400 years ago – before the birth of Bach, Vivaldi, or Handel – the renowned instrument-maker Nicolò Amati crafted an exquisite viola in his Italian workshop. Is this marvellous Amati viola now the oldest string instrument in New Zealand? The New Zealand String Quartet believe so!
Now played by the New Zealand String Quartet’s violist, Gillian Ansell, the ensemble will give two concerts in Wellington and Paekakariki in November and December to celebrate this astonishingly rare instrument’s 400 years. Performing works by Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Vieuxtemps, and New Zealand composers Jack Body and Salina Fisher, join the NZSQ to experience history in action. After the concert, join the NZSQ for tea and cake to celebrate this unique occasion.
With a gloriously sweet sound, the Amati viola is a joy for Gillian to play. She explains ‘I would love to know everything about its history, who has played it and where, in which European court orchestras – maybe it was involved in the first performance of a Bach cantata, Mozart opera or a Beethoven symphony!’
The Amati viola arrived in New Zealand in 2017 and is generously loaned to the New Zealand String Quartet by the Adam Foundation.
Praised as "a quartet to match the finest anywhere" (The Australian), the New Zealand String Quartet has gained an international reputation in its 32-year history for insightful interpretations, compelling communication, and dynamic performing style. The NZSQ perform nation-wide each year and regular worldwide tours have included prestigious concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Frick Museum, and Washington’s Library of Congress. The NZSQ are Quartet-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music and have recorded extensively for Naxos.
Mozart String Quartet No. 23 in F Major, K 590: Movement 1, Allegro Moderato
Henri Vieuxtemps 'Capriccio' for solo viola
Beethoven String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: Movement 1, Allegretto
Salina Fisher, 'Reflect' for solo viola
Brahms String Quartet No. 3, Op. 67: Movement 3, Agitato
Beethoven String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major, Op. 74 “Harp”: Movement 2
Jack Body 'Three Transcriptions'
Beethoven String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59/3: Finale
Concert duration - 1.5 hours (no interval)
General admission - no pre-allocated seating