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by Cassandra King

Druz’ya Wins Chamber Music Contest 2017

by Cassandra King

Druz’ya Wins Chamber Music Contest 2017

Over the weekend, ensembles from all across NZ came together at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre to compete in the Chamber Music Contest 2017.

Out of the six ensembles that made it through to the Sunday final, it was Wellington Quartet Druz’ya which took first place.

The adjudicators of the competition (NZ Symphony Orchestra cellist Brigid O’Meeghan, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra principal bassoon Ingrid Hagan and New Zealand Pianist Stephen De Pledge) noted that the standard of the performances this year was incredibly high.

According to De Pledge, it was the energy and “maturity well beyond their years” that Druz’ya displayed in their performance that, not only drew audience members in but also got them the first place spot in the competition.

It’s only the second time a Wellington ensemble has won the contest.

Lucas Baker (violin), Andy Yu (violin), Lauren Jack (viola) and Milo Benn (cello) performed movements 1, 2 and 3 of Shostakovich’s eighth string quartet, with the intensity of their playing matching the intensity of the meaning of the piece that is dedicated to victims of fascism and war.

The competition is an annual event for secondary schools and has been iconic for young composers and musicians in chamber music for over 50 years – celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015.

Other prize-winners include:

  • Buda and The Pests (Christchurch) – Music Award
  • Mahuta Trio (Auckland) –  Best Performance of an NZ Work, People’s Choice Award
  • Stefenie Pickston (Auckland) – Original Composition Section (juniors)
  • Benjamin Sneyd-Utting (Wellington) –Original Composition Section (seniors)