Ensembles in Residence
Read about the musicians in residence at the New Zealand School of Music.
New Zealand String Quartet
The New Zealand String Quartet (NZSQ) is New Zealand’s leading chamber ensemble, with a distinguished record of international touring success. Much-loved by audiences at home and around the world, the Quartet performs over eighty concerts and education workshops to popular and critical acclaim each year.
The Quartet is committed to the development of younger musicians and composers through its work as Quartet-in-Residence, a position they have held since 1991 at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Music, now the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī. In addition to this important role, the New Zealand String Quartet presents an annual Adam Summer School for Chamber Music programme for young musicians in Nelson every February and an annual Queen’s Birthday Chamber Music Weekend for secondary students preparing for the NZCT Chamber Music Contest. Overseas, they have held a number of visiting residencies including at the Banff Centre, Princeton University, the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane and Florida State University.
Sought-after for their imaginative and varied programming, the quartet is known for its revelatory performances of the standard classical quartet repertoire and their exciting realizations of newer works from contemporary composers, particularly from New Zealand.
Career highlights have included highly praised debuts at London’s Wigmore Hall, the prestigious Frick Collection in New York, and in Washington’s Library of Congress. The Quartet’s extensive discography includes Mendelssohn, Bartók, Brahms, Ravel, Debussy, Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorák, Wolf, Berg, Székely, and numerous New Zealand composers. Their latest CD release features the complete string quartets and sonnets by Janáček.
After making music together for over 20 years, 2nd violinist Douglas Beilman stepped down at the end of 2015 and has been replaced by Australian violinist Monique Lapins.
The longest serving members of the ensemble, Gillian Ansell, Helene Pohl, and Rolf Gjelsten have received recognition as Members of the New Zealand order of Merit (MNZM) for their services to music. Helene Pohl and Gillian Ansell are co-artistic directors of the biennial Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson.
The video below features a live performance of Natalie Hunt’s Data Entry Groove by the New Zealand String Quartet, recorded in June 2019 in the Hunter Council Chamber as part of the Resound Project through SOUNZ.
The NZSQ maintain their own website with more information, including career highlights, concert dates, and recordings.
Te Kōkī Trio
Te Kōkī Trio comprises three full-time members of the staff from our Classical Performance programme – Martin Riseley (violin), Inbal Megiddo (cello) and Jian Liu (piano) – all of whom have extensive careers as professional musicians both nationally and internationally. The trio released their debut album Debussy Sonatas and Piano Trio in 2017, which was named a finalist for the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards (VNZMA) Best Classical Artist 2017.