The Puertas Quartet, comprising of couples from the New Zealand and London Symphony Orchestras will present string quartet works in the next Hunter Concert on Thursday 5 May.
Presented by the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) the concert will include works by Haydn, Zemlinsky and Beethoven. In recognition of New Zealand Music Month, the concert will also include a short work by Kiwi composer, Keith Statham, whose music the quartet will soon be recording.
The Puertas Quartet is comprised of NZSO new principal cello Andrew Joyce and his violist wife Julia McCarthy. They are joined by their friends and colleagues from the UK Tom Norris and Ellie Fagg. Tom is Co-Principal Second Violin with the London Symphony Orchestra and Ellie is on trial with the LSO as violinist.
"We formed the Puertas Quartet in 2009 for a one-off recital but enjoyed playing quartets together so much that we decided to continue performing as an ensemble," says Andrew.
Within six months of forming they reached the semi-finals of the International Bordeaux String Quartet Competition—the only British quartet to do so.
In 2004 Julia McCarthy was leader of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, and followed this with a highly successful tour with John Chen (piano) for Chamber Music New Zealand in 2005 and 2007. She moved to the UK in 2005 to further her studies and met Andrew when he joined her string quartet.
The Puertas Quartet is the third quartet that Julia and Andrew have played in together.
"There's something so special when things 'click' in a quartet and we have definitely found that with Tom and Ellie," says Julia, who has returned to New Zealand to trial as NZSO viola section principal—a change for the onetime violinist.
"Since switching more permanently to the viola I have loved my new role in the quartet and had great experiences touring all over the world with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London as a member of the viola section."
"There are obvious challenges to maintaining a performing relationship from opposite sides of the world," says Tom, “but the rewards of playing great music together make the distance seem much smaller.” Ellie and Tom already have plans for return visits to the antipodes for quartet tours in both 2012 and 2013.
The Hunter Series Concert will take place in the Hunter Council Chamber of Victoria University Wellington, the second of nine concerts being hosted by NZSM this year in the historic Hunter Building.
Adults $15, Couples $20, Concessions (Students / Seniors) $10
Seating is limited : tickets can be purchased online through Eventfinder.
More information is available from http://www.nzsm.ac.nz/events/hunter-recital-series.aspx