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NZTrio Performs Old World: New World


Sun 12 May 2013, 5:00pm–7:00pm

Where: Speirs Centre, Palmerston North Boys High, 263 Featherston St, Palmerston North

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $45.00
  • Child: $10.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Related Artists:

Listed by: SWPR Ltd

Tchaikovsky’s epic piano trio and a brand new work from New Zealand composer Claire Cowan feature in the programme for NZTrio’s Palmerston North concert in May as part of a 10 centre Chamber Music New Zealand tour.

NZTrio Old World: New World will be performed at the Speirs Centre on Sunday 12 May as part of the tour which also includes Invercargill, Dunedin, Nelson, Christchurch, Auckland, New Plymouth, Napier, Wellington and Hamilton.

“Intensity, playfulness, exoticism and romance – this programme is a mix of pieces that we know really well with lovely fresh new works, and we’re very much looking forward to introducing them to you,” says NZTrio violinist Justine Cormack.

In 2012, NZTrio celebrated their 10th anniversary together and were presented the KBB CANZ award for outstanding services to New Zealand music. The trio has become one of New Zealand’s premier chamber music ensembles.

Pianist Sarah Watkins says the music chosen showcases the musicians’ talents. “It is a virtuosic programme combining some of our favourite works with new pieces.”

Four works feature in the concert opening with Bright Sheng’s evocative Four Movements, a work which Sarah describes as a favourite of NZTrio, and including a new commission from New Zealand composer Claire Cowan, Subtle Dances.

“We performed one of Claire’s works and liked it so much that we wanted one of our own so commissioned this new piece,” Sarah says, adding that the trio received the work at the end of March. “It’s going to be gorgeous.”

Subtle Dances has three movements – Subtle Dances, Be slow and lie low, and Nerve Lines. Each movement features one of the trio’s instruments. Claire says that while she didn’t set out to do this, “it turned out that way. As I improvised on all of the instruments, I found a particularly strong idea presented itself for each of them, which I worked the other parts around.”

Claire says Subtle Dances was influenced by a range of things – poetry, flamenco dancing, meditative states, hypnotic rhythms and reflections on the changes in her life. She says composing a piano trio is “a little tricky. The challenges were to find a way of using the instruments to support each other instead of working against, or competing ... or simply saying the same thing on different instruments.”

The Palmerston North programme also includes Tchaikovsky’s massive Piano Trio in A minor Opus 50 and American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s piano trio.

Said to be the most challenging piano part he composed, Sarah admits the Tchaikovsky is “epic, but I think the piano part in his piano concerto is far more difficult. It’s a very emotional work and really satisfying music to play and listen to.”

American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s piano trio is dynamic and “packs a punch,” says Sarah. “We’ve had it sitting in our library for a long time and we’re really looking forward to performing it on this tour.”

NZTrio Old World: New World, featuring Justine Cormack (violin), Ashley Brown (cello) and Sarah Watkins (piano) is at the Speirs Centre in Palmerston North on Sunday 12 May at 5.00pm.

Tickets are available from Dash Tickets (06) 350 1922 or and for more information visit

Chamber Music New Zealand acknowledges major funding from Creative New Zealand.

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