An exciting group of four young musicians will play in Whanganui next week.

The Villani Piano Quartet will visit Whanganui on their five-concert tour as part of Chamber Music New Zealand's 2016 Encompass Series. The concert in Whanganui is presented by Chamber Music Wanganui.

After years of studying and performing in Europe, including gaining their Masters in Chamber Music, cellist Sarah Spence and violinist Marko Pop Ristov moved to Auckland where they met playing as principals with the newly formed Wairua Sinfonietta. They joined forces with established Auckland musicians, pianist Flavio Villani and violist Helen Bevin to create the Villani Piano Quartet.

The quartet came together to perform rarely played piano quartets from composers such as Brahms, Mahler, Schumann and others.


Marko has his Masters in Chamber Music from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Since his arrival in New Zealand in 2013 Marko is a regular player with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra as well as section leader of Bach Musica.

Sarah has a German Equivalent Master of Chamber Music from the Robert Schumann Musik Hochschule. In Manchester, Sarah studied with the solo cellist of the Royal Danish Orchestra, Kim Bak Dinitzen and Baroque Cellist, Susan Shepherd. In her final year, Sarah met Solo Cellist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and was invited to study her masters with him in Duesseldorf. Sarah plays on a Royal Forster Cello, circa 1790.

Originally from Dunedin, Helen gained a Masters of Music with Distinction from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2011, studying under Rachel Roberts. She then spent two years in London freelancing with such orchestras as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia, touring extensively throughout Europe and China.

In 2012, Flavio completed a Master of Piano Performance at the University of Auckland with first class honours under the guidance of pianist Stephen De Pledge. He won the Northland Society Piano Competition in 2008, as well as first prize in the Llewelyn Piano Competition in both 2011 and 2012. Flavio has performed extensively in New Zealand and abroad.

The Villani Piano Quartet will perform at the Prince Edward Auditorium, Wanganui Collegiate School on September 8, at 7.30pm. Tickets available from the Royal Wanganui Opera House or at the door.