After a decade of service, Emeritus Professor Gary Hawke stepped down as the NZSQ Trust’s Chair earlier this month. Gary made an immense and valuable contribution to the NZSQ throughout his term and to celebrate the end of an era, we asked him to share some highlights of the past few years with us.
What was the most memorable NZSQ performance you attended?
The most recent one! Mozart’s last quartet and Bartok’s 4th. But then Beethoven Op 131 not long before that was also outstanding. NZSQ can be relied on to give a great performance of whatever it plays. Over the years I particularly remember Schubert’s Death and the Maiden played in St Andrew’s church in a NZ Festival of the Arts performance, the first time I heard John Psathas’ Abisheka at the university, and of course, the Beethoven and Bartok cycles.
The NZSQ perform Bartok's 4th String Quartet at the New Zealand School of Music, Sept 2019
What are you most proud of having achieved with the NZSQ?
The achievements of NZSQ are those of the musicians. I am proud to have been associated with music-making of the highest quality, and exemplary leadership in making chamber music accessible throughout New Zealand. I have chaired the Trust Board and am glad to have had a part in mobilising the resources needed for the musicians to be as successful as they have been. My direct role was to keep a diverse group of trustees focused on the task; over my 10 years in the chair, we had numerous trustees from around New Zealand, and I was fortunate in that they were always united in the effort. We had vigorous debates, but we could always collaborate. My greatest nightmare was that the process of selecting a new second violinist would generate disagreement between the musicians and the trustees; it didn’t, and the way Gillian, Helene, and Rolf talk about the reinvigoration of the Quartet with Monique’s arrival has been enormously satisfying.
The NZSQ celebrated their 30th season in 2017
What will you miss most about the NZSQ?
Not much! I will be at as many concerts as before. And the musicians and trustees have always been willing to discuss their ambitions and their achievements. I will miss the reasons to call into the NZSQ offices. My interactions with Managers over the years – Elizabeth Kerr, Rose Campbell, Christine Argyle and now Sarah Chesney - and with Suzanne Callam who as Operations and Finance Manager has administered the office throughout my term as chair, and with more recent staff such as Elyse Dalabakis, Marketing administrator, have always been pleasant. They, along with the performance of the musicians, are why the Quartet has a strong band of committed supporters.
We’ll look forward to continuing to see Gary at concerts and extend our deepest thanks for his dedication to the NZSQ.
We're delighted to announce that current trustee Jeremy Johnson will step into the chair role. Jeremy's commitment and enthusiasm for our music will undoubtedly support us to continue to take our audiences on enriching musical journeys.