Kiwi violinist, back to New Zealand for an 11 centre tour, including Whanganui. Every year Wilma puts together three different groups of musical friends she thinks might create some exciting chemistry and they put together programmes full of variety and appeal, from premières to revered masterpieces and undiscovered gems from every musical era. On Tuesday, October 10 at 7.30pm, Wilma & Friends will be in Whanganui, performing at the Prince Edward Auditorium, Wanganui Collegiate School. This is the final subscription concert in the 2017 Series, presented by Chamber Music Wanganui.
Wilma is the former concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and founding member of the New Zealand String Quartet. She will be joined by Caroline Henbest on the viola, who may be familiar as principal viola with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, along with two up and coming Kiwi musicians who are among those that have stormed the National Academy of Music in Melbourne over recent years - Alexandra Partridge, cello, and Andrew Leathwick, piano.
A special feature of this tour is the inclusion of a new work especially written for the group by their pianist - he explains the circumstances of the commission arose out of a chance meeting with Wilma at a tram stop in Melbourne in 2015, where he struck up a conversation and invited her to attend an upcoming recital showcasing some of his compositions. Given free rein in writing this work, Andrew feels it might be most influenced by the sound of the Russian Romantics and perhaps also "dashes of Greek folk music".
Like so many musicians in New Zealand, he traces his first real experience of chamber music back to performing in the NZCT Chamber Music Contest in 2008. What is most satisfying for Andrew about playing in small ensembles is "having others on stage to create energy with you. It doesn't all rest on your shoulders, but instead you can spur one another on, and get into a good groove together."
Be sure to catch this brand-new work, alongside favourites of the piano quartet repertoire by Beethoven, and Dvorák. Tickets are available from the Royal Wanganui Opera House, or at the door (no eftpos). Adults $35, Seniors $32, CMW subscribers $20 (or prepaid), students $5
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