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Review: Adam Chamber Music Festival starts with a roar

From Upbeat, 1:00 pm on 5 February 2019 Reviewed by Elizabeth Kerr / RNZ

The Adam Chamber Musical Festival is in full flight in Nelson. Elizabeth Kerr reviews the first few days of performances.

This Festival has been happening for over 25 years and this year the line-up of international and New Zealand guests may be the finest ever.

The Jerusalem Quartet from Israel, pianists Denes Várjon and his wife Izabella Simon, English violinist Anthony Marwood and Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner Canadian Nikki Chooi, violinist Wilma Smith back from Australia with some musician colleagues from Melbourne, Scottish accordion virtuoso James Crabb about to arrive and others from New Zealand or ex-pat NZers.

Dénes Várjon Photo: Adam Chamber Music Festival

Gillian Ansell Photo: supplied

A highlight of the Festival is the way musicians combine, often to present repertoire we don’t hear so often, and the very joyous collegial atmosphere that comes from that.

Violist Gillian Ansell of the NZSQ played with the Jerusalem Quartet in the Brahms 2nd String Quintet in the opening concert and the cellist from the Jerusalem Quartet, Kyril Zlotnikov, and pianist Denes Varjon joined with the Festival’s Artistic Directors, Helene Pohl and Gillian Ansell for a marvelous performance of Schumann’s Piano Quartet Opus 47, one of the highlights so far.

Audiences have been terrific, with all evening concerts sold out and some of the daytime ones too. One of the attractions has been the return to the excellent refurbished facilities at the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts.