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John Chen (Piano)

Sunday 22nd April at 2.30pm

John Chen (Piano)

“Chen’s ultra-sensitivity and beautifully-honed delicacy brought out
all of the music’s liquid tintinnabulations, the textures at once
cleanly-drawn and ambiently glowing” (Peter Mechen – Middle C)

Programme

Handel: Suite in F minor
Chopin: Sonata No 2 in Bb minor, Op 35
Dukas: Sonata in Eb minor

In 2004 New Zealand’s John Chen became the youngest ever winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition, also taking prizes for best performances of classical composers, chamber music and concerto. The previous year he won the Lev Vlassenko Australasian Piano Competition, and the following year graduated from the University of Auckland. Since then he has performed around the world and recorded CDs of piano works by Henri Dutilleux, Debussy and Ravel. In 2009 John’s Saguaro Piano Trio won the Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition. Following a period teaching at the Hamburg Musikhochschule, John has recently been living and teaching in Zambia.

His recital programme offers us the rare chance to hear one of Handel’s great keyboard suites, often overlooked in favour of the suites and partitas of Bach. More familiar will be Chopin’s much-loved second sonata, known as the “Funeral March Sonata”. The second half of John’s programme will introduce us to the Sonata by Paul Dukas, a French composer best known for his orchestral work The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Written around 1900, this sonata led Debussy to write “Monsieur Dukas knows what music is made of: it is not just brilliant sound designed to beguile the ear… it is an endless treasure trove of possible forms and souvenirs”.

NZ String Quartet

Sunday 25th March at 2.30pm

NZ String Quartet

“The NZSQ players seemed to take us into the heart of each phrase, each succeeding episode, each abrupt change of mood, colour and pace” (Peter Mechen – Middle C)

Programme

Beethoven: String Quartet in Eb, Op 127
Beethoven: String Quartet in Eb, Op 127
Schubert: String Quartet in C minor, “Quartettsatz”
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op 10

Having celebrated their 30th Anniversary in 2017, the New Zealand String Quartet make a welcome return to our stage, this time with a new member. 2nd violinist Doug Beilman stepped down at the end of 2015 and has been replaced by Australian violinist Monique Lapins. The quartet presents a vast array of concerts throughout New Zealand each year as well as regularly touring overseas to the UK, Europe, North America, China and Japan. Frequent visits to Australia have included appearances at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville and the Canberra International Music Festival.

Opus 127 is the first of Beethoven’s six “late quartets”. A somewhat tender and introverted work, it contains one of Beethoven’s most sublimely expressive slow movements. The Quartettsatz is one of the most popular and important works in Schubert’s chamber music repertoire, despite being just a single movement from a quartet that was never completed. To round off a concert of contrasts will be Debussy’s String Quartet, a brilliant work of stunning originality. In 1999 the NZSQ released a CD of the Debussy and Fauré Quartets. Amongst enthusiastic reviews, the Washington Post said: “The New Zealanders gave Debussy’s G minor quartet a dreamy, shivering elegance”.

Michael Houstoun (Piano)

Michael Houstoun (Piano)

Sunday 18th February at 2.30pm

Michael Houstoun (Piano)

“The piano’s very first breath-taking surge of chords became, in Houstoun’s hands, an irresistible welcoming, opening up an array of glittering detail” (William Dart, NZ Herald)

Programme

J S Bach: English Suite No 2 in A minor
Chopin: Ballades Nos 1 and 2
Mozart: Sonata in A minor
Chopin: Ballades Nos 3 and 4

What better way could there be to open our 40th Anniversary season than with a recital from New Zealand’s greatest and most admired pianist? Michael Houstoun has being entrancing the Waikanae Music Society audience with his wonderful playing ever since his first visit here in 1986 when, incidentally, he played the same Mozart sonata that he will perform this year. Since than he has brought us such delights as Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Schubert’s Winterreise Song Cycle in an unforgettable partnership with tenor Keith Lewis, numerous Beethoven Sonatas, and when our new Fazioli piano arrived in 2011, Michael was our pianist of choice to be the first to play it.

This year’s recital will open with the second of Bach’s English Suites, a substantial and exuberantly good-natured work. That will be followed by the first helping of what will be for many the main delight of this performance – a rare chance to hear all four of Chopin’s Ballades in one concert. After the interval, Mozart’s A minor Sonata, a dramatic and often tragic-sounding work that is considered to be one of his finest, will lead to a second helping of the supreme romantic masterpieces that are Chopin’s Ballades.

This concert is generously sponsored by