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A quartet formed only five months ago has won a $50,000 international scholarship to travel and perform in the UK. The Rothko Quartet from The University of Auckland was awarded the 2012 Pettman/ROSL Arts International Scholarship from a field of 11 other ensembles.
Although recently formed, the quartet comprising Olivia Francis, Emily Bouwhuis (violins), Alex Macdonald (viola) and Cameron Stuart (cello), are no strangers to playing together – all its members have been section leaders in the Auckland Youth Orchestra and The University of Auckland Orchestra.
The judging panel was made up of members of the Leonore Trio - Benjamin Nabarro (violin), Gemma Rosefield (cello) and Timothy Horton (piano) as well as Roderick Lakin MBE, Director of Arts, Royal Over-Seas League, Euan Murdoch CEO, Chamber Music New Zealand, and Mark Walton OAM (clarinet/saxophone) and former Head of Wind/Performance Outreach at the Sydney Conservatorium.
The judges were impressed by the quality of music saying the winners performed with great vitality, musicality and commitment. Individually and collectively they felt the Rothko Quartet were at an ideal point in their professional development to take full advantage of the intensive performance and coaching opportunities which the scholarship offers.
“The Rothko Quartet were very, very polished and their choice of music was interesting and inspiring. They really captured Schnittke, which is uncompromising music, beautifully” said judge Timothy Horton.
The Pettman/ROSL Arts International Scholarship was inaugurated in 2006 by Professor Barry Pettman as an annual scholarship for a New Zealand chamber ensemble. The scholarship includes flights to and from London plus accommodation in the UK as well as £500 for each ensemble member.
While in the UK, The Rothko Quartet will perform in both London and Edinburgh, receive lessons with prominent UK-based teachers and visit major conservatoires. They will also get to participate in an international summer school as well as attend cultural events like the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival. The award provides them with a unique opportunity to travel, gain experience and develop musically.
All members of the Rothko Quartet are current students or recent graduates from the School of Music at The University of Auckland and were selected from ensembles nominated by The University of Auckland; the University of Otago, Dunedin; Victoria University of Wellington; and the University of Waikato.