Adam Festival School Wrap Up: Strong Bonds and Laughing Fits

Cellist, Lavinnia Rae.

Cellist, Lavinnia Rae.

Regular chamber music blogger and cellist Lavinnia Rae, was at the 2015 Adam Chamber Music Festival Summer School which School Manager Annette Monti recently blogged about. We thought there’s no better way to finish off the Ten Days of Chamber Music Festival blogging than by hearing from the very ‘sound hands’ that the future of NZ chamber music rests in…

Arriving in Nelson for my third year at the Adam Summer School I had high expectations, and of course those expectations were met yet again. I was definitely excited to be back in my hometown Nelson, a place I don’t get to see as much nowadays. Knowing that I was to be playing the Brahm’s C minor piano quartet with three great friends of mine was also greatly reassuring. The first day that we arrived was basically to settle in as newcomers and returning students, beginning with the final concert of the Adam Chamber Music Festival. The concert ended with a well deserved standing ovation and us students eager to start practising the following day. 

Lavinnia and her ensemble enjoying time together in Nelson.

Lavinnia and her ensemble enjoying time together in Nelson.

The first day of rehearsing I’ve found is usually a bit worrying once it’s complete as it is very hard to see how you’re going to improve from barely keeping the notes together as a group but it always works out after many hours by the end. This year was the most I had practised throughout the week with my group. Our days would end when we got back to the hostel just hitting 11pm, much to the other groups surprise. As tiring as it sounds and was we did honestly enjoy the long days together and seemed to have an overwhelming amount of quartet banter. It’s one of the things I really love about chamber music, that you form really strong bonds with your fellow musicians and end up having multiple laughing fits. We also managed to borrow the Nelson Museum’s piano and busk on the street for Valentine’s Day whilst the big Market Day was on. We ended up making enough money to buy matching quartet keychains now attached to our bags and instrument cases.


Busking on Valentine's Day thanks to the Museum's colourful piano

Busking on Valentine’s Day thanks to the Museum’s colourful piano

Working with the New Zealand String Quartet and Diedre Irons was amazing, and every year I continue to learn more and more from them as well and become musically inspired. They are incredible musicians with so much knowledge and I’d like to thank them for their hard work coaching and organising the summer school. We really thrive off how committed they are. 


Lavinnia performs Brahm’s C minor piano quartet with her three friends.

After a week of intensive rehearsing we all finally sounded well prepared for the two Sunday concerts. My group was placed second out of three groups in the 8pm concert, a place I also had last year when I played Arensky’s piano trio. Leading up to this point I was definitely nervous about doing justice to the third movement of the Brahm’s, given that it has a big and beautiful cello solo. From the moment we stepped on stage and sat down I felt at ease and excited to share the music we fell in love with during the week. After the final chord we could relax and smile for the audience to take our appreciative bows. In the end I was beaming because of how myself and my group had played. It felt as though our hard work had actually paid off, one of the best feelings for a musician. 

Although I’m sad to have left Nelson for now, I cannot wait to return for another year of intense music making and fun with my friends and the brilliant coaches. 



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