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String Quartet celebrates double anniversary in July

String Quartet celebrates double anniversary in July
String Quartet celebrates double anniversary in July

The Aroha String Quartet from Wellington will celebrate a double anniversary next month. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Aroha Quartet, one of Aotearoa’s finest classical chamber music ensembles. It is also the tenth anniversary of the Quartet’s biannual ASQ International Music Academy, a week-long string orchestra and chamber ensemble course for students and adult non-professional string players.

Original members of the Aroha String Quartet in 2004. From left to right: back row – Zhongxian Jin (viola), Haihong Liu (first violin); front row – Beiyi Xue (second violin), Jiaxin Cheng (cello). Photo/supplied

Three events in the second week of July mark the occasion, all taking place at St Andrew’s on The Terrace in Wellington. On Wednesday, July 10 at 12:15 p.m., the members of the Aroha Quartet will be joined by former members of the Quartet along with guest teachers and players from ten years of ASQ Academy to perform music by Boccherini, Arensky and Mozart.

Later that week on Friday 12 July at 5.30pm, the Aroha Quartet will be joined by NZSO double bassist Oleksandr Gunchenko to perform three exciting works for string quintet by French composer George Onslow, Auckland-based composer Louise Webster and Czech composer Antonin. Dvorák.

Current members of the Aroha String Quartet. From left to right: Haihong Liu (first violin), Zhongxian Jin (viola), Konstanze Artmann (second violin), Robert Ibell (cello).
Photo/supplied

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Finally, the participants of the tenth ASQ International Music Academy will present small ensemble works by composers such as Boccherini, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Onslow, Schubert and Dvorak during a Gala Concert on Saturday, July 13 at 5 p.m. The Academy String Orchestra, conducted by NZSO Associate Concertmaster Donald Armstrong, will perform Boccherini’s famous ‘Night Music from the Streets of Madrid’ and Elgar’s Introduction & Allegro with the members of the Aroha Quartet as soloists.

Entry to all three events is available via koha/donation

Haihong Liu, first violinist of the Aroha Quartet, said: “In 2004, four musicians who had arrived in Aotearoa from China became friends and discovered their common love for playing chamber music together. We delved into our library looking for string quartets to play for John Nixon, a friend from New Caledonia. John told us, “All you need is a name and a public concert.” For example, the new Aroha String Quartet gave its official debut on July 4, 2004 to a packed audience of over 200 people in a church in Te Aroha.

“Although some members of the Quartet have changed over the years, we still share that passion for chamber music.” Haihong said.

Ten years ago the Aroha Quartet held its first ASQ International Music Academy in Newtown, Wellington. Space in the community center where this Academy was held was limited, so some groups rehearsed in other buildings nearby, including the home of one of the quartet members.

Cathie McCallum, administrator of the ASQ International Music Academy, said: “Every year the ASQ Academy seems to become more exciting than the last! It’s a great course, and with it being the tenth this year, I’m sure it will be even more special.

“I’m really looking forward to the concert at St Andrew’s on the Terrace on Wednesday afternoon with many of the former members of the quartet and previous teachers. The Gala Concert is always very special for all participants and their sense of achievement is evident. It’s such a great evening!”

© Scoopmedia

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