2015 – After Day Ten: In very sound hands

The Adam Chamber Music Festival may finish on Day Ten, but the chamber music making in Nelson is by no means over. Each year the Adam Chamber Music Festival Directors also run a Summer School for young chamber musicians. Blogger and Summer School Manager Annette Monti shares what happens in the week that follows the Festival…

Students at the 2015 Adam Summer School

Students at the 2015 Adam Summer School

The twenty-first Adam Summer School for young musicians took place again in Nelson.  Showcasing NZ’s top young chamber musicians the school is based in the Nelson Baptist Centre & St John’s Church.  Following the School of Music’s closure in late 2013 for earthquake strengthening, there was an urgent need for other venues.  Many private homes were offered for student rehearsal last year, & a few of these have been used again this year.  Some kind Nelsonians give up their homes for up to six full days of constant music making  – a couple even have grand pianos! 

St John’s is used every day as a rehearsal space, for daily masterclasses, and for the final concerts.  The School of Music Steinway lives here temporarily, so this building is popular for evening rehearsals too, especially for groups with piano.

The main venue is the Baptist centre, and we’re all grateful for their generosity in allowing our students to take over the whole building for rehearsals as well as main meals.  We use three large rehearsal spaces there – the Chapel, the hall (which is also the dining room, with an excellent kitchen attached), another large room also with piano, and for smaller groups, or individual practice there’s the creche.

The Baptist Centre is not available during the day on Sundays, so then we’ve been able to use the NMIT Student Centre which has a cafeteria for us to serve lunches, as well as rehearsal spaces.  The cafe is also used for the final formal dinner & the fun supper which follows the second concert.

Students at the 2015 Adam Summer School

Students at the 2015 Adam Summer School with tutors from the New Zealand String Quartet and pianist Diedre Irons

As usual the tutors are NZ String Quartet members Helene Pohl, Doug Beilman, Gillian Ansell & Rolf Gjelsten, with pianist Diedre Irons. 

Here’s a list of the groups and music worked on this year :

  • Piano Trio No2, Op70 by Dmitri Shostakovich, played by Anna Lee, violin, her brother Dominic, the cellist and our first Australian attendee at the school – pianist Maree Kilpatrick from Queensland
  • Piano Trio No2, Op70 by Sergei Rachmaninov, played by Rachel Twyman, violin, Francis Yoon, cello, and Siyu Sun, piano
  • String Quartet No6 in F minor, Op80 by Felix Mendelssohn played by Sophie Tarrant-Matthews & Matt Cook, violins, Grant Baker, viola, and Olivia Wilding, cello.  This group also played the Mendelssohn slow movement in the Baptist Centre during the Sunday service – as a mark of the school’s appreciation to them for sharing their beautiful building with us.
  • String Quartet in F by Maurice Ravel played by Tabea Squire and Justin Chuk, violins, Aidan Verity, violi, and Joanna Pinto, cello
  • Viola Quintet in C, K515 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, played by Claudia Tarrant-Matthews & Grace McKenzie, violins, Jamie Oemcke & Caroline Norman, violas, & Caitlin Morris, cello
  • Piano Quartet in C minor, Opus 60 by Johannes Brahms played by Alex Geary, violin, Martin Qi, viola, Lavinnia Rae, cello & Amy Ga Hee Lee, piano
  • ‘Metamorphosen’ Septet (1945) by Richard Strauss, played by Annabel Drummond & Laura Barton, violins, Alexa Thomson & Vincent Hardaker, violas, Anna-Marie Alloway & Jack Hobbs, cellos, and Louis van der Mespel, double bass.

Students come from all over NZ, and this year ages range from 14 to 25.  One student has been at each of the five schools I’ve managed, several have been at four of them.  There’ve been a few siblings attending, – Dominic & Anna Lee, Claudia & Sophie Tarrant-Matthews have been to three & two schools respectively, and the Baker family have been represented at all five – Felicity at my first, Julian at four, & for Grant this is his second school, & he tells me he’ll be back next year.

I have been School Manager five times, and although I’ve enjoyed the challenge immensely, this is my last school, but I expect to become a volunteer in the future.  Without my wonderful set of helpers I could never have managed the workload.  Helpers range from drivers, ushers, home-lenders, poster & flyer distributors, my husband Michael who’s kept the home fires burning throughout, made countless trips to the airport, delivered students to new venues, introducing them to their hosts & sorting out key access, & washed a lot of dishes.  But the star has been Maggi John without whose help I wouldn’t have lasted this long.  For four years Maggi has helped with just about every dinner service, often creating desserts & significantly supervising each evening’s dishes roster (students do one day each, in groups of four).

Underpinning the school’s continuing success from my point of view are the staff at Kudos Food Design, our wonderful caterers under the leadership of Kylie Carter-Rangi.  Every day filling & tasty food arrives on the dot for lunch & dinner, always enthusiastically received by students.  The other king-pin to success is the Tasman Bay Backpackers who lend us their van for the duration of the school, & who take no casual boarders for the time we’re there, using a group of Wwoofers to do maintainence then. The managers Ulli & Henk-Jan for whom nothing is ever any trouble, are good friends to us all. 

The new school chaperone Annabelle Laing has fitted in so well, and there’s always been great support from the NZ String Quartet Trust administrator Suzanne Callam who manages the school from the Wellington end, sorting out all the bookings, printing, & other vital background stuff.

Having just come home from the two finale concerts I believe that the standard of this year’s performances was the highest I’ve experienced.  The future of NZ music is in very sound hands.


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