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Constellations over Gisborne

If he lived until mid-December, Beethoven would be 250 years old this year.

In a nod to the German genius’ birthday, the NZTrio will open their Gisborne concert next week with his Piano Trio No.1.

Accessibility is key to the NZTrio’s performances so their repertoire for Constellations is a stellar cluster of classical and contemporary classical compositions.

Among works the trio will perform in Gisborne on Tuesday as part of their “home concert” series is Erich Korngold’s Piano Trio, a work said to bear the hallmarks of his Austro-Hungarian upbringing, WW2-era immigration into America, film-music career, and Sarajevo-born, New Zealander Karlo Margetic’s Lightbox.

At least one New Zealand composition has featured in every concert throughout the NZTrio’s 17-year history.

The trio’s concerts are tailored for people who are familiar or unfamiliar with classical music. Listening notes handed out to the audience give concertgoers a sense of what to look out for in a work.

“It’s wonderful to have a synopsis, a sneak preview into what to expect and what to listen for,” says violinist Amalia Hall.

“The more you get to know a work the more you get a taste for it.

“With live music you can’t replicate the audience experience. That’s what we are about — giving that personal experience to audiences.”

Rather than perform in theatres or concert halls, the “home concert” series takes Hall, cellist Ashley Brown, and pianist Somi Kim (who this week is an accompanist/collaborative pianist for the Gisborne International Music Competition) to more intimate environments such as arts patron Jack Richard’s Wainui hilltop home.

“We also love to play in art galleries, smaller theatres and sometimes in venues like Auckland Town Hall’s concert chamber. We like to feel close to the audience. We like the audience to feel fully involved in the performance. The music fills the whole room.”

“The trio smashes outmoded preconceptions of classical music as stuffy or intimidating by presenting a fresh and approachable style that appeals to listeners from all walks of life,” says a starry-eyed media release, and music reviewers are inclined to agree.

“NZTrio’s recent concert showed that they are one of the world’s outstanding musical groups, effortlessly spanning the classical and contemporary repertoire,”said John Daly-Peoples in NZ Arts Review, while William Dart felt the adrenaline rush of “the musicians veering from storming tsunami to murmuring breezes on the turn of a phrase”.

NZTrio: Constellations, Tiromoana, 41 Winifred Street, Tuesday, December 8, 7pm. Tickets are available from eventfinda.co.nz. Adults $25+bf, students $15+bf.

CONSTELLATIONS: From storming tsunami to murmuring breezes on the turn of a phrase, to borrow reviewer William Dart’s bon mot, the NZTrio smashes outmoded preconceptions of classical music as stuffy or intimidating — as concertgoers will find when cellist Ashley Brown (left), violinist Amalia Hall, and pianist Somi Kim bring Constellations to Gisborne on Tuesday. Picture by Garth Bagde