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London Conchord are an acclaimed chamber music ensemble that are sometimes referred to as the “London Supergroup” in chamber music circles. They’re coming to New Zealand for the first time this spring to treat local classical aficionados to the rich sound that has won them a worldwide following. Stuffed to the gunnels with musical talent, the 8-piece ensemble combines strings, wind and piano to delightful purpose. They’ll be treating Christchurch audiences to a programme of Mozart, Schoenberg, Poulenc and Debussy at Charles Luney Auditorium on the 11th of October in what is sure to be one of the highlights of the local classical music calendar of 2016. London Conchord Ensemble, Charles Luney Auditorium, Tuesday 11 October. Tickets via www.chambermusic.co.nz...
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A very special evening with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa this March offers the opportunity to see one of the world’s greatest opera singers live in concert. Dame Kiri opens a six-venue tour of the country with a gala event on her 72nd birthday, March 7, at the historic Isaac Theatre Royal, before carrying on to Invercargill, Wellington, Gisborne, Tauranga, and Blenheim. Dame Kiri last performed on the ITR stage just ten days before the 22nd February 2011 earthquake – the last 100% full house performance at the theatre before quake damage and the restoration process closed it for 4 years. The Christchurch evening will be a ‘gala black tie and red carpet’ fundraising event to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the 2011 disaster, and to celebrate the first fully operational year of a fabulous restored theatre in the heart of the city. Dame Kiri will be accompanied by one of...
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Freddy Kampf. Image: Neda Navae.   The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra opens its 2015 season with more masterful music from classical favourite Beethoven. Following last year’s popular Beethoven: The Symphonies concert series, the orchestra doubles down on the German great, with its first national tour for 2015 set to feature the famous composer’s much-loved piano concertos, performed and directed by British piano star Freddy Kempf. This charismatic force of nature at the piano is famous for his mesmerising finger work. This is the ideal concert series for this internationally acclaimed musician, who is on his fourth visit to New Zealand. He last performed with the NZSO in 2012 when he played works by Gershwin, Bernstein and Shostakovich.   Freddy and the NZSO hit the Horncastle Arena stage on Tuesday the 10th of March to present the Emperor Piano Concerto No. 5 and the fiery drama of the Third Piano Concerto....
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Having sought solace from Wednesday’s wintery chill within the magnificently-transformed CBS Arena – now bohemian Paris 2014 – no suspension of disbelief is required for the opening freezing flat scene of New Zealand Opera’s sublime production of La bohème. A fine bromance is underway as painter Marcello (Phillip Rhodes), philosopher Colline (Wade Kernot), musician Schaunard (Robert Tucker) and poet Rodolfo (Shaun Dixon) huddle around a barrel burning Rodolfo’s unpublished works in their living room, and razzing each other to keep warm. Cue entrance by the startlingly beautiful Mimi (Talise Trevigne) holding a key and a snuffed candle. So begins one of the greatest love stories ever sung. Director Patrick Nolan’s tender reimagining of Puccini’s classic tale takes the audience on a soaring journey of young love, despair and tragedy. Keeping the content socially relevant, yet faithful to tradition, Nolan beautifully integrates stellar, understated performances from his cast and an impassioned...
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Young Kiwi musicians are set to bring all their skills to Christchurch at the start of August to compete in the national finals of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest.  The longest running youth music competition in New Zealand, the contest is also the only nationwide chamber music competition for young secondary school musicians and composers in the country, and showcases a huge array of homegrown talent on show from over 500 ensembles across the country from Whangarei to Invercargill. Hopefuls are whittled down to just 12 groups for the finals weekend, with the winning group named at the completion of the concert on Saturday evening. Finalist groups this year hail from Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch (there's a strong showing in the finals from the city, with 2 groups each from Burnside High School and Rangi Ruru having made the cut – go Canterbury!). There are three performance sessions...
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ORCA & ELECT THE DEAD SYMPHONY Light and dark collide as System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian joins the Canterbury Symphony Orchestra for the Orca & Elect the Dead Symphony Tour. Selecting Christchurch as the venue for his only New Zealand concert after a wildly successful European leg of the tour, Tankian’s Orca mixes influences from early 20th century composers with modern film compositional dynamics.According to Tankian, “Orca is known as the killer whales, but is really a dark dolphin, a symbolism for human dichotomy”.So what can you expect? How about a mingling of sounds and intertwining pieces that are both serene and bombastic at the same time (say what?), offering a fresh interpretation to the classical music. All four acts of Orca will be performed alongside many songs from the critically-acclaimed Elect the Dead Symphony.Tankian and the CSO’s Orca & Elect the Dead Symphony Tour will be hitting CBS...
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Sparkles, space, stars and a symphony – it’s all happening at this year’s annual city favourite, ASB Classical Sparks, which is once more set to literally go off with a bang again this year this weekend on Saturday 1 February at 7:30pm.   The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra will be joined by Kiwi icons the Topp Twins for an evening packed with excellent music, laughter and the spectacular fireworks display that has made the annual event a highlight of the Garden City SummerTimes festival (and the summer in general). Paul Kean, Christchurch City Council Events Business Coordinator, says the night will present a varied programme for all ages and tastes.“As aficionados will expect, the music and musicianship will be first rate. This year’s concert is designed as a musical journey into outer space. Conductor Kenneth Young will lead the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra through Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz as featured in 2001: A Space...