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Wakatipu Music Festival Creates Platform for Young New Zealand Musicians

The impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to the postponement of the 20thanniversary of the world-renowned Michael Hill International Violin Competition at Queen’s Birthday weekend this year but the Wakatipu Music Festival will replace it creating a platform for young New Zealand musicians to display their talent.

Executive director Anne Rodda says the MHIVC trust felt it had a responsibility to both promising young artists and to Queenstown which is the home of the international violin competition.

“By presenting a new project of the artistic excellence with which the Michael Hill competition is synonymous we intend to give back, engage with and stimulate  leading young musicians, many of whom find themselves in New Zealand at a time when they should be performing overseas at festivals and competitions. While we can’t replicate the experiences they might have in young artists’ programmes in London and New York at least we can offer them some professional development and exposure.”

Twelve diverse Kiwi musical talents aged between 16 and 28 will take part in the festival following nationwide auditions.

“They will grow their professional skills and undertake coaching with leading New Zealand performers,” says Anne. “Public performances at the festival will be recorded and replayed on Radio New Zealand’s concert programme with syndication to the international media outlet, the Violin Channel, reinforcing that while the event is regionally based it will reach national and international audiences.”

Professional artists including NZTrio members Amalia Hall, Ashley Brown and Somi Kim, pianist Stephen De Pledge, soprano Anna Leese and clarinettist Jonathan Cohen will coach the young musicians.

“The professional artists will perform at public concerts on June 4 and 5 as part of the festival and will also coach and led workshops with local musicians. Wakatipu classical musicians and ensembles will also be showcased in the festival programme and on stage.”

The Wakatipu Music Festival is also collaborating with the Turn Up the Music Trust and the Three Lakes Cultural Trust to ensure it engages with the local music community.

A novel apprentice style programme will run in tandem with the festival to help create a professional team to spearhead arts and cultural events in the Wakatipu.

“We are working with the Three Lakes Trust and there are nine roles ranging from stage and production management to marketing and communications and each apprentice will be paired with a seasoned professional as a mentor,” she says. “The apprentices will own and deliver the presentation of the festival.”

Anne says the concept for the Wakatipu Music Festival is resonating with people all over New Zealand.

“It feels so natural to be running this festival for Kiwis and particularly staging it in Queenstown. It is not necessarily a one-off and we will be responsive to the needs of the community in the future. This is our solution for 2021 and obviously when we can return to staging an international violin event we will. But we plan to take it year on year.”