Strings


1st Violins


DONALD ARMSTRONG
Associate Concertmaster

Supported by Interflora Pacific Unit

Donald Armstrong is NZSO Associate Concertmaster. Donald likes speedy high risk pursuits such as ski-ing, fast power boats, sail boats and land yachts, catching incredibly big fish (well, trying to), and sitting at the front of the NZSO keeping up with volatile conductors.

He is very busy performing, teaching, conducting, playing chamber music, and continues his quest for the wild, wacky and wonderful in music.


YURY GEZENTSVEY
Principal

Born in Kiev, USSR, in 1952, Yury graduated in 1974 from the Gnessin Institute of Music in Moscow, before immigrating to the USA in 1979 where he served as Concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and then of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Caracas, Venezuela. During this time, he also formed a highly successful Chamber Ensemble with acclaimed American pianist Harriet Serr and was chairman of the panel of judges at the final examinations in Violin of the National Conservatory of Music ‘Juan Jose Landaeta’ in Caracas in 1983 and 1984.

From 1985, Yury has held the position of Principal First Violin in the NZSO, and has also led the orchestra on numerous occasions. He has taken part in many International Festivals of the Arts in Wellington, as leader of the ‘Gezentsvey Quartet’, as a member of the Massey Piano Quartet and of the New Zealand Piano Quartet, and as a soloist.

He has recorded extensively for radio and television, as well as on a number of CDs, including ‘Romantic Strings’, which was nominated for Best Album of the Year in 1995. As Leader of the Dominion Quartet he is recording Alfred Hill’s String Quartets with Naxos. Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 4 are already produced and have received very enthusiastic critique.

Yury teaches advanced violinists. His book Scales & Arpeggios for Violin was published in Auckland in 1995. His website is www.violinart.co.nz.


EMMA BARRON

Emma studied violin with Natalia Morozova at the Rotterdam Conservatorium of Music and with Jan Tawroszewicz at the University of Canterbury, completing a Bachelor of Music degree with first class honours in 1997. During this time Emma participated twice in the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, enjoying masterclasses with artists such as Charles Castleman, Dong-Suk Kang and Dene Olding. Emma has led the Christchurch Youth Orchestra, the University of Canterbury Chamber Orchestra and worked as a first violinist in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. After graduating she undertook further study in Lubeck, Germany and in Italy.

An Alex Lindsay Award recipient, Emma was appointed to the NZSO First Violin Section in May 2002. She is a tutor at the Queenstown Violin Summer School, and enjoys performing in chamber orchestras and smaller ensembles including the contemporary music group Stroma.


URSULA EVANS

Ursula started playing the violin as an eight-year-old in Christchurch. Having a German mother, she had a special interest in Germany. In 1982 Ursula was awarded a scholarship for postgraduate study in Germany where she stayed for eight-and-a-half years, the last three years working full time in the Philharmonic Essen. In 1991 Ursula returned to New Zealand to take up a position in the NZSO. In 2003 she was a recipient of the Scottwood Trust-sponsored NZSO Study Bursary.

With her husband, John, and daughter, Tessa, she lived at the William Goodenough College in London and she attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she completed a Diploma of Continuing Professional Development as well as receiving weekly violin lessons with Brien Stait. In 2007–08 she undertook a player-exchange with Agnes Bilowitzki, a first violinist in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Augsburg in Germany.

Ursula and her family lived in Agnes’s city flat in Bavaria, enjoying bike rides in the surrounding countryside and tramping trips in the Alps, while experiencing the variety of repertoire in an orchestra that plays in opera and ballet productions as well as symphonic concerts.


Malavika GopalMALAVIKA GOPAL

Originally from Wellington, Malavika completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Auckland with Mary O’Brien. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Patricia Pratt Scholarship and moved to Boston to study with Miriam Fried and Masuko Ushioda at the New England Conservatory. There, she was loaned a beautiful French Vuillaume for a year. She was a founding member of the Excelsa Quartet, and they were invited to Europe to study with the world-renowned, Alban Berg Quartet. In 2012, after a number of successes with the quartet in competitions all over Europe, Malavika left the group and joined the famed Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, Germany.

As a result of many national and international competition successes, Malavika has appeared as a soloist with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia and University Orchestra, Wellington Youth Orchestra and New England Conservatory Chamber Orchestra. She has participated in many festivals including Sangat, Prussia Cove and Schleswig Holstein and has had the great privilege of collaborating with some of the world’s leading conductors, soloists and teachers.


PAM JIANG

Pam was born in Guangzhou, China, in 1983. She began studying the violin at 4 years of age with Zhongxian Kim Jin, who now teaches at the New Zealand School of Music. By the age 16, Pam had won several significant prizes for young violinists in China and held solo recitals. In 1999, she went to Mainz, Germany for her first international violin competition – the 7th Yfrah Neaman Wettbewerbs International Violin Competition. Besides winning the Special Prize, she also received a full scholarship from Professor Taras Gabora (violin professor at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, USA), and was invited to give a solo recital in Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. Pam was a semifinalist in the Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Lublin, Poland in 2000.

Pam came to New Zealand in 2002. The following year, she began studying towards a Bachelor of Music at Victoria University in Wellington. She was a member of the National Youth Orchestra in 2002 and 2003 where she gained her first orchestral experience. In 2004, she joined the Vector Wellington Orchestra (previously Wellington Sinfonia) as a first violinist. After a successful audition in Sydney, Pam was selected to participate in the prestigious Pacific Music Festival Academy in 2006, playing under Maestro Valery Gergiev in Japan. By July of 2007, Pam had successfully completed her probation and been appointed as Associate Principal (3rd Chair) first violin of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. In September 2010, Pam joined the first violin section of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.


HAIHONG LIU

Supported by Multi-Media Systems

Chinese-born NZSO first violinist Haihong is a graduate of the prestigious Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in the People’s Republic of China, where she won the China National Chamber Music Competition in 1995 with her string quartet. After six years teaching as a violin and chamber music lecturer at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music of Guangzhou, in 2001 Haihong immigrated to New Zealand with her family, joining APO as sub-principal first violin, before she joined the NZSO in 2002. The NZSO World Tour 2005 and the London BBC Proms appearance are the highlights of Haihong’s time with the orchestra.

With her chamber ensembles Aroha String Quartet and Iota String Trio, Haihong enjoys a varied and energetic musical life, as well as developing her new interests in New Zealand of hiking, skiing, golfing, and sailing. Haihong has a musical family, her husband, Zhongxian plays viola, and James, his 17-year-old son, plays violin. Her son Zishan was born in 2008.


ANNE LOESER

German-born Anne studied violin at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule and joined the NZSO in 2000. Before emigrating to New Zealand, Anne played in the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn and Hesse State Theatre Orchestra in Wiesbaden. She was also a member of the award-winning Orfeo Quartet which won a scholarship for a year’s post-graduate study with Sandor Devich of the Bartok Quartet in Budapest. With the Quartet she toured throughout Europe and in South America.

During her teenage years Anne’s principal violin teacher and mentor was Prof. Helmut Heller, Wilhelm Furtwängler’s concertmaster in the Berlin Philharmonic. More recently she worked with many inspiring musicians, among them Norbert Brainin of the Amadeus Quartet, Thomas Kakuska of the Alban Berg Quartet, Hermann Voss and Peter Buck of the Melos Quartet, Shmuel Ashkenasi of the Vermeer Quartet. Anne’s love for chamber music has seen her play in various ensembles, ranging from baroque on authentic instruments to modern (Stroma) throughout New Zealand.

When she’s not making music herself, Anne tutors violin and viola in amateur orchestras, likes to read, explore New Zealand’s outdoors, work in the garden and bake German cakes for the whole orchestra. She is married to NZSO horn-player Gregory Hill.


GREGORY SQUIRE

Born in Waipukurau and educated at the Royal College of Music in London, Gregory led a varied life as soloist, concertmaster and conductor prior to his return to New Zealand.

Gregory is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Hawke’s Bay Orchestra and has conducted and appeared as soloist with the Wellington Sinfonia, the Kapiti Concert Orchestra and the Wellington Chamber Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Massey Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra, and has conducted concerts and opera at the New Zealand School of Music. He also served as Music Director of Wellington Youth Orchestra, a post he held to critical acclaim. As the NZSO’s first Education Officer he oversaw the development of the orchestra’s outreach programme, devising and conducting programmes suitable for all ages and taking the orchestra into schools and community venues.

As a teacher he is active throughout New Zealand, travelling regularly to Invercargill and Hawkes Bay. In his free time he enjoys sailing, paddling, and fishing from the boats he has built. Visit his website at www.gregorysquire.com


REBECCA STRUTHERS

Born in Nelson, Rebecca Struthers won an Associated Board Scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After several years freelancing with orchestras and chamber groups throughout Europe and the UK, she returned home to join the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1991.

Rebecca plays in New Zealand’s leading contemporary ensemble Stroma, and recently with the New Zealand Soloists. She also leads the Chiesa Ensemble and is a member of Felix the Quartet and Iota string trio. She is married to Malcolm Struthers, who plays bass in the orchestra.


ANNA VAN DER ZEE

Supported by The Cranfylde Charitable Trust

Anna van der Zee grew up in Paeroa and studied violin in Wellington and Detmold, Germany. After 5 years of work and study in Germany, Anna returned to New Zealand and co-founded the Tasman String Quartet. With her quartet, she travelled to Boulder, Colorado to study full-time with the Takacs Quartet for 2 years. Along the way the quartet picked up prizes in chamber music competitions in Florida, Missouri and Melbourne, performed in tours for Chamber Music New Zealand, and took part in festivals and masterclasses from Banff to Hamburg. In her travels Anna has worked with musicians such as Eberhard Feltz, Sylvia Rosenberg, Andras Schiff, Donald Weilerstein, Miriam Fried, Nobuko Imai, and members of the New Zealand, Pacifica, Guarneri, St. Lawrence, Emerson, Michelangelo, Juilliard, Schoenberg, and Cleveland String Quartets.

Before joining the NZSO Anna played with the North German Radio Orchestra and the Århus Symphony Orchestra in Denmark. As a student in Wellington, Anna was concertmaster of the Wellington Youth Orchestra and Principal Second Violin of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra. She  has been awarded several prizes and scholarships, including a DAAD scholarship from the German Government and performed concertos by Mendelssohn, Vivaldi, Sibelius, Bach and Mozart.

In her spare time Anna likes to practise being a domestic goddess and spend time in the great outdoors with her husband Chris and her huge Kiwi family. Anna van der Zee plays on a violin by Nigel Harris, generously lent to her by Christopher Marshall.


CRISTINA VASZILCSIN

Cristina Vaszilcsin began her musical career in Romania, where she performed her first solo concert with the Philharmonic of Timisoara at age 10. Cristina won the top prize in the Kocian Competition in the Czech Republic (1991), and first prize at the “National Society of Arts and Letters” in Washington DC (2002). Other international accomplishments include first prizes at the concerto competition at the Mozart Seminar in Romania (1997), the concerto competition at the Musicordia Summer Festival in Massachusetts (2002), and at the National Competitions in Romania (1987, 1994, 1995). Cristina has performed concertos by Bruch, Sibelius, and Mozart with orchestras in the United States and in Europe, some of which have been broadcast on Romanian and German television. Cristina graduated with a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh during which, she was loaned a 1717 Antonio Stradivarius for two years. Her Bachelors Degree in Violin Performance is from the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Cristina moved to New Zealand in 2005 to play in the 1st violin section of the NZSO. Her passion for chamber music has seen her perform throughout New Zealand with the Musika Trio, The Amici Ensemble and colleagues from the NZSO. In January 2012, having been awarded the June Commons scholarship from the NZSO, she completed a month long residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts collaborating with a variety of international artists and focusing on the music of Romanian George Enescu.


BEIYI XUE

Beiyi is originally from Shanghai and began studying the violin at the age of five. Graduating from the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1994 she rose to Principal First Violin and soloist with the Shanghai Symphony before moving to Australia in 2000 for further study. During her time at the Griffith University Australian Institute of Music she regularly played with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

Beiyi has been a permanent member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra since 2003. As an experienced chamber musician, she is also a founding member of the Aroha String Quartet, formed in 2004, which has quickly become one of the most sought after chamber groups in NZ. As well as playing great works of the symphonic repertoire she likes socialising with her fellow musicians and sharing fine food and wine. Beiyi has a passion for the outdoor life.


KRISTINA ZELINSKA

Kristina was born  in Lviv, Ukraine, into a family of musicians, and began to study violin at the age of six with professor Alexander Panov in Kiev. After graduating from Kiev Special Music School, Kristina continued her study at Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kiev. While studying at the Conservatory, Kristina was appointed as principal first violins at the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, performed with Kiev Chamber Orchestra touring internationally throughout Europe and Asia. Her family moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1995 and Kristina and her husband decided to join them in 1999. In Christchurch, Kristina continued her studies at the University of Canterbury with Jan Tawroszewicz, gaining her BMHons degree as well as giving numerous solo and chamber music recitals. In 2001, she took up the position of the third chair of first violins with the Christchurch Symphony and in 2005 moved to Wellington to join the first violin section in the NZSO.

Kristina is also a member of contemporary ensemble Stroma. Kristina enjoys great NZ outdoor life exploring many beautiful camping spots with her husband NZSO’s Double Bass player Alexander Gunchenko and their two children.

Back to top


2nd ViolinSecSp_Naim

 


ANDREW THOMSON
Principal

Supported by the Peter McLeavey Gallery 

Andrew has been Principal Second Violin in the NZSO since 2000. Prior to that he studied at Victoria University and attained a Masters of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is an active Chamber musician, playing viola for Felix the Quartet and contemporary music ensemble Stroma.

Andrew plays on a 1770 Johannes Theodorus Cuypers violin kindly lent to the orchestra by Dr Reinhard Voss.


DAVID GILLING
Sub-Principal

Supported by Wellington Community Trust

David studied with Rodney Friend at the Royal College of Music in London, graduating in 1985. He returned to New Zealand for family reasons following a period of freelancing in England, becoming a member of the NZSO in 1987. Highlights since joining the NZSO include Strauss, Bruckner and Wagner with Franz-Paul Decker, Shostakovich with Rostropovich and performing in the Musikverein in Vienna on the recent European tour.

In addition to recently completing a MMgt degree focusing on organisational aspects of a symphony orchestra, David is trying to master the distinction between caramelisation and burning in the kitchen before alienating too many of his friends. He is married to NZSO Education and Community Coordinator Pascale Parenteau and the household is run very efficiently by their two delightful children, Dominique and Anne-Sophie.


JANET ARMSTRONG
Assistant Sub-Principal

Janet was born in Zimbabwe where she began violin and piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1984 she won a scholarship to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, where she studied with Christopher Rowland (leader of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet) and Benedict Holland. After graduating in 1988, Janet freelanced with many major orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Opera North and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, before taking up her current position of assistant sub-principal second violin in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1991. Janet plays on a fiddle by Derazay.


SIMEON BROOM

Supported by Hamilton City Theatres

Simeon Broom has recently returned to NZ after 10 years in Europe. He began the violin at the age of 4 years in Auckland, and completed Performance Violin studies at Auckland University with Mary O’Brien, during which he won the inaugural University Concerto Competition, with the Elgar Violin Concerto. Simeon received a D.A.A.D (German Academic Exchange) Scholarship and moved to Germany where he studied at the Hochschule für Musik, Düsseldorf with Professor Ida Bieler, and played in the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne as well as performances with ‘Live Music Now’. In 2004 Simeon was finalist in the ‘Young Musicians’ Competition New Zealand’, and has performed as soloist with orchestras both in New Zealand and in Germany.

In 2006, Simeon moved to London to complete his Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with David Takeno and Jack Glickman. He was finalist in the Beares Solo Bach Competition in London and winner of the Sonata Competition at the North London Music Festival. He then spent several years freelancing and has played in orchestras such as the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), English National Opera, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic and the Sydney Symphony, before taking up his position in the NZSO.

Simeon is a keen chamber musician and recently toured with his wife, pianist Rachel Church, for Chamber Music New Zealand as part of the Akoka Quartet.


SHARYN EVANS

From a musical background, Sharyn started learning the violin at the age of six, making up a family quartet. She joined the NZSO trainees in 1969 and the NZSO in June 1972. Sharyn and her late husband Gil Evans, a trumpeter for NZSO, were both members of the NZSO Alumni Association Steering committee. She loves spending time with her Miniature Poodle and family. Her hobbies include painting, tapestries, jigsaws, miniature dolls’ houses, and pottering on the computer.

 


ELSPETH GRAY

Elspeth was born in Scotland and after moving to NZ at the age of 7 began violin lessons at the age of 9. Which was also about the same time she decided to drop the Glasgow accent. She joined the NZSO Trainees in 1988 where she studied with Donald Armstrong, associate concertmaster of the NZSO. After completing a music degree from Otago University she joined the NZSO in 1992 and was also a member of the NZ Chamber Orchestra.

She currently plays on a 1822 Gagliano violin. Her hobbies include trying to fit everything in around her 2 children, twins Eva and Aaron.


ANDREW KASZA

Andrew was born in Huntly in 1955 to Hungarian immigrant parents, his father a winemaker/grower and his mother a horticulturist. The family moved to Napier in 1957 where Andrew completed his education at Colenso High School, having received plenty of musical encouragement from his violin teacher in Taradale, Anna Wilson, and his high school music teacher Barry Fell – his prophetic words “whatever you do when you leave school, don’t give up the violin Andrew” lead to Andrew first abandoning his English Literature papers, and then his French language papers in favour of completing a Bachelor of Music (all at Victoria University of Wellington) majoring in Violin Performance, studying with Gavin Saunders. Work with the then newly founded Wellington Regional Orchestra ensued, followed by a foray into jazz-rock electric violin, both in Wellington and London, eventually resulting in an epiphany that saw Andrew studying classical violin again, firstly at the Guildhall College, and then privately with Paul de Keyser, both in London. Arriving back in NZ in 1982, work in the WRO and studies with Peter Schaeffer, Richard Panting and Tony Cuncannon eventually lead to a successful audition for the NZSO in 1989.

Married with two adult children, Andrew enjoys gardening and cooking, (particularly Hungarian food) both in his Newtown home and in Matarawa in the Wairarapa, where he shares a property with friends and is able to run free in his 1968 Series 2B short wheelbase Land rover.


DEAN MAJOR

Supported by Rex Benson

Born and educated in Wellington, Dean joined the NZSO as a trainee violinist in 1975 and successfully auditioned in 1978 for the ‘big’ orchestra. As a trainee, he studied with the then NZSO Sub-Principal Second Violin, Franco Domaneschi, having previously studied locally with Zillah Castle. In 1980 he was appointed a National Artist to the Radio NZ Concert Programme, and in 1982, son number one, Nicholas, was born. In 1987 Dean was invited to be a founding member of the NZ Chamber Orchestra (now NZSO Chamber Orchestra).

In 1993 he met his wife, Rosemary Brown (NZSO Sales and Client Services Manager), and in 1998, sons number two and three, identical twins Alex and Zack were born. Dean and Rosemary still manage to enjoy food, wine, friends and rugby.


VANYA MATEEVA

Bulgarian Vanya Mateeva started playing piano aged 4, and soon began violin lessons.

After graduating summa cum laude from a performing arts school in her hometown Plovdiv, she studied at the National Academy of Music in Sofia under the distinguished violinist Yosif Radionov, obtaining a BM in Violin Performance.

Aged 20 she was selected for the world-renowned Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under Music Director Claudio Abbado, performing at prestigious international festivals like the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh and Lucerne Festivals and the concert halls of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic.

Vanya then obtained a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Ohio State University where she studied with Charles Wetherbee, and Leonid Polonsky. She also studied privately with Stephen Rose, Principal Second Violin of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Vanya has also attended on a full scholarship the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland and taken part in the Kent/Blossom Chamber Music Academy with the Cleveland Orchestra; the Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy in Germany under director Christoph Eschenbach; the Civic Orchestra of Chicago; the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland under Pierre Boulez, and Ensemble Intercontemporain.

In 2005 she became Principal Second Violin of the Westmoreland Symphony in Pittsburgh. Since 2007 she has also been a member of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra and has performed with the Royal Galician Philharmonic in Spain and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra.

Vanya has won several national and international violin and chamber music awards.

She enjoys reading, cooking, skiing, walking and exploring Wellington’s cafes in search of the perfect espresso.


SIMON MILLER

Simon gained early experience of classical music through the Westpac Secondary Schools Chamber Music contest and the National Youth Orchestra, which he led in 1978–9. On leaving school he joined the NZBC Schola Musica for a year, before attending Otago University to study for a BA/BMus, completing the latter at Victoria University. During this time he worked in several regional orchestras.

Subsequently, he spent five years in Australia, undertaking postgraduate study under Jan Sedivka, and freelance work in Brisbane and Hobart with various orchestras, before joining the NZSO in 1986. Simon was a member of the NZ Chamber Orchestra for several years. In 2000–2001 after receiving the Montana Study Award, he spent 12 months on leave in London, having private lessons and completing a course in community music education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His violin is a Giulio Degani, which, along with his house, turned 100 in 2008!

Simon is a keen sailor and also likes to keep fit by cycling and swimming.


MEGAN MOLINA

Megan Molina began violin lessons from age four in Wellington. She graduated from Victoria University, with a BM in Violin Performance with First Class Honours studying with Vera Rubin and Donald Armstrong. By age 22 she received her Master’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with Ian Swensen. There Megan also received Departmental Honours for String and Piano Chamber Music. As a student Megan performed with the Wellington Youth, Vector Wellington,  New Zealand Chamber, and  NZSO National Youth Orchestras. She also appeared as soloist with the Wellington Youth, Victoria University, Wellington Chamber, and the Manawatu Sinfonia Orchestras. She has been awarded a number of scholarships and prizes including Creative New Zealand, Adam Foundation, Alex Lindsay Award and the Roy Jack Prize for String Players.

In 2005 Megan won a position with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, South Carolina, holding the position of Associate Concertmaster for her last 3 years there and leading the orchestra on numerous occasions.

Megan returned to New Zealand with her husband, Alan, in January 2012 to join the second violin section of the NZSO.


ELIZABETH PATCHETT

Elizabeth started tuition on the violin at the age of five and until university enjoyed the wide variety of musical activities the scenic Waikato had to offer. On completion of her Bachelor of Music at Auckland University in 1988 Liz joined the Auckland Philharmonia, holding the position of sub-principal second violin for her last three years there. She joined the NZSO in 1994, and in 1997 received a Montana Study Award which enabled her to spend four months studying with Maciej Rakowski in London. Liz teaches violin and was a member of the NZSO Chamber Orchestra. Her violin is an old German instrument, reconditioned by Noel Sweetman, of Hamilton, New Zealand.


LUCIEN RIZOS

Lucien studied violin with Zillah Castle from the age of 8. In 1974, at the age of 20, he joined the NZSO. During his time with the orchestra he has also studied at the Bucharest Conservatorium with Cornelia Bronzetti (1977–78) and Canterbury University with Jan Tawroszewicz (1989–90).

Lucien has previously studied graphic design, and has a great interest in Art History and its surrounding subjects. He also enjoys most sports, particularly if New Zealand is doing well.


KATHERINE ROWE

Katherine was born and educated in Christchurch. She started playing in orchestras and chamber groups at an early age through the Christchurch School of Instrumental Music and in 1982 her trio won the Westpac Chamber music competition. She left school a year early to begin a Bachelor of Music in performance violin at the University of Canterbury under the tuition of Carl Pini, then Jan Tawroszewicz.

After graduating with honours in 1986 she auditioned for casual work with the NZSO and was offered a permanent position in the second violins. She took up the position in 1987 and has been there since, apart from a one-year contract in the viola section with which she retains as a casual position.

Back to top


Violas


JULIA JOYCE
Section Principal

Supported by Paul McArthur and Danika Charlton

Born in Wellington, Julia completed a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours at Victoria University in 2004. She was Concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestra of New Zealand, heading to London in 2005 for further study. Julia completed a Masters Degree in Violin/Viola Performance with Distinction at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama 2008. She was a finalist in the Guildhall Wigmore Hall recital competition, and performed for HM the Queen on two separate occasions during her time as a student in London. Julia and her husband Andrew formed the Puertas Quartet in 2009 and reached the semi-finals at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition 2010.

In 2010 Julia was appointed to the Philharmonia Orchestra of London’s viola section, and also played with the Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic Orchestras. She toured France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Japan and the Canary Islands with the Philharmonia before returning to New Zealand in 2011 to take up the position of Principal Viola with the NZSO. She plays a 1920’s Italian viola by Emilio Rossi.


BRIAN SHILLITO
Sub-Principal

Christchurch born, Brian first joined the NZSO in 1973 for 18 months before heading to the USA for advanced study. He spent six years working with orchestras in Canada and London before returning to the NZSO in 1980 as Sub-Principal Viola.

Brian enjoys travelling, reading, collecting antique furniture and paintings, and, when the opportunity arises, he dons boots and pack and heads for New Zealand’s wonderful mountains and bush.


PETER BARBER
Assistant Sub-Principal

Peter learnt from Zillah Castle, before becoming a member of the NZSO Schola Musica, studying with NZSO Principal Viola Emeritus, Vyvyan Yendoll. He is also a graduate of the Cologne Music Academy, where his course of study included tuition from professor of viola, Rainer Moog and members of the Amadeus String Quartet.

Over the years Peter has played in the NZSO Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand String Quartet, the New Zealand Soloists, Nevine String Quartet and the Amazon Trio. He also works regularly with his sister, concert accompanist Mary Barber, and is a viola tutor at the New Zealand Music School. Peter plays a viola made in the early ’70’s by Otto Erdesz.
Peter also enjoys choral singing and has sung in Cantoris, Bel Canto and Nota Bene.


LISA BOYES

Supported by Marsh

Lisa was born in Christchurch and despite moving to Wellington at 17 still thinks of herself as a Cantabrian. After leaving school she spent two years studying violin in the now defunct Schola Musica, five years in the violin section of the NZSO, then claims she ‘saw the light’ and joined the viola section. She says she has never been happier and can proudly claim to be the only blonde Irish woman in the section.

Aside from the viola, her passions include red wine, beaches, a good book, tramping, her two sons and travel.


MICHAEL CUNCANNON

Born in Maidstone, England, Michael was educated in Auckland at Westlake Boys High School. Michael was introduced to the violin at the age of 8 and at 15 he converted to the viola, studying with Glynne Adams at Auckland University. He completed a Diploma of Music in 1976 at Auckland University, and also attended Masterclasses with Wolfram Christ at Adelaide University in 1981. He joined the NZSO in 1977. During 1990 he received an NZSO bursary, to study in London with Simon Rolland-Jones. He is the proud owner of a 1977 viola made by Ian Sweetman in Hamilton, New Zealand. He and his wife, Berys, also a viola player, have four children. Michael enjoys wine, cooking, and the ‘Great Outdoors’.


ANNA DEBNAM

After spending her formative years travelling between England and New Zealand by boat, Anna finally settled in Wellington at the age of 10. It was purely by chance that she took up the violin a year later. Anna progressed through the music scene in Wellington playing with the Wellington Youth, National Youth and the Wellington Regional Orchestras. Anna studied the violin at the Wellington Polytechnic, before spending a year in the NZSO Schola Musica programme. Following further viola study at Victoria University, Anna joined the NZSO Viola section in 1990.


JENARO GARITA

Born in Costa Rica, Central America, Jenaro started the violin age 7 at the Youth Program of the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. He started his viola studies at 13 and became a full time member of the viola section of the Costa Rican Orchestra age 15. At 17 he received a scholarship from the Israeli government to study at the Music Academy at Tel Aviv University. At 21 he spent two years at Indiana University, Bloomington with a full scholarship.

Jenaro came to New Zealand in 1991 and was a member of the Auckland Philharmonia for three years. He joined the NZSO viola section in 1994.

 


VICTORIA JAENECKE

Growing up in Christchurch, Victoria began her viola studies with Elizabeth Rogers in Christchurch. She completed a Bachelor of Music Degree with Elizabeth Morgan in Brisbane in 1985, was a member of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for five years and also played briefly in the Melbourne Symphony before going to Germany in 1991. Victoria studied at the Munich Musikhochschule for two years with Professor Hariolf Schlichtig. Over the next eight years she was engaged under contract by the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, and most extensively with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra with whom she undertook many tours in Europe, Japan and the U.S.A .She met her husband Martin, also a musician, whilst working in Frankfurt.

Victoria returned to NZ in 2001 , first living in the Motueka area, and then moving with her family to Wellington in 2007. She has been Section Leader Viola with Orchestra Wellington since 2008 and was a regular casual player with the NZSO until her appointment in 2014. She has two teenage daughters and enjoys travel, crafts and being anywhere in nature.


LYNDSAY MOUNTFORT

Lyndsay studied at the University of Canterbury under Elizabeth Rogers, and at the Schola Musica of the NZSO under Vyvyan Yendoll.

He joined the NZSO in 1983 before moving to London in 1987 for further study with Simon Rowland-Jones, and experience with leading London orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Mozart Players, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Lyndsay returned to the NZSO in 1991.


PHILLIP ROSE

Phillip Rose was born in Pueblo, Colorado (USA), where he did his early training. He was the Principal Violist of the orchestras in Toledo, Omaha, and New Orleans before moving to New Zealand and subsequently joining the NZSO in 1994. Phillip has also been a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. As a member of the 1986 World Philharmonic in Rio de Janeiro, he first heard about the NZSO from NZSO Sub-Principal Violist Brian Shillito, who was also a WPO member that year. Phillip has performed at the New Zealand Festival of Chamber Music in Nelson, and with the NZSO Chamber Orchestra.

As a Trustee of the Michael Monaghan Young Musicians Foundation, Phillip worked with many NZSO colleagues to provide performing opportunities for young instrumentalists in the Wellington region.Phillip collaborates with NZSO colleagues Lyndsay Mountfort and Peter Sharman in the development of Impresario, the web-based orchestral management software currently used by the NZSO, and more recently by additional Australasian orchestras. Phillip’s wife, Mable Wong, is the NZSO’s Principal Music Librarian.

Phillip recently returned from playing a season as an exchange player with the Niederrheinischen Sinfoniker in Mönchengladbach, Germany.


BELINDA VEITCH

Belinda studied with Vyvyan Yendoll at the Wellington Polytechnic’s Executant Music Course, and the NZSO Schola Musica. She was a finalist in the inaugural TVNZ Young Musician’s Competition in 1982. In 1986 she was appointed Principal Viola with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra before joining the NZSO Viola section in 1989, after period of viola study in London.

She is married to Brenton Veitch (cello) and they have two sons. Her hobbies are chamber music, cooking, gardening, skiing, Pilates and tramping. In 2007 Belinda attended an Outward Bound Course, which she found incredibly invigorating, and extremely challenging both mentally and physically.

Back to top


Cellos


ANDREW JOYCE
Section Principal

Supported by Deane Endowment Trust

Principal Cellist of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Joyce, was born in Norwich in England.  Passionate about music from an early age, at 11 he went to London to pursue his musical studies at the Purcell School of Music with Amanda Truelove and Michal Kaznowski.  He continued studies at the Royal College of Music with Alexander Boyarsky and the Musikhochschule Lübeck with Troels Svane, as a holder of the coveted DAAD Scholarship.  He has performed in masterclasses with the late Bernard Greenhouse, Alexander Baillie, David Geringas, Alexander Rudin, Natalia Gutman, Karine Georgian, Leonid Gorokhov, the Takacs Quartet, the Kopelman Quartet.  Violinist & Leader of the London Symphony Orchestra, Gordan Nikolic, also played a very important role in his artistic development and continues to be a source of inspiration.

Before joining the NZSO in September 2010, Andrew spent five years freelancing in London, during which time he performed all over the world with the London Symphony & London Philharmonic Orchestras.  He also played as Guest Principal with Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

A dedicated chamber musician, Andrew performed regularly with pianist Simon Watterton, most notably the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas, the Bartholdy Trio and the Jigsaw Players and he continues to perform with the Puertas Quartet both in the UK and in New Zealand, with further tours planned for 2012 and 2013.

He plays an old English cello by Thomas Dodd, c.1800, kindly loaned to him by Old and New Strings Ltd.


DAVID CHICKERING
Associate Principal

Born and raised in upstate New York, David began his musical studies on the piano at the age of 5. The cello was added a few years later after a brief and embarrassing stint with the baritone horn.

After completing a performance degree at Northwestern University and prior to his appointment to the NZSO, David was a member of several orchestras worldwide including those in Milwaukee, Syracuse, Chicago, Santa Fe, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Auckland. But his first orchestra was the Little Falls Symphony where, at the age of 12, he would help the conductor, Leon Dussault, set up the chairs and stands before each Monday night rehearsal.

Firmly denied permission to move any furniture by the NZSO Operations Staff, David spends his time rollerblading with his son, playing piano quartets, piano trios, and table tennis.


BRIGID O’MEEGHAN
Assistant Sub-Principal Emeritus

Brigid, who is Assistant Sub-Principal Cello Emeritus in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, was raised and educated in Christchurch. She first joined the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as a twenty year-old in 1977 and after two years, moved to London for further studies.  From 1981 – 1989, she was a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, during which time she taught cello and chamber music at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.  Brigid was a faculty member of the Asian Youth Orchestra for seven years and has been a tutor at the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Summer Camp Programme.

From 1999 – 2003, Brigid was Coordinator of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, a position she held concurrently with her playing role in the NZSO.  She has taught cello at the University of Victoria and the University of Otago, and regularly tutors the cello sections of the Wellington Youth Orchestra, Youth Sinfonietta and Schola Sinfonica as part of the NZSO’s Education Programme.  Brigid served on the Wellington Youth Orchestras Advisory Board for five years and is a trustee of the Alex Lindsay Award.


ROGER BROWN

Supported by Phantom Billstickers

Cellist, Roger Brown, joined the NZSO in 1999, having returned to New Zealand after 23 years based in London working as a freelance chamber orchestra and ensemble player.  A native of Christchurch, a Canterbury University graduate, and winner of the New Zealand National Concerto Competition, Roger went to London after being awarded a scholarship at the International Festival of Youth Orchestra and studied with William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pré, and Antonio Janigro. Away from the orchestra, Roger is a keen tramper and also enjoys kayaking, cycling and gardening.


ELEANOR CARTER

Eleanor Carter studied cello at Auckland University with Coral Bognuda, gaining a BMus(perf). In 1990 she won a scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music which, along with a grant from the QEII Arts Council, enabled her to study at the Royal College of Music, London, with Christopher Bunting. Whilst there, she won several major College chamber music prizes and gave regular recitals both in England and abroad. After completing a Master of Music degree, she spent two years in London as a freelance musician, giving chamber music concerts, playing in various orchestras and teaching. In 1997 Eleanor became a member of the cello section in the NZSO. After starting organ lessons with Douglas Mews, in July 2001, she took up the position of Organ Scholar at St. John’s in the City, Wellington. Eleanor has since been made Music Director.


ROBERT IBELL

Robert was born in Dannevirke and brought up mostly in Palmerston North. At age 10 he wanted to play the clarinet but somehow ended up with the cello. While qualifying as a primary school teacher in Palmerston North he had cello lessons from Judy Hyatt in Wellington. After a very brief stint in the classroom he headed off to London for seven years with his partner, Jane. There, he studied cello privately with Tania Hunt, Derek Simpson and Christopher Bunting while working in various clerical jobs and playing in amateur and professional orchestras. He returned to New Zealand in 1992, and took up his current job as a section cellist in the NZSO in 1993. He teaches cello and plays a lot of chamber music, with pianist Catherine McKay and as part of the Aroha String Quartet, contemporary group Stroma, and viola/cello/bass trio Amazon.

He’s keen on cooking, eating and drinking, tramping, cycle touring, and guiding at Zealandia.


SALLY ISAAC

Sally Isaac joined the NZSO in 2005, shortly after graduating from Cleveland Institute of Music with a Masters of Music degree. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Australian National University in her hometown of Canberra, Australia. Sally was a fellowship recipient at the Tanglewood Music Center, USA, for the 2004 Summer Festival and has been a member of the Canberra, Akron and Canton symphony orchestras. Among Sally’s other interests are cycling, tramping and escaping into a good book.


ANNEMARIE MEIJERS

Annemarie has been in the NZSO since 1994. She started learning the cello in a Saturday morning music class, a little by accident, as she had wanted to play the violin, but all the small violins for hire had gone! There was still a room full of small cellos, though, so she came home with one and is really glad it worked out that way.

Annemarie gained a BMus.(Perf.) from Auckland University before moving to Wellington in the 1980s. After a period of study in Boston, Annemarie started doing casual work in the NZSO, before acquiring a good cello and then getting a job.

A highlight of her time in the orchestra was the 2005 European Tour, especially the Amsterdam Concertgebouw concert, not only because it’s such a famous Hall, but also because many of her Dutch family came to the concert!

When she’s not working, Annemarie enjoys spending time with her family, travelling and gardening.


ROWAN PRIOR

Born in England in 1964 Rowan started to play the cello at the age of six. She moved to New Zealand in 1975 and studied with Ellen Doyle in Christchurch. At the age of 18 she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she won several prizes and commendations for solo and chamber music performance, including the prize for ‘Most Promising Student’ in her first year. Once Rowan graduated she spent several years touring Europe, Asia and New Zealand as part of Prelude, a duo of violin and cello.

Rowan returned to New Zealand in 1990, where she played with the Wellington Sinfonia before joining the NZSO and the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra. She is also a member of Stroma, a contemporary music group, and Felix the Quartet, with other NZSO players.

Back to top


Double Basses


JOAN PERARNAU GARRIGA
Associate Principal Double Bass

Joan was born in Catalunya, Spain where he started playing the double bass. After finishing his initial studies, he moved to the UK where he graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London in 2005. Soon after that he moved to Japan as a founding member of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra where he was principal double bass until 2008.

In 2008 he moved back to the UK and studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire while freelancing in many different orchestras and chamber groups throughout the UK and Spain. In the same year, he was a member of the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Academy under the direction of Pierre Boulez. From 2009 Joan has been a member of the prestigious Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra touring around the world with many great artists. In 2010 Joan won a Co-principal position in the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León in Spain, a position he held until he was appointed Associate Principal Double Bass with the NZSO in April 2013.

Joan also has a keen interest in cooking and photography as well as outdoor activities such as running and trekking outdoors.


NICHOLAS SANDLE
Assistant Sub-Principal

Nicholas Sandle was born in Christchurch where he was brought up to the sounds of music. After early studies on the clarinet and violin he took up the double bass on the advice of his father who though not a musician, was able to see that there were more opportunities for double bass players. He had his early experience in the orchestras of the Christchurch School of Instrumental Music, his high school orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra. In 1970 he joined what was then the NZBC Symphony Orchestra Trainees, later to become the Schola Musica, and from there joined  the NZSO in 1973. He has remained there ever since and was appointed to his current position of Assistant Sub Principal double bass in 1993.


MATTHEW CAVE

Supported by Caffe L’affare

Matthew was born in Auckland and went on to complete his Bachelor of Music at Auckland University.  He began freelancing with the Auckland Philharmonia whilst studying and went on to do a further year around the country before heading overseas. Gaining a Masters at the Manhattan School of Music under the tuition of the principal bass of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra provided an opportunity to perform in New York, including a concert as principal bass in Carnegie Hall performing the John Rutter Requiem under the baton of the composer. In 2001 Matthew performed in the Verbier Festival Orchestra with James Levine as Music Director. After a residency in Switzerland they toured across the Americas from Canada to Buenos Aires. Returning to New Zealand Matthew joined the NZSO in 2002.

Aside from music, Matthew has a keen interest in more practical pursuits such as home renovations and cooking.


STEPHEN GIBBS

Stephen started his musical career in his birthplace, England. He was taught the double bass at secondary school level, going on to train at Kneller Hall before joining the Grenadier Guards Military Band. In London, he took the opportunity to further his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and also gained an Associateship of the Royal College of Music for teaching the double bass. Stephen immigrated to New Zealand in 1974, and joined the NZSO.

He has also been a wood carver for many years, winning the NZ Carver of the Year in 1981, before embarking on violin bow making in 1996. In 1999, a Montana Study Award enabled him to visit some of the top bow makers in Europe.


ALEXANDER GUNCHENKO

Alexander was born in Kiev, Ukraine, where he studied at Lysenko School of Music and Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He became a member of the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19 and at the age of 20 gained position with the National Chamber Orchestra of Ukraine.

In 1999 Alexander immigrated to New Zealand where he joined Christchurch Symphony and took the position of Associate Principal Double Bass section in 2002. He completed Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours at the University of Canterbury with Dale Gold and Edith Zaltzman and participated in National Youth Orchestra as a Principal Double Bass section.

Alexander joined the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as section Double Bass player in 2007. He has participated in Master Classes with Paul Ellison, Thomas Martin, Joel Quarington, Catalin Rotaru, Miloslav Gojdos, Ekkahard Beringer, Hans Roelofsen, Eric Hansen, Barry Green.  In 2011, Alexander was invited to study with Jeff Bradetich at the Pirastro Strings Elite Soloists Masterclasses. He is a member of the contemporary ensemble ‘Stroma’, and also regularly performs solo recitals.

Alexander enjoys spending time with his family as well as being involved in sport activities, especially football, squash and biking.


MALCOLM STRUTHERS

Born and raised in Southland, Malcolm’s association with the NZSO began in 1985 when as a naive 18-year-old, he joined the NZSO trainee scheme, the ‘Schola Musica’ as a Double Bass student. After three years of study he left to take on the world but only made it as far as Auckland where he joined the Auckland Philharmonia. He re-joined the NZSO in 1996 as a fully fledged member of the orchestra.

Malcolm has many interests, including knocking things together in his shed. He has built a wooden kayak and designed a set of carbon fibre double bass cases for the orchestra to use when touring. A keen sportsman, he has gained his second degree black belt in Seido Karate. A favourite activity though, would have to be spending an evening at home with his wife Rebecca, enjoying her wonderful cooking with a nice bottle of Central Otago Pinot! Malcolm also plays in the group Salut d’Amour.


STEVE TAYLOR

Steve grew up in Stokes Valley, in the Hutt Valley area of Wellington. He joined the NZSO Double Bass section in 2001 at only 19 years of age, while completing his final year of a BMus degree from Victoria University.

 

Back to top


Harp


CAROLYN MILLS
Section Principal

Carolyn’s passion for the harp began at age five. Since then she has continued to share her love of this instrument with audiences all around the world. She grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and studied in Boston and Tanglewood, with the legendary Lucile Lawrence. Principal Harpist of the NZSO since 1989, Carolyn has also played with the Dallas and Houston Symphonies, and was Principal Harpist of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria in Mexico City. She has been a soloist with a number of NZ and US orchestras on many occasions, and has given concerts in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

Carolyn’s CDs include Song of the Black Swan with violinist Dawn Harms, and her popular solo CD, Mirage. Her recently released flute and harp CD, Flight, was shortlisted for the Vodafone Music Awards 2011 in the Best Classical Album category.

Carolyn loves taking her harp to school children and has played to thousands of students in both New Zealand and the US. She has appeared on an educational CD for the award-winning Universal Children’s Audio and has also received numerous grants to take her widely acclaimed Harp Informance Programme to far-flung rural areas.

Very active in collaborating with contemporary composers, Carolyn has commissioned or co-commissioned a wide variety of works from distinguished and talented New Zealand and American composers, and continues to bring these pieces to life on the concert stage, in recordings, and in schools. She is co-founder of the flute and harp duo Flight, which has been widely sought after by major music festivals in Australasia.

Carolyn was invited to perform in London as part of the City of London Festival and recently at the Australian Harp Festival in Adelaide, as well as the 10th World Harp Congress in Amsterdam. She recently completed a recital tour of several cities in the United States, performing a number of New Zealand works written especially for her.


back to top