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Chamber Music at LPHS 

Julia Kral —

Nothing brings young passionate musicians together like playing music at the Chamber Music Competition. 

The Contest is the perfect opportunity to encourage young musicians, regardless of standard or experience, to compose and to perform chamber music and strive towards excellence. This iconic musical event is held annually throughout the country in June and enables high school musicians to get a taste of the performing world. Logan Park is known for having a high participation rate in Chamber Music and there are some very strong groups that have been made through this event.

The Family Dog, (a jazz combo made up of year 13 students included singer Erica Stedman, Ava Straw on the alto sax with Henri Gaudin on the trombone, George McLaurin playing piano, Oliver Robson on bass guitar and Jasper Holloway on the drums) had great success playing jazz in a classical arena, and winning a KBB Award.

One to look out for is Cameron Monteath, a strong musician and talented composer who wrote a ‘Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano in Eb Major’. This original piece by Cameron received the Runner Up Composition award across the whole of NZ, performed in the contest by Sunken Waltz, (Grace Cunningham on flute, Rosa Miller on cello and Cameron on cello). 

Another dynamic group this year was the woodwind quintet called Augmented Fourth (a challenging line-up to assemble due to it being hard to find competent players in oboe, bassoon or horn). Congratulations to Grace Cunningham on flute, Henry Ruan on oboe, Rachael Molteno on clarinet, Kayli Taylor on the french horn and Mary Locker playing the bassoon. This group has ambitions to remain as a woodwind quintet for 2017 and compete at the Chamber Music Competition again next year.

Unfinished Sympathy (Lealia Devereux on the clarinet, Christina Barriga on the cello and Emmanuel Wong playing piano) played a beautiful piece called Avignon. Vivace and Minuet and Trio was performed by Night Flight, a group which consisted of Julie Qiyang on flute, Cassandra Muir on violin, Rose McCulloch on cello and Ben Clayton playing piano. Brace Yourself, a group made up of Cathy Zeng on violin, Rosa Miles-Seeley on cello and Reuben Bosworth on piano performed three movements from Music for Friends.

I was privileged to be able to play with a talented harpist, Rikke Kikkawa-McLeod and Pun Leelaket on cello. This group, ‘Ball of Confusion’, was very special as Rikke is the only harp player in Dunedin who owns a full sized harp and this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to play alongside her. A challenge we faced as a group was the transportation of this harp to enable practices as Mr Dodd couldn’t find the motivation to move a full sized pedal harp that weighs over 35kgs twice a week to school for us. Totally unreasonable! We easily overcame this obstacle though as we organised practices after school at Rikke’s house.

Some students formed groups with students from other schools. Rikke performed on violin with two students from Kavanagh College in a group called Trio Pennsylvania and Cameron Monteath performed in Rosecamoria on piano as a mixed group and had great success as this group came Highly Commended in the region of Otago. I also got to play in a mixed group called Conosco i miei polli on violin with another violin player from OBHS and a pianist from John McGlashan College.

Overall the Chamber Music Competition is a great occasion and one to put in your calendar for next year if you are a musician and want a fantastic learning opportunity in the performing world. The groups of this year did exceptionally well and the contest was a great success.