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Reflecting on our Collective Place in this World: The Music of First Light

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Helene reflects on our recent tour across Aotearoa New Zealand, and what the music means to her.

It was unexpectedly moving to feel part of the celebration of Matariki – Aotearoa New Zealand’s new public holiday celebrating the Māori new year, a holiday deeply rooted in our land, its history and place in the world.

As always, the joy of playing for and communicating with live audiences and communities is at the heart of all we do, and traveling through the beauty of New Zealand is continually inspiring, and a total perk!

It was particularly satisfying to feel the openness of our listeners to music they hadn’t heard before. One of our missions is to continue discovering more fabulous repertoire, and to share the remarkable diversity of the music for string quartet as widely as possible. Our First Light tour programming was absolutely no exception. Some of the highlights in this regard were the powerful excitement of polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz, the vulnerability of early Webern, the expressivity of William Walton, the wit of Lyell Cresswell and the dance party of David Flynn.

Helene, Monique, Gillian and Rolf perform an intimate excerpt from William Walton’s String Quartet in A minor, a work of heartfelt reflection.

Our flagship National Tour series is now in its 21st year, and would not be possible without the sustained and generous support of the Turnovsky Endowment Trust. We’re eternally grateful for their generosity of spirit – it was a pleasure to perform for Helen (Trustee) and Robert Philpott in Wellington. Thank you to you both for your passion and friendship over the years.

We look ahead now to two tours of contrasting colours and mood – the first: Letters from Home, our New Zealand tour with Iraqi oud player Rahim AlHaj, presented by Chamber Music New Zealand throughout October. A special and moving experience not to be missed.

And the second, our return to the European stage to perform the complete Beethoven Quartet cycle in the Netherlands and Germany, after two years of postponements. We couldn’t be more excited! We’re proud to be performing gorgeous works by Salina Fisher and Gareth Farr alongside Samuel Barber and Benjamin Britten as well.

We’ll send out more details in our October Q-notes, but for now – save the dates, and check out our What’s On page for all the latest updates.

With warm musical wishes,



Coming soon... NZSQ in Europe!

Göttingen, Germany

Complete Beethoven String Quartet Cycle

November 8, 9, 10, 11, 18, 19

Bloemendaal, Amsterdam

Beethoven String Quartets

November 12

Nijmegen, Holland

Complete Beethoven String Quartet Cycle

November 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23

Münster, Germany:

Performing works by Gareth Farr, Salina Fisher, Samuel Barber and Benjamin Britten

November 26

Sonnenalp Resort, Sonthofen, Germany

Performing works by Gareth Farr and Beethoven

December 2

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