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Celebrating Monique's Legacy with the NZSQ

Updated: Jun 24

On Friday 7 June 2024, we bade farewell to our much-loved violinist, Monique Lapins, with an extraordinary concert. After eight years and countless incredible concerts together, Monique is now heading off on the next leg of her musical journey.

Monique looked back on her tenure with the NZSQ and picked out some highlights. Read on to see what stood out!


Monique is appointed to the NZSQ in May of 2016.

On the road with Heartland Classics

Monique's first international tour to the United Kingdom and North America. The tour kicks off with a performance at the Salisbury International Arts Festival.

Heartland Classics: Monique's first National Tour of New Zealand.

QuintEssence with James Dunham (former Cleveland Quartet Violist): Monique's first tour with Chamber Music New Zealand.

In rehearsal for 'Three by Ekman'


Monique's first tour to Europe with the NZSQ, with performances in Slovenia, The Netherlands and Germany, among others.

The NZSQ collaborates with dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and choreographer, Alexander Ekman in a production of Three by Ekman.

Dangerous Liaisons National Tour. "A special tour which was also celebrated the 30th anniversary year of the NZSQ’s life!" - Monique

Monique's first tour to China with the NZSQ, with performances in Hangzhou, Chengdu and Beijing. The Quartet also worked with composition students of Gao Ping and Shen Nalin. 



Turning Points, New Zealand National Tour.

The NZSQ tour the country with Chamber Music New Zealand, performing with pianist Piers Lane and double bassist Hiroshi Ikematsu.

The NZSQ perform two special concerts at Tauranga's Hūria Marae, as part of the WW100 Armistice Day Commemorations.

An international tour that began in North America and included special musical collaborations with Nicola Melville, James Dunham, Ivo-Jan van der Werff, and Desmond Hoebig. "We then ventured to Europe and the UK. Some memorable moments were performing in Romania, seeing the landscapes Bartók would have traversed, and making music with the Tiberius Quartet." - Monique

The Quartet at Nelson Centre of Musical Arts in 2018



Naxos Brahms String Quintets CD is released featuring the Quartet playing with violist Maria Lambros.

An international tour to North America and Europe. "This tour included us performing concerts in the rivers-swept landscapes of Parry Sound in Canada (Festival of the Sound) to the glorious mountain views in Allgäu, Bavaria (Sonnenalp Chamber Music Festival)." - Monique



"It was the year of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary of his birth and was intended to be a year where we were to perform all of Beethoven’s String Quartets throughout New Zealand. It was also the year the Covid pandemic struck. We found many opportunities to share music, including recording digital broadcasts of concerts and carrying on teaching our NZSM students online. With restrictions gradually relaxing, we eventually began to embark on socially-distanced tours of Beethoven’s string quartets. These were memorable moments for us and truly highlighted the importance and power of live music and art in all forms as a connecting force for humanity." - Monique



The NZSQ tour for Chamber Music New Zealand with Transfigured Night, a collaboration with BalletCollective, Loughlan Prior, Ken Ichinose and Serenity Thurlow.

Transfigured Night at Michael Fowler Centre

National Tour 2021, New Zealand National Tour. "An incredibly special memory, as it marked a whopping 20 Seasons of NZSQ’s NZ National Tours. Further to this, there were still Covid restrictions to negotiate, so every concert that went ahead felt incredibly special." - Monique



The 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts goes ahead under Covid restrictions and presents a series of digital chamber music concerts, curated by Helene and Gillian. "Despite the lack of audience, it was a magical time playing together as a quartet and in collaboration with musicians from the NZSO and NZSM." - Monique

The NZSQ travel to Australia to perform in the Canberra International Music Festival. "This was not only special travelling and performing in my home country, but it was also the first international tour since 2020." - Monique

The Quartet performs the complete Beethoven Cycle across Europe. "An unforgettable experience and marathon performing every quartet Beethoven composed. A memorable venue and experience was in the Great Hall De Vereenging." - Monique



The NZSQ joins forces with Arts on Tour NZ and presents a series of concerts in rural centres across the entirety of New Zealand. "This tour was memorable. It took us to smaller centers throughout NZ and - in many cases - to audiences who had never heard a string quartet before. The sense of community, warmth and appreciation in these regions was unforgettable." - Monique

A tour across North America, including performances at Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound, Canada. "Here we collaborated with many wonderful performers including Penderecki Quartet, Joel Quarrington, Julie Baumgartel, Borys Medicky and the wonderful artistic director, James Campbell." - Monique

Woven Pathways, New Zealand National Tour.



Monique's final Adam Chamber Music Festival and Adam Summer School in Nelson. "Masterfully curated by Helene and Gill as always, this festival was truly special." - Monique

The NZSQ tour their 2024 Soundscapes programme across the South Island of New Zealand; Monique's final tour as second violinist for the New Zealand String Quartet. "A vivid and even more profoundly concentrated musical experience that was all about enjoying every musical moment together - I will never forget this experience. It’s also simultaneously wonderful to welcome and celebrate incoming violinist, Peter Clark." - Monique


This brings us to...

Quintessence: An NZSQ Celebration

We spent a glorious evening on Friday 7 June playing our final concert with Monique and our first concert with Peter. Take a look back at the evening with these photos captured by Aimée Sullivan, and a few lovely words from Gill, Helene and Rolf.

“I do want to express my deepest appreciation to Gillian, Helene, and Rolf. This has been an adventure of a lifetime and honestly, the bond we share is unique and irreplaceable for me. I will never forget first joining the quartet, and being absolutely struck and blown away by your incredible energy and musical passion and complete zest for life which is boundless and that inspires me.

“Something I learned from Rolf, Helene and Gillian is to always embrace every moment and live in every moment and just go along with the ride and I love that about you. You never get too bogged down with anything and that’s such a beautiful thing that I’ll carry with me.” - Monique

“Things I have appreciated about Monique: the fact that she is so beautiful and so beautifully dressed. Amazingly lively, smart, and quick thinking and always quick reacting, whether its musically or a joke, her brain is super-fast- like the others. She is unbelievably conscientious, hardworking perfectionist. So generous, kind, thoughtful helpful, collegial, gentle, passionate, always interested in other people. She’s fun! Funny, and fun loving!" - Gillian

“Monique came in and was a breath of fresh air and we sat down and I don’t think we ever had so much fun playing, this is too good to be true, there must be another side. For eight years, it’s been too good to be true because that’s the way she is, so gracious, so passionate about life and music and a person we can take anywhere.”

"But we can’t be too completely sad because we have gained this wonderful violinist and personality that will keep up enlightened and energised.” - Rolf


"I remember leaving that short first session with Monique and thinking: 'String quartet is so fun! String quartet playing is so much fun!' And she was the fourth or fifth person out of 22 that we played with and when all was said and done, Monique was definitely the most fun to play with. We were so lucky to have her. Thanks for being my violin sis." - Helene


Monique: your passion, dedication, and boundless enthusiasm have left an indelible mark on the New Zealand String Quartet, and the wider cultural landscape here in Aotearoa, and your legacy will endure as you embark on the next chapter of your remarkable career. We thank you for your immense contribution to the NZSQ and extraordinary service to music more broadly, and we wish you continued success and fulfilment in all your future endeavours.

Photos by Aimée Sullivan

We're gearing up to tour around the North Island across September and October, our first tour with Peter Clark! So, stay tuned to our social media channels for more information.

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