Festival Artists

Takács Quartet

The world-renowned Takács Quartet is now entering its 49th season. Edward Dusinberre, Harumi Rhodes (violins), Richard O’Neill (viola) and András Fejér (cello) are excited about the 2023-2024 season that features varied projects including a new work written for them. Nokuthula Ngwenyama composed ‘Flow’, as an exploration and celebration of the natural world. The work was commissioned by nine concert presenters throughout the USA. July sees the release of a new recording of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Dvořák for Hyperion Records, while later in the season the quartet will release works by Schubert including his final quartet in G major. In 2024 the ensemble will perform and record piano quintets by Price and Dvořák with long-time chamber music partner Marc-Andre Hamelin.

As Associate Artists at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Takács will perform four concerts featuring works by Hough, Price, Janacek, Schubert and Beethoven. During the season the ensemble will play at other prestigious European venues including Berlin, Geneva, Linz, Innsbruck, Cambridge and St. Andrews. The Takács will appear at the Adam Chamber Music Festival in New Zealand. The group’s North American engagements include concerts in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Vancouver, Ann Arbor, Phoenix, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Portland, Cleveland, Santa Fe and Stanford. The ensemble will perform two Bartók cycles at San Jose State University and Middlebury College and appear for the first time at the Virginia Arts Festival with pianist Olga Kern.

The members of the Takács Quartet are Christoffersen Fellows and Artists in Residence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For the 23-24 season the quartet enter into a partnership with El Sistema Colorado, working closely with its chamber music education program in Denver. During the summer months the Takács join the faculty at the Music Academy of the West, running an intensive quartet seminar.

In 2021 the Takács won a Presto Music Recording of the Year Award for their recordings of string quartets by Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, and a Gramophone Award with pianist Garrick Ohlsson for piano quintets by Amy Beach and Elgar. Other releases for Hyperion feature works by Haydn, Schubert, Janáček, Smetana, Debussy and Britten, as well as piano quintets by César Franck and Shostakovich (with Marc-André Hamelin), and viola quintets by Brahms and Dvorák (with Lawrence Power). For their CDs on the Decca/London label, the Quartet has won three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy Award, three Japanese Record Academy Awards, Disc of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Ensemble Album of the Year at the Classical Brits.

The Takács Quartet is known for its innovative programming. In 2021-22 the ensemble partnered with bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro to premiere new works by Clarice Assad and Bryce Dessner, commissioned by Music Accord. In 2014 the Takács performed a program inspired by Philip Roth’s novel Everyman with Meryl Streep at Princeton, and again with her at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2015. They first performed Everyman at Carnegie Hall in 2007 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. They have toured 14 cities with the poet Robert Pinsky, and played regularly with the Hungarian Folk group Muzsikas.

In 2014 the Takács became the first string quartet to be awarded the Wigmore Hall Medal. In 2012, Gramophone announced that the Takács was the first string quartet to be inducted into its Hall of Fame. The ensemble also won the 2011 Award for Chamber Music and Song presented by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

The Takács Quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest by Gabor Takács-Nagy, Károly Schranz, Gabor Ormai and András Fejér, while all four were students. The group received international attention in 1977, winning First Prize and the Critics’ Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. The Quartet also won the Gold Medal at the 1978 Portsmouth and Bordeaux Competitions and First Prizes at the Budapest International String Quartet Competition in 1978 and the Bratislava Competition in 1981. The Quartet made its North American debut tour in 1982. Members of the Takács Quartet are the grateful beneficiaries of an instrument loan by the Drake Foundation.

The The Takács Quartet is proudly supported by The Turnovsky Trust


Edward Dusinberre

As first violinist of the Takács Quartet, Edward Dusinberre has won a Grammy and awards from Gramophone Magazine, the Japanese Recording Academy, Chamber Music America and the Royal Philharmonic Society. Outside of the quartet he has made recordings of Beethoven’s violin sonatas No 9 (Kreutzer) and No 10 (Decca). 

Edward is also an author. His second book, Distant Melodies: Music in Search of Home, is published by Faber and University of Chicago Press in 2022. The book explores the themes of displacement and return in the lives and specific chamber works of Dvorák, Elgar, Bartók and Britten. His first book, Beethoven for a Later Age: The Journey of a String Quartet, takes the reader inside the life of a string quartet, melding music history and memoir as it explores the circumstances surrounding the composition of Beethoven’s quartets and the Takács Quartet’s experiences rehearsing and performing this music. The book won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2016 Creative Communication Award. Announcing the award the RPS Committee said: ‘Few have told so well of the musician’s life, or offered such illuminating insights to players and listeners alike’.Edward lives in Boulder, where he is Artist-in-Residence and a Christoffersen Fellow at the University of Colorado. In 2017 he was appointed a member of the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and is a Visiting Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Harumi Rhodes

Harumi Rhodes is the second violinist of the Takács Quartet, performing 80 concerts a year worldwide. Acclaimed by The New York Times as a ‘deeply expressive violinist’, Harumi has gained recognition as a multi-faceted musician with a distinctive musical voice.

She is Associate Professor of Violin, Artist in Residence and Ralph E and Barbara L Christoffersen Faculty Fellow at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Harumi combines her performing career with a passionate commitment to guiding young instrumentalists, composers, and chamber ensembles.

Harumi has a vision for commissioning and programming contemporary music: her partnerships with composers of today have resulted in over 100 premieres. This season Clarice Assad wrote a three-movement suite for violin and piano Constelación that she recorded with Harumi for Yarlung Records. With composer Gabriela Lena Frank, Harumi co-directed the inaugural 2021-22 season of the Virtual Artist Partnership Program (VAPP). This collaboration between the Rhodes violin studio at CU-Boulder and Gabriela Lena Frank’s Creative Academy of Music (GLFCAM) resulted in eight new solo works for violin. Jungyoon Wie composed a new violin duo Dan Poong for Harumi and Edward Dusinberre.

Recent concerto performances include Joseph Bologne Violin Concerto No 9 and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante (with violist Richard O’Neill) with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra Colorado, as well as Florence Price Violin Concerto No. 2 with the West Texas Symphony.

As a member of the Takács Quartet, Harumi has shaped the Graduate String Quartet Residency at the University of Colorado. At the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, Rhodes leads an intensive summer string quartet seminar with the Takács Quartet. For the 23-24 season Rhodes is coordinating a partnership between Takács and El Sistema Colorado, working closely with its chamber music education program in Denver. Harumi serves as Artistic Director of the Denver/Boulder branch of “If Music Be The Food…”, a concert series designed to build partnerships through music in order to raise awareness for food insecurity in local communities.

Originally from New Jersey, Harumi was born into a family with Japanese, American, Russian and Romanian roots. After studying at the Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory, she co-founded the Naumburg Award-winning ensemble Trio Cavatina, served as artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society and performed extensively with Music from Copland House,

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Musicians from Marlboro.

Richard O’Neill

Newly appointed violist of the Takács Quartet, Richard O’Neill has distinguished himself as one of the great instrumentalists of his generation. An Emmy Award winner, two time Grammy nominee and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, he has appeared as soloist with the world’s top orchestras including London, Los Angeles and Seoul philharmonics, the BBC, Hiroshima and Korean symphonies, the Kremerata Baltica, Moscow, Vienna and Wurtemburg chamber orchestras, and Alte Musik Koln, and has worked with distinguished musicians and conductors including Andrew Davis, Vladimir Jurowski, Francois Xavier Roth and Yannick Nezet-Seguin. An Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Principal Violist of Camerata Pacifica, for 13 seasons he served as Artistic Director of DITTO, his South Korean chamber music project, leading the ensemble on international tours to China and Japan and introducing tens of thousands to chamber music.

A Universal Music/Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, Richard has made ten solo albums and many other chamber music recordings, earning multiple platinum discs. Composers Lera Auerbach, Elliott Carter, Paul Chihara, John Harbison and Huang Ruo have written works for him. He has appeared on major TV networks in South Korea and enjoyed huge success with his 2004 KBS documentary ‘Human Theater’, which was viewed by over 12 million people, and his 2013 series ‘Hello?! Orchestra’, which featured his work with a multicultural youth orchestra for MBC and led to an International Emmy in Arts Programming and a feature length film.

Richard serves as Goodwill Ambassador for the Korean Red Cross, The Special Olympics, UNICEF and OXFAM and serves on the faculty of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

András Fejér

András Fejér was born into a musical family. His father was a cellist and conductor, and his mother was a pianist. He began playing the cello at the age of seven, because as legend has it, his father was unwilling to listen to a violin-upstart practicing. Since an early age, his parents held string quartet weekends, which, for the young cellist were the most memorable of occasions, if not for the music, then for the glorious desserts his mother used to prepare for those sessions.

After attending a music high school, András was admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 1975, where he was a pupil of Ede Banda, András Mihály, Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág. That same year he founded the Takács String Quartet with three fellow classmates. Although the quartet has been his sole professional focus since then, he does occasionally perform as a soloist.

James Campbell

A Juno award winner and Order of Canada recipient, James Campbell has been called ‘Canada’s pre-eminent clarinetist and wind soloist’ by the Toronto Star, ‘a national treasure’ by the CBC, and ‘one of the top half dozen clarinetists in the world today’ by Fanfare Magazine.

James has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in more than 35 countries with over 65 orchestras, including the Boston Pops, London Symphony and Philharmonic, and every major orchestra in Canada. He has collaborated with Glenn Gould and Aaron Copland and toured with over 35 string quartets, including the Guarneri, Amadeus (when he replaced Benny Goodman on a tour of California) and Vermeer. Of his more than 50 recordings, the BBC and The Times UK rated his recording of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet as the best available. He was named Canada’s Artist of the Year, awarded the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medal, an Honorary Doctor of Laws, and was recently inducted into the CBC’s Classical Music Hall of Fame.

James has been the Artistic Director of the Festival of the Sound, the annual summer Canadian chamber music festival, since 1985 and has programmed over 1500 concerts for the festival. Under his direction, the festival has travelled to England, Japan and the Netherlands, and been the subject of documentaries by BBC Television, CBC Television and TV Ontario.

From 1988-2019, James was a Professor of Music at the famed Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. His former students now occupy positions in orchestras such including Boston Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, and St Louis Symphony, professorships in numerous conservatories worldwide, and Grammy-nominated performers.

James is the subject of numerous features and cover stories in Clarinet Magazine (USA), Clarinet and Sax (UK), Piper Magazine (Japan), and Gramophone, and is featured in the book ‘Clarinet Virtuosi of Today’ by British author and clarinet authority Pamela Weston.

James lives in Canada and continues to give concerts and masterclasses worldwide.

Hiroshi Ikematsu

The Brazilian-born Japanese Contrabassist Hiroshi Ikematsu has gained his fame through a variety of music activities. He is uniquely talented and regarded as one of the leading contrabassists in Japan.

Hiroshi started to play the contrabass at the age of 19. He studied at the TOHO Music College under Mr. Shunsaku Tsutsumi. He has been the regular participant of the prominent contrabass workshop and festival in Canada by Gary Karr.

In 1989, Hiroshi joined the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, appointed as Principal Contrabassist in 1994. In 2006, he immigrated to New Zealand and joined NZSO as Principal Contrabassist.

In 2014 Hiroshi moved back to Japan and became Principal Contrabassist with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of Saito Kinen Orchestra, Mito Chamber Orchestra and Kioi Hall Chamber Orchestra.

Hiroshi is Associate Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts and Visiting Professor at Kunitachi Music College. Hehas released eight solo CDs featuring sonatas by Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Franck.

Hiroshi loves fishing and he won the 2013 New Zealand National Pairs Fly Fishing championships.

Sergey Malov

Sergey Malov is considered as versatile as he is virtuoso: he plays violin, viola, baroque violin and cello da spalla. His repertoire ranges from early Baroque music to Johann Sebastian Bach, from classical and romantic violin concertos to world premieres of contemporary music. For his interpretations he deals intensively with questions of style and playing techniques of the respective epoch.

On the violin Sergey has won prizes at the Paganini Competition in Genoa, the Mozart Competition in Salzburg, the Heifetz Competition in Vilnius, and the Michael Hill Competition in Auckland. With the viola he has won prizes at the ARD Competition in Munich and at the Tokyo Viola Competition.

As a violin and viola soloist he has performed with orchestras including BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Enesco Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Invitations have taken him to Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he interpreted Sibelius’s Violin Concerto on Sibelius’s birthday under Klaus Mäkelä, to the Innsbruck Early Music Festival.

At the Leipzig Bach Competition, Sergey was awarded the baroque violin. The JumpstartJunior Foundation Amsterdam provided him with a Gioffredo Cappa baroque violin. He has performed as a soloist with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Seville Baroque Orchestra, Musica Viva Orchestra Moscow, Camerata Salzburg, and Baroque Orchestra Halle.

The 2022/23 season saw Sergey tour the globe as conductor and soloist, including Norway for a tour with Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, as well as reuniting with Bochumer Symphoniker and La Cetra Barockorchester Basel. International festivals including Tongyeong Music Festival and Bach Festival in Lausanne were among his hosts, and further invitations took him to Philharmonie Essen and again to Brucknerhaus Linz, where he was a celebrated guest.

The 2023/24 season holds invitations from Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt, Philharmonie Salzburg, and Tivoli Philharmonic Orchestra Copenhagen. Further invitations have been extended from the Nicolaisaal Potsdam, Amici della Musica Florence, Alte Oper Frankfurt and Internationale Orgelwochen Nürnberg. Concert tours will take Sergey to New Zealand and Korea.

Sergey’s recordings of works by JS Bach, Paganini and Ysaÿe, among others, have been released by DECCA, EASonus, Hänssler Profil, Alba, and Pan Classics, as well as Solo Musica. His recording of Bach’s Six Cello Suites was awarded a 2021 OPUS Klassik. Recorded on his violoncello da spalla, it received outstanding reviews including “…a CD which is thoroughly terrific” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). His most recent release is 24 Caprices by Paganini (Solo Musica, 2021).

The videos with Sergey’s violoncello da spalla have been viewed over one million times on the internet. Since September 2017, he has been Professor of Violin at the Zurich University of Music.

Sergey Malov is proudly supported by The Michael Hill Violin Competition

Izabella Simon

Izabella Simon began her musical education at the age of seven. At 16 she became a student at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest where she studied with Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág.

Izabella has performed in many music centres of Europe and is a regular guest at various international music festivals including András Schiff and Heinz Holliger’s Ittingen Festival, Prussia Cove Festival in England, Hitzacker Festival and Heidelberger Frühling in Germany, Maribor Festival in Slovenia, Davos Festival in Switzerland, Cheltenam Festival in England, and Salzburg Festival in Austria.

Izabella often appears in chamber music concerts with artists like Miklós Perényi, Steven Isserlis, Christoph Richter, Radovan Vlatkovic, and Andrea Rost, to name just a few. As a soloist she has played with Kremerata Baltica (Gidon Kremer) and Camerata Bern (Heinz Holliger), as well as the principal Hungarian orchestras.

She has recorded two CDs for the label Cant Art with soprano Sylvia Sass, and for Warner Classics with soprano Andrea Rost, featuring works of Bartók, Kodály and Ligeti. She also frequently broadcasts for Hungarian Radio and Television and for Swiss Radio.

After her debut in New York’s prestigious 92NY concert hall, she was offered a guest-professorship at Bard College in the US and was invited to Marlboro Music Festival.

Izabella plays often works for piano four-hands and two pianos with her husband, Dénes VárjonThey are artistic leaders of kamara.hu, Hungary’s leading chamber music festival held annually at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest.

Dénes Várjon

His sensational technique, deep musicality, wide range of interest have made Dénes Várjon one of the most exciting and highly regarded participants of international musical life. He is a universal musician: excellent soloist, first-class chamber musician, artistic leader of festivals, highly sought-after piano pedagogue.

Widely considered as one of the great chamber musicians, Dénes works regularly with pre-eminent partners including Steven Isserlis, Tabea Zimmermann, Kim Kashkashian, Jörg Widmann, Leonidas Kavakos, András Schiff , Heinz Holliger, Miklós Perényi, and Joshua Bell. As a soloist, he is a welcome guest at major concert series, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Konzerthaus and London’s Wigmore Hall. He is frequently invited to work with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras, including Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Russian National Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Among the conductors he has worked with are Sir Georg Solti, Sándor Végh, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, Heinz Holliger, Horst Stein, Leopold Hager, and Zoltán Kocsis. He appears regularly at leading international festivals from Marlboro to Salzburg and Edinburgh. Before his retirement, Alfred Brendel had a close cooperation with Dénes: their joint Liszt project was presented, among others, in the UK and Italy.

Dénes performs frequently with his wife Izabella Simon, playing four hands and two-pianos recitals together. In the past decade they have organised and led several chamber music festivals, the most recent one being Kamara.Hu at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest.

Dénes has recorded for Naxos, Capriccio and Hungaroton labels with critical acclaim. Teldec released his CD with Sándor Veress’s ‘Hommage à Paul Klee’, performed with András Schiff, Heinz Holliger and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. His recording ‘Hommage à Géza Anda’, (PAN-Classics Switzerland) received important international echoes. His solo CD with pieces of Berg, Janáček and Liszt was released in 2012 by ECM. In 2015 he recorded the Schumann piano concerto with the WDR Symphonieorchester and Heinz Holliger, and all five Beethoven piano concertos with Concerto Budapest and András Keller.

Dénes graduated from the Franz Liszt Music Academy in 1991, where his professors included Sándor Falvai, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. Parallel to his studies he was a regular participant at international master classes with András Schiff. Dénes won first prize at the Piano Competition of Hungarian Radio, the Leó Weiner Chamber Music Competition in Budapest, and the Géza Anda Competition in Zurich. He was awarded with the Liszt, Sándor Veress, and Bartók-Pásztory Prize. In 2020 he received Hungary’s supreme award in culture, the Kossuth Prize. Dénes also works for Henle’s Urtext Editions.

New Zealand String Quartet

Founded in 1987, the New Zealand String Quartet – Te Rōpu Tūrū O Aotearoa – exists to provide transformational chamber music experiences for all New Zealanders. Over the past 36 years the Quartet has established an international reputation for its insightful interpretations, compelling communication, and dynamic performing style.

 The NZSQ provides dynamic and high-quality musical experiences for all New Zealanders embracing the fresh and familiar. The Quartet’s rich repertoire includes a wide variety of New Zealand music, composers’ cycles from Beethoven to Bartók, Mozart to Berg, and theatrical presentations encompassing spoken word and dance, from Haydn’s Seven Last Words to Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night. The NZSQ proudly champions New Zealand and Māori music and artists as cultural ambassadors at home and abroad. Since its inception, the Quartet has premiered over 150 New Zealand works, and now works closely with its Mātanga Ngā Toi Māori, taonga pūoro player Horomona Horo.

The NZSQ takes a leadership and advocacy role in advancing music education. Devoted teachers and mentors, all members of the Quartet teach at the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī, where the NZSQ has been Quartet-in-Residence since 1991, as well as running the Adam Chamber Music School in Nelson. The NZSQ runs the NZSM Chamber Music Intensive Weekend in Wellington for up-and-coming chamber musicians, and regularly mentorsstudents from Sistema programmes across the country.

In 2023, Helene, Monique, Gillian, and Rolf surpassed 100 years of collective service to music in New Zealand. The three longest serving members of the Quartet have each been awarded the MNZM honour for services to music in New Zealand.


Helene Pohl

Born in Ithaca, New York to German parents, Helene Pohl spent her childhood on both sides of the Atlantic. At 17 she began tertiary study at the Musikhochschule Cologne. She continued her studies with members of the Cleveland Quartet at the Eastman School of Music and at Indiana University with Josef Gingold.

As first violinist of the San Francisco based Fidelio String Quartet (1988-1993), Helene performed extensively in the USA, Germany, England, Italy and South America. The Fidelio Quartet was prize-winner in the 1991 London International String Quartet Competition and Quartet-in-Residence at both the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals.

Helene joined the New Zealand String Quartet as first violinist in February 1994. In 2001 she became Co-Artistic Director with fellow quartet member Gillian Ansell of the Adam Chamber Music Festival. In 2014 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her outstanding services to music in New Zealand.

Helene plays a Pietro Guarnerius violin made in Venice in 1730.

Monique Lapins 

Monique Lapins began her violin studies at the age of six with the Suzuki method and continued at the Australian National Academy of Music under William Hennessy, and at Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music under Professor Qian Zhou.

She was a finalist twice in the Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition and has performed in festivals throughout France, Czech Republic, Holland, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and at the Open Chamber Music Seminars in Prussia Cove directed by world-renowned cellist, Steven Isserlis. Monique has toured extensively in collaboration with Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with artists including conductor Seiji Ozawa in Japan, conductor Philippe Herreweghe in France, Jerusalem String Quartet and pianist Dénes Várjon (Adam Chamber Music Festival), and as a soloist with French violinist Oliver Charlier in Japan.

Monique joined the NZSQ in May 2016. Monique plays a 1784 Lorenzo Storioni violin, kindly loaned by Mr David Duncan Craig, as trustee of the Lily Duncan Trust.

Gillian Ansell 

Born in Auckland, Gillian Ansell made her concerto debut as a violinist with the Auckland Philharmonia at the age of 16. At 19, an Associated Board Scholarship took her to the Royal College of Music in London for three years to study violin, viola and piano. She then won a German Academic Exchange (DAAD) scholarship for further study in Germany at the Musikhochschule Cologne with Igor Ozim and the Amadeus Quartet.

After working professionally in London she returned to New Zealand to become a founding member of the New Zealand String Quartet in 1987. She was second violinist for two years before taking up the position of violist.

In 1992, Gillian founded the Adam Chamber Music Festival with a group of friends, performing five concerts in five days. In 2001 she became Cp-Artistic Director with fellow quartet member Helene Pohl.

In 2008 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her outstanding services to music in New Zealand.

She served on the jury of the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2019.

Gillian plays on a 1619 Nicolò Amati viola, generously loaned by the Adam Foundation.

Rolf Gjelsten

Rolf Gjelsten began cello studies at the age of 15 in his native city Victoria, Canada, with James Hunter and Janos Starker. At 22 he became the youngest member of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Rolf returned to North America to study with Zara Nelsova, which led to further study with the members of the La Salle, Hungarian, Vermeer, Cleveland and Emerson string quartets.

As a member of the Laurentian Quartet for almost a decade he toured internationally, made five CDs and taught cello at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. During this time he was also a member of the New York Piano Trio.

Rolf furthered his studies from 1990 with the great Pablo Casals protégé and Beaux Arts Trio cellist Bernhard Greenhouse at Rutgers University, where he received his doctoral degree in cello. He has performed with eminent artists including Menahem Pressler, Anton Kuerti, Piers Lane, Tasmin Little, Nobuko Imai and Gervaise de Peyer.

Rolf joined the New Zealand String Quartet in May 1994 and in 2014 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for his outstanding services to music in New Zealand.

Rolf plays a Francesco Gofriller cello made in Venice in 1705.

Bob Bickerton

Bob Bickerton has worked within the New Zealand professional performing arts industry for almost 50 years in a myriad of roles including as trustee, manager, technical producer and performer. Until recently, he was better known to the Adam Chamber Music Festival fraternity as manager, a position in which he served from 2011 to 2021.

Released from the shackles of administration, Bob is now focussed on creative exploits and in recent years has performed as a taonga pūoro practitioner with Nelson Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Composers’ Workshop and with New Zealand String Quartet in their performance of Gillian Whitehead’s ‘Hine Pū Te Hue’, which was broadcast as part of Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts in 2022.

A specialist in traditional Celtic music, Bob first discovered the world of taonga pūoro – traditional Māori instruments – when he moved to Nelson in 1987 as Director of the Nelson School of Music. It was then he encouraged Richard Nunns to deliver a workshop on these ‘singing treasures’. Bob went on to work with Richard and Aroha Yates-Smith on various projects including several film scores and with poet Glen Colquhoun and Richard Nunns in Glen’s poetry cycle ‘North South’.

Following encouragement from Hirini Melbourne, he included taonga pūoro in his school shows and in the last 25 years has presented the taonga to an estimated 300,000 students around New Zealand.

A collaboration with master carver Brian Flintoff, artist Robin Slow and musicians Ariana Tikao, Holly Tikao-Weir and Solomon Rahui, saw the creation of several exhibitions that featured soundscapes to support the exhibitions’ kaupapa. One of these, Ngā Hau Ngākau, has toured nationally, receiving critical acclaim. Bob has collaborated with Ariana Tikao on several occasions and their duo, Muriwai, will be touring a new concert programme with Chamber Music New Zealand in October 2024.

As a music creator, Bob has had songs performed and recorded internationally and has had his own recordings released on the international Naxos label. He has created soundscapes for numerous media projects, with particular focus on kaupapa Māori outcomes, and recently wrote music for the premiere play of the The Professional Theatre Company, Mr & Mrs MacBeth of Dodson Valley Road, which is touring nationally.

Justin Bird

Justin Bird is an acclaimed pianist and teacher whose fresh interpretations include an affinity for underrated repertoire. He has performed with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, amongst others. During his studies in the USA, Justin won concerto competitions awarding performances with both Florida State University Philharmonia and the Indiana University Orchestra.

Justin began his studies in Auckland with Rae de Lisle, followed by Bryan Sayer. He continued in the USA with Read Gainsford at Ithaca College and Florida State University, and Marian Hahn at the Peabody Institute. Justin then moved to Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music to complete a Doctorate in Music studying with André Watts.

Justin has been sharing his love for music since the 1990s, always maintaining a private studio as well as teaching piano in different colleges and schools. After his Associate Instructorship at Indiana University, he taught at Vincennes University as Adjunct Faculty, and was then appointed as Artist Faculty at Omaha Conservatory of Music in Nebraska.

Now living in New Zealand, Justin teaches students in his Auckland studio, performs viola with various orchestras and ensembles, and tunes pianos.

Simeon Broom

Simeon Broom grew up in Auckland and began studying violin when he was four years old. He completed Performance Violin studies at Auckland University with Mary O’Brien, during which he won the inaugural University Concerto Competition. Simeon received a DAAD (German Academic Exchange) Scholarship to study at Düsseldorf’s Hochschule für Musik with Professor Ida Bieler, and performed in the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne, as well as with Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now.

In 2004 Simeon was finalist in the Young Musicians Competition New Zealand. In 2008, he completed his Masters at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with David Takeno and Jack Glickman. He was finalist in the Beare Solo Bach Competition in London and winner of the Sonata Competition at the North London Music Festival. He has played in numerous orchestras including Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, and Sydney Symphony, before taking up his position in the NZSO.

Simeon has performed as soloist with orchestras both in New Zealand and in Germany. In 2021 and 2022 he performed and recorded as soloist with the NZSO, of Vivaldi and Piazzola’s ‘Seasons’. Simeon is a passionate chamber musician and has toured for Chamber Music New Zealand. He is the founder and director of the Mt Eden Chamber Music Festival. His formative chamber music experience was attending the Nelson Adam Summer School for eight years.

Justin DeHart

From Sacramento, California, Justin DeHart is a Grammy-nominated performer of contemporary musical styles from classical to pop, and from world to electronic. He was a member of Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (LAPQ) 2009-2022, and his musical resume includes performances with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, LA Phil New Music Group, I.C.E., red fish blue fish, and pop legends Stewart Copeland and Cheap Trick. Justin was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for percussion studies in India and his talents have been featured at concerts around the globe.

Justin appears on over 100 solo, chamber and contemporary releases on MCA, Sony, Mode, Innova, Sono Luminus, Albany, New World, HatHut, Rattle, Populist, Bridge, Sub Pop, and Skunk Records. His debut solo album, Strange Paths, on Innova Recordings (works by Brian Ferneyhough, Iannis Xenakis, Michael Gordon and Stuart Saunders Smith) was lauded as ‘mesmerizing’ by Percussive Notes for his ‘palette of sounds and intricate weaving of lines’. The Complete Early Percussion Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen on MODE Records won the Deutscheschallplattenkritikpreis for the best new music release of 2015. Justin was a finalist for Te Kaipuoro Inamata Toa | Best Classical Artist Aotearoa Music Award for his solo album, Landfall: New Zealand Percussion Volume 1, released on Rattle records in 2021.

Justin holds a BM from CSU Sacramento, a MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and a DMA from UC San Diego. An Associate Professor of Music at the University of Canterbury, Justin is a YAMAHA Performing Artist and an endorser of Black Swamp Percussion, REMO, Sabian, and Innovative Percussion Inc.

Gabriela Glapska

Gabriela Glapska is a Polish-born pianist based in Wellington. She received her Masters Degree with Distinction in Poland studying under the tutelage of Professor Ewa Pobłocka and completed her PhD in Music (piano class of Dr Jian Liu) with the major performance component from Victoria University of Wellington in 2020.

Gabriela is a sought-after chamber musician, accompanist and répétiteur with a strong interest in contemporary music. She has been the pianist for the annual Nelson Composers Workshops since 2017 and a pianist for the 44th International Viola Congress held in Wellington in 2017. As an advocate for the performance of new compositions, she has collaborated with many award-winning composers on both solo and ensemble projects as well as with Wellington-based contemporary ensemble STROMA and the SMP Ensemble.

In August 2022, Gabriela performed at the ISCM World New Music Days Festival held in Auckland and Christchurch. Gabriela is a founding member of the Ghost Trio along with violinist Monique Lapins and cellist Ken Ichinose, who completed a national tour for Chamber Music New Zealand’s Music Up Close series in 2021. In 2023, they performed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Michael Joel in Auckland. Gabriela also collaborates with soprano Barbara Paterson, TrioNique, Royal New Zealand Ballet, New Zealand Opera (6:24 Voices of Aotearoa) and Wellington Opera (La Traviata).


Rachael Griffiths-Hughes

Rachael Griffiths-Hughes performs as harpsichordist and organist with many ensembles across New Zealand, including the early music groups Affetto, and NZBarok, and recently as soloist in Bach’s 5th Brandenburg concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Rachael is Director of Music at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Hamilton, and Senior Lecturer at the University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music. A current passion is for the performance of 17th and 18th century sacred cantatas, in which Rachael directs the specifically-formed ensemble Vox Baroque, a 12-voice choir with a small band of instrumentalists.

Rachael has music degrees from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the University of Auckland.

Jian Liu

An internationally celebrated concert pianist, chamber musician, and educator, Dr Jian Liu has performed and taught throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. His artistry has taken him to some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He has released many solo and chamber albums in New Zealand and US, and his performances have been broadcast by various TV and radio stations including KPHO public radio (USA), CCTV (China), Suisse Romande Radio (Switzerland), Krakow Radio (Poland), Kan Radio (Israel) and Radio New Zealand.

Having premiered and recorded many New Zealand compositions, Jian is also a champion for New Zealand music. In 2022, he collaborated with Shanghai Music Publishing House, edited, and published two volumes of New Zealand Piano Works, which mark the first publication of New Zealand music in China. The project has been awarded the Creative New Zealand Arts Grants. Jian is currently the Programme Director of Classical Performance and Head of Piano Studies at New Zealand School of Music. Jian studied with Professor Jin Zhang and Dr Caio Pagano. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale School of Music, where he was a student and assistant of Professor Claude Frank.

Alexander McFarlane

Violist Alexander McFarlane is Associate Principal Viola with the NZSO, with which he has also performed as a soloist. Equally at home in a solo, chamber or orchestral idiom, Alex has performed internationally in venues including Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall, Musikverein in Vienna and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with artists including Janine Jansen, Anthony Marwood, and Doric String Quartet, as well as performing in festivals including Yellow Barn (USA), At the World’s Edge (NZ), Mendelssohn on Mull (Scotland), and Musique à Marsac (France).

Competition successes include winning the 2018 Lorna Viol Memorial Prize and ROSL Trophy for the Most Outstanding Musician from Overseas at the ROSL Annual Music Competition, and First Prize and the Bach Prize at the 2017 Gisborne International Music Competition. He attended the 2013 Adam Summer School.

Alex received his Master’s degree and Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Professor David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and has also played in masterclasses with Tabea Zimmermann, Kim Kashkashian, and Lars Anders Tomter. In addition to NZSO, Alex has performed with London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber, and Australian Chamber orchestras.

Arna Morton

As Principal 2nd Violin of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Arna Morton is thrilled to be home performing for New Zealand audiences after acquiring her PhD in Violin Performance at the University of Melbourne, following the completion of both Bachelor and Master of Musical Arts degrees at the New Zealand School of Music under the tutelage of Associate Professor and NZSQ first violin, Helene Pohl.

Alongside her role in CSO, Arna also performs in Ōtautahi’s Arvida Quartet and is a member of the internationally-acclaimed Morton Trio, performing regularly alongside her husband and horn player, Alex Morton, and fellow-Kiwi pianist, Liam Wooding. In 2019, The Morton Trio toured the United Kingdom with the Royal-Overseas League, performing at esteemed venues such as St Martin’s in the Fields and St James Piccadilly, as well as a New Zealand tour with Chamber Music New Zealand. Arna is also a passionate music educator, teaching violin and performance artistry through Morton Music: the Christchurch-central music studio she co-runs with her husband, Alex.

Helen Webby

Helen Webby is Principal Harp with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and one of New Zealand’s foremost and accomplished harpists. She loves to come out of the back of the orchestra and play her amazing Concert harp, made by her brother Kim Webby.

Helen studied harp in Auckland, The Netherlands and Germany, and was mentored by two of Europe’s top harpists: Edward Witsenburg and Maria Graf. Her recordings are frequently heard on RNZ Concert, and her solo CD, Pluck (MANU) was nominated for Best Classical CD in the 2013 NZ Music Awards. Helen is a favourite with Arts on Tour audiences around New Zealand, and features in the documentary Central to the Soul by Dunedin film-maker Bill Morris, selected for the 14th International Doc Edge Festival in 2019.

Helen is passionate about sharing the magic and mystery of the harp. She teaches harp players of all ages in Christchurch and Dunedin, plays solo and chamber music, and pushes the boundaries of harp music with her friends in Café Operana.

Jenny Wollerman

Senior Lecturer in Classical Voice at the New Zealand School of Music, Jenny Wollerman is one of New Zealand’s best known sopranos. A soloist with all major arts organisations in New Zealand, her Australian performances have included Lutoslawski’s ‘Chantefleurs et Chantefables’ with Tasmanian Symphony and Ravel’s ‘Shéhérazade’ song cycle with the West Australian and Adelaide Symphony orchestras.

Noted for her expressive interpretations of new works, Jenny has premiered numerous compositions. In 2014 she was soloist for Anthony Ritchie’s Stations: Symphony No. 4 with the Christchurch Symphony, which was nominated for MusicWeb International’s Recording of the Year. Other recent performances include Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 at the 2017 Adam Chamber Music Festival, Secrets of Sea and Space with New Zealand String Quartet for the 2020 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, Fragments from Wozzeck with Auckland Philharmonia, Ritchie’s Gallipoli to the Somme, Ross Harris’ The Floating Bride, and Jenny McLeod’s opera Hohepa.

‘Between Darkness and Light’, her CD of art songs with Michael Houstoun has been featured on the Air New Zealand in-flight play list, and her Atoll CD of songs by Ross Harris and Vincent O’Sullivan, ‘Making Light of Time’, is distributed by Naxos and available on online platforms. As part of her project to commission, record and publish 21 songs by 21 female composers from New Zealand, Jenny performed the complete set for the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts with pianist Jian Liu, with the CD recording and song scores published in 2023 by Atoll and Waiteata Music Press.

Heather Lewis

Heather received her early cello tuition from Euan Murdoch and Emma Goodbehere. As a young cellist she performed solos as part of the Michael Monaghan Foundation Young Artists’ Programme and also a concerto with the Wellington Chamber Orchestra. At age sixteen, she was awarded ‘Most Promising’ at the Gisborne International Music Competition. As part of her New Zealand music upbringing, Heather loved summers in Nelson, playing in the Adam Summer School from the age of thirteen and also later the 2015 Troubadour quartet. 

From the age of sixteen, Heather travelled to Europe for masterclass academies, summer schools, and extensive individual cello tuition. Cello professors from these studies included, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Claudio Bohorquez and Philippe Muller. Heather has also enjoyed masterclass tuition and further lessons from Frans Helmerson, Gautier Capuçon, Lynn Harrell, and Nicolas Altsaedt. 

Heather then returned to the southern hemisphere for her Bachelor of Music at NZSM and continued at the Sydney Conservatorium with Umberto Clerici. At both universities she also studied and performed as a baroque cellist. Heather was the NZSM Concerto Competition winner in 2013 and a finalist for the 2015 Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition. The following year she was awarded Second Place and Audience Choice at the NZ National Concerto Competition. 

She is now based in Wellington as a contract cellist for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and often plays with the Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Troubadour Quartet

The Adam Troubadour Quartet Programme is a career development experience for four of NZ’s most promising young string players. The programme includes learning and performance opportunities provided by Adam Chamber Music Festival and Adam Summer School. 

Our 2024 Troubadours are Lucas Baker, Peter Gjelsten, Lauren Jack and Vincent Chen.


Lucas Baker

Lucas graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance with First Class Honours under the tutelage of Helene Pohl, Monique Lapins and Martin Riseley at New Zealand School of Music. Lucas won the national NZCT Chamber Music Contest with the Druz’ya Quartet (2017), and concerto competitions with Wellington Youth Orchestra (2021) and New Zealand School of Music (2022). He served as concertmaster for Wellington Youth Orchestra, New Zealand School of Music Orchestra, and NZSO’s National Youth Orchestra. As an active chamber and orchestral musician, Lucas has toured New Zealand with violin piano duo Kōrua and Druz’ya Quintet. He performs regularly with Orchestra Wellington and Hawke’s Bay Orchestra. In 2022, Lucas performed in a masterclass with violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn. Lucas is privileged to play a Pressenda violin, belonging to the late Stephen Managh.

Peter Gjelsten

Peter is currently studying at the Australian National Academy of Music. Prior to this, he was in the Classical Performance programme at Victoria University, studying violin with Monique Lapins, and second instrument piano with Jian Liu and Emma Sayers. His journey started in the Suzuki program with Lynley Culliford and doing chamber music weekly in the YMP programme. He has twice won the won the NZCT Chamber Music Contest, on viola in 2019 and on violin in 2020. In 2021, he was invited on a Chamber Music NZ tour with members of his 2020 winning string quartet and musicians from NZSO.

Lauren Jack

Lauren Jack is a freelance violist based in Pōneke. Originally a violinist, her violin teacher Lynley Culliford and NZSQ members Helene Pohl and Gillian Ansell encouraged Lauren to play viola in a string quartet, which won the NZCT chamber contest and made Lauren fall in love with the instrument, leading her to complete a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in Viola Performance under the tutelage of Gillian Ansell. Her work as a freelance musician includes playing as sub-principal viola in Orchestra Wellington, teaching violin and viola at Arohanui Strings and Queen Margaret’s college, playing in various ensembles in festivals including the Fringe Festival, Cubadupa, and Classical on Cuba, as well as joining the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as a casual musician, and working as a presenter on RNZ Concert. In every one of these environments she is always working with the belief that everyone deserves to participate in music making and appreciation.

Vincent Chen

New Zealand-born cellist Vincent Chen, of Taiwanese heritage, started cello lessons at 10 and now studies with James Yoo at the University of Auckland while also pursuing an engineering degree. He has performed as a soloist with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra, and, as part of the Viereinigkeit Quartet, he won the 2021 ROSL/Pettman Chamber Music Scholarship, performing in the UK and premiering a piece by Dame Gillian Whitehead.