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Music Leadership Project Launched for Aspiring Young Musicians

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

The NZ String Quartet (NZSQ) and Orchestras Central (OC) are excited to announce the launch of a new music leadership project for the string players of Youth Orchestra Waikato (YOW).

A dozen or more violinists, violists and cellists sit in concentric semi-circles, playing their instruments. In front of each of them in a music stand holding sheets of music.
The NZSQ play side-by-side with the Youth Orchestra Waikato string section.

After a successful pilot workshop earlier in the year, both organisations saw the potential to develop a new kind of project focussing specifically on developing leadership and communication skills within an ensemble setting. Through a series of annual side-by-side mentoring workshops and unconducted performance projects in Kirikiriroa Hamilton, this new initiative will see aspiring young musicians from YOW rehearse intensively with and perform alongside the NZSQ musicians.

“The NZSQ Trust are delighted to be expanding our education mahi to encompass professional development opportunities with the specific aim of nurturing confident and empowered musical leaders for the future. Together with OC we’re delighted to be developing a new kind of project that has leadership at the core of its purpose. We’re excited to see where this could lead, and the wider benefits it could have for the music sector in Aotearoa.” - Marcus Norman, NZSQ Trust General Manager.
Eight violinists sit in a circle, each with a music stand holding sheet music in front of them. They are all concentrating on playing their instruments.
NZSQ second violinist, Monique, perfecting the bow strokes of the second violins from Youth Orchestra Waikato

This new initiative will culminate in a side-by-side performance each year as part of OC’s programme of public events and involve sessions on developing confident body language and physical gestures, communicating effectively, and resolving artistic differences in rehearsal. The aim is to provide insights into what it takes to be a musical leader, and the opportunity to develop and apply these skills in a supportive setting.

After the pilot workshop earlier this year, Scott Cathcart, violinist from YOW came away feeling motivated to learn more.

“The whole experience was inspiring. It was great to hear the NZSQ in concert then get to play alongside and be tutored by them the next day. During sectionals we took turns leading which improved our leadership skills and also improved our ensemble playing when we combined with the full group” - Scott Cathcart, violinist from YOW

Catherine Gibson, Chief Executive of Orchestras Central adds “The fundamentals of great chamber music performance are equally applicable in an orchestral context. The string section leaders of the orchestra are like a quartet themselves, so to have an international level string quartet work so closely with our up-and-coming young musicians is transformative for their musical development.”

Three student cellists sit in a line facing Rolf. All have music stands holding sheet music in front of them and all are concentrating on playing their instruments.
NZSQ Cellist Rolf Gjelsten leads the lower strings in an intensive sectional session

Catherine believes partnership working is the way forward for both arts organisations to amplify the reach and impact of their mahi: “With both the NZSQ and OC being part of the Creative New Zealand Toi Uru Kahikatea Investment Programme, it’s a natural fit for us to work in partnership to build the long-term capability of the arts sector.”

The NZSQ and OC hope this new initiative will blossom into a broader partnership that encompasses workshops and performances with OC’s whānau of orchestras throughout the Waikato.

The New Zealand String Quartet and Orchestras Central logos side-by-side.

For more images, details, or to arrange interviews please contact:

Tyler Clarke | Marketing Coordinator, New Zealand String Quartet | | 04 499 8883

For more information on the work of Orchestras Central, please visit

For more information on the work of the New Zealand String Quartet Trust, please visit

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