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Christopher's Classics: Aroha String Quartet


Fri 24 Jun 2011, 8:00pm

Where: Rangi Ruru Girls' School, 59 Hewitts Rd, Merivale, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Patron: $50.00
  • Adult: $40.00
  • Full-time student: $15.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Related Artists:

Haihong Liu (violin); Beiyi Xue (violin); Zhongxian Jin (viola); Robert Ibell (cello).


Szymanowski: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 56
Schnittke: String Quartet No. 1
Schubert: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 29, No.1 ‘Rosamunde’

About the Quartet:

Founded in 2004, the Aroha String Quartet has firmly established its place at the forefront of the New Zealand music scene. Passionate musicality and impressive technique are hallmarks of their performances.

A favourite of Christopher's Classics, in recent years the quartet has also been included on Chamber Music New Zealand’s Regional Touring roster, which has taken them to perform for enthusiastic music societies in many small centres around the country.

In August of 2010 the Aroha String Quartet attended the prestigious International Summer Academy near Vienna, Austria, where they worked with renowned teachers such as Hatto Bayerle, formerly violist with the Alban Berg Quartet and Shmuel Askenazi, of the Vermeer Quartet.

“After two weeks of intensive coaching, rehearsing and performing we were exhausted, but very excited.” said Haihong Liu, the Quartet's first violinist. “We were working with some of the best chamber music teachers around, and the group's playing has benefited hugely.”

Following the time in Austria the quartet made a four - day visit to China performing concerts at Jinan University and the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou.

A New Zealand work, ‘Moon, Tides and Shoreline’ by Gillian Whitehead, formed the basis of a two hour workshop the Quartet gave to students and staff at Jinan University. They also performed the piece in their concerts in China and on three occasions in Austria.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a wonderful piece of music from our home country to audiences overseas,” said cellist Robert Ibell. “Reactions to it in both Austria and China were really positive.”

Plans for 2011 include an invitation to perform at the prestigious Huntington Music Festival in New South Wales in November. This long-running festival which is presented by the Huntington Vineyard in association with Australia’s major chamber music presenters, Musica Viva.

Followers of the quartet’s activities over the years will remember their original cellist Jiaxin Cheng, and may have wondered where she is now? Some years ago she met eminent English cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, the younger brother of Sir Andrew, when he was performing in New Zealand. They married in London in July 2009 (which explains why she left the quartet!) and are now excitedly awaiting the arrival of their first child in June this year. Jiaxin’s former colleagues in the quartet keep in regular contact with her and are also very excited by her news.

What the reviewers said:

As members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra they brought the skills expected from players in our leading orchestra, and they also had virtues found in superior chamber music ensembles. There was a fine understanding among the players, tonal finesse, and their interpretations had style and character.
Hanno Fairburn – Daily Post, Rotorua

With utter unanimity, their bows touched the strings – and I was astonished. For one thing, rarely have I heard a string quartet produce such breathtakingly gorgeous, mellow, velvety sound.
Paul Serotsky – Northern Advocate

About the music:

Their programme begins with the richly complex and extremely colourful String Quartet No. 2 by Karol Szymanowski, followed by the strident, serial String Quartet No. 1 of Alfred Schnittke. The recital concludes with the melodic lyricality of Schubert's Rosamunde Quartet.

This concert will be held in St Andrew's Church, Rangi Ruru School.

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