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Returning piano star ready to wow

Thomas Nikora with the Wairarapa Community Orchestra. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Former Makoura College student Thomas Nikora is returning to the town where he first learnt the instrument that has seen him perform with symphony orchestras around the world.

The Wairarapa Community Orchestra is proud to feature Nikora in its concert “Noteworthy” this Saturday which will see him playing the first two movements of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3 on Wairarapa College’s Schimmel piano.

Conductor Ruth Eckford said it was a fantastic opportunity to witness a talented pianist who first learnt piano in Masterton and completed his Bachelor of Music at the Te Koki New Zealand School of Music under Jian Liu, an internationally-acclaimed solo pianist.

“It’s a privilege to showcase a local pianist in such a lovely work as Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto,” Eckford said.

The 40-member strong orchestra is made up of musicians from all over Wairarapa and includes students from Kuranui, Wairarapa, Rathkeale, and Solway colleges and St Matthew’s Collegiate.

“We have also recruited extra musicians from Palmerston North and Wellington to augment the orchestra for this performance,” Eckford said.

Nikora adds a wealth of experience to the orchestra line-up, having played all over New Zealand, from Dunedin to Hamilton, as well as in the USA.

He has also been a soloist with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra and performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2 with the Tawa Community Orchestra, which he now conducts.

He is the musical director of Wellington’s Cantoris choir, a pianist for Orchestra Wellington and repetiteur [tutor] for the Royal New Zealand Ballet for The Nutcracker.

The first half of the concert will feature some favourites from previous concerts including the Khachaturian Spartacus Theme made popular in the television series The Onedin Line.

The concert will also feature Helen Quaggin-Molloy on trumpet and Annabel Lovatt on cor anglais, accompanied by the strings, playing Quiet City by Aaron Copland.

The concert will take place in the Wairarapa College Hall at 7pm on Saturday.

Tickets can be purchased from Ten O’Clock Cookie Bakery-Café – adults $20 and students $10.

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