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Martinborough thrills with music

Chamber musicians from as far as Dusseldorf will perform this weekend in Martinborough.

The Martinborough Music Festival started last night with five concerts of musicians performing in various combinations and works from the baroque era up to now, including the premiere of Behind the Stars, a Dark Sky by Tabea Squire, to celebrate the fifth festival.

Cellist Matthias Belzat will be especially busy – for four of the concerts he will play in almost every piece.

Co-artistic director Wilma Smith said it was an amazing festival.

“The group we’ve put together are just stunning.

“[virtuoso pianist] Michael Houston was listening in on a rehearsal, and his jaw was
on the floor in amazement.”

The lead-up wasn’t without challenges, including lyric bass Paul Whelan, who will fill in for Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

“We had already begun rehearsing when Teddy was given medical advice not to sing,” Smith said.

“We managed to find an excellent replacement. We were lucky Paul was still in the country, so we convinced him to stay a week longer.

“We’ve had to change the repertoire, to allow for Paul coming in at the last minute.”

The organising takes at least a year, with plenty of hard work from the committee.

There were many highly acclaimed musicians, some who’d been performing professionally since age 16. Also, there were former members of New Zealand and Melbourne symphony orchestras performing.

Organiser Sharon Cuzens said convincing the musicians to perform in Martinborough was an easy feat.

“Wilma and Victoria are very persuasive. Music is a small world in a way,” said Smith.

“When you’re at the top of your game, you meet a lot of high-performing musicians.”

Cuzens said it was a festival to travel to.

“The audience is from all over the place.

“Martinborough is one of three festivals that people tend to travel to. They know this will have world-class performers.”

All performances are at Martinborough Town Hall. Tickets are still available for today at 2pm and 7pm and tomorrow at 11am.

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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