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College Hosts Chamber Music Evening Ahead of Successful Auckland Competition

June 26, 2024 at 12:55 PM

Many of our talented musicians at the College spend hours refining their skills. It can often be an introspective activity, with individuals joining together for frequent orchestra or band practices each week. To foster a stronger sense of community, chamber ensembles have become increasingly popular among our musicians. These ensembles offer an opportunity to play and perform with friends, form new friendships, and learn beautiful, intimate pieces that still require an element of collaboration. 

The dedication of our musicians to chamber music has been proven time and time again. A notable example is recent graduate Charles Sang, who was part of the national title-winning chamber group in 2023. In preparation for the Auckland Chamber Music Competition, our groups were seen entering the College at 6:45 am to rehearse, albeit slightly sleepy-eyed!

The week before the Auckland Competition, the College hosted its Chamber Music Evening, an intimate show for family and friends of our chamber groups. Eight groups performed, most of which were fully Saint Kentigern groups. The night featured a variety of ensembles, including several piano trios and some unique combinations, such as a four-man percussion ensemble, ‘Good Vibes.’

The beauty of chamber music lies in the performers' ability to take a composition and be expressive and experimental. Due to the small group sizes, often only three or four performers, there was a textural clarity to the music, with each instrument intricately weaving its distinct lines together to create dynamic range and expressive nuance. ‘Trio Élégiaque,’ featuring violinist Amy Chen, cellist Hyun Jae Lee, and pianist Peter Hu, exemplified this with their deeply emotive performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Trio Élégiaque No. 1.

Our performers then went on to impress the judges at the Auckland Chamber Music Competition, in a bid to advance to the regional and national competitions. ‘Trio Élégiaque’ won best overall group on the night, putting them in a great position moving forward into the Regional Final on 22 June.

We also had a full College percussion ensemble receive Highly Commended and Best Performance of a NZ Work. ‘Good Vibes’, the four-man group featuring Isaac Chang and Peter Hu on piano and Jason Wong and Christian Maio on percussion performed brilliantly. They will also perform at the Regional Finals in hopes of making the National Final later this year.

Two other Saint Kentigern students received Highly Commended placings as a part of mixed school bands: Ryan Cen from ‘Chiron Junior’ and Elisa Wu from ‘Milhaud a Rio’. Elisa’s group also received the NZ Double Reed Society Award with their flute, oboe, clarinet, and piano ensemble. These two groups have recently been awarded berths to compete at regionals. Congratulations to all our students for their dedication, musicianship, and great success on the night.

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