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Preview: Upbeat with Eva Radich

RNZ: Upbeat

What's going on in the world of music and the arts? We talk to musicians, composers, choreographers, dancers, actors, directors and artists.


Contentious car park studio

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

The strained relationship between the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand School of Dance didn’t affect Wellington City Council’s decision for relocating the national ballet company. The Council has cancelled its plan to upgrade Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre to accommodate the RNZB while its home in the St James Theatre is being earthquake strengthened next year.  WCC’s Richard McLean explains why the Council will spend $2.5 million on a temporary ballet studio on the Michael Fowler Centre car park instead.

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What is New Zealand Music?

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:40:00 +1300

VUP has published a new book:  Searches for Tradition: Essay on New Zealand Music, Past and Present, edited by Michael Brown and Samantha Owens.  The book covers a huge range of perspectives about what “tradition” means in the NZ music context, with chapters on the evolution of Jazz, Classical, Colonial and Māori music. At its heart is the search for an intrinsically New Zealand music that Douglas Lilburn was so anxious to establish.  Editors Michael Brown and Samantha Owens discuss the book and its scope and whether Lilburn’s search for tradition has come to pass.

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University of Waikato confirms Music Job Losses

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:20:00 +1300

The University of Waikato has confirmed job cuts in its Music School. The university underwent three rounds of consultation throughout the year, with the number of fulltime positions finalised recently. Upbeat has been told pre-enrolments for many areas within Music are up… so why the cuts to full time jobs? Acting Dean of the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Allison Kirkman explains more

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"The very model of complete 21st century musicians"

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Piano duo Anderson and Roe are motivated by their passion to make classical music a relevant force in today's society. Greg and Elizabeth play with an explosive energy on a single keyboard. They have a global audience of listeners watching their music-films and videos on social media. Greg and Elizabeth discuss their Chamber Music New Zealand tour in March where they pair Bernstein and The Beatles, Gluck and John Adams, Stravinsky and Leonard Cohen with some tango thrown to complete the experience.

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Behind Handel’s Messiah

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:37:00 +1300

Hundreds of years after its creation, Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is still a treasured part of the annual musical calendar. Clarissa Dunn explores some of the many ways Handel’s masterpiece has been performed from its triumphant Dublin premiere to a Grammy Award-winning gospel reinterpretation.

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The real people benefiting from charity concerts

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:20:00 +1300

Counsel in Concert is a group of lawyers and friends who perform a big charity concert at the end of the year for the Child Cancer Foundation. Oboist Merran Cooke is one of the founders of the annual Christmas concerts. Fifteen year old Lara Cooke has spent one third of her life battling cancer on and off. She talks about how the Foundation has helped along the way.

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New scholarship to study link of dance and dementia

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:45:00 +1300

A new Scholarship to research dance and dementia has been established. The Lady Rosemary Buchanan Dance Scholarship is named after the high-profile Kiwi Expat and will encourage and support a PhD student in the Dance Studies programme at the University of Auckland. Associate Professor Ralph Buck explains why it's needed.

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Beyond the Bars

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:30:00 +1300

In the past five years New Zealand’s female prison population has almost quadrupled to nearly 800. The new minister for Corrections, Kelvin Davis pledged to reduce the prison population by 30 percent in the next 15 years. New initiatives have been introduced to help grow skills. One such initiative is a joint venture between Corrections and the Royal New Zealand Ballet at Arohata Women’s Prison. Producer Zoe George goes beyond the bars.

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Simon O’Neill at the top of his game

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

  New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill has performed and recorded his first Siegfried, after multiple appearances as Siegmund in Wagner’s demanding Ring Cycle.  The new Siegfried recording has just been released by Naxos, and Simon is already receiving good reviews for his performance with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He talks about his hectic calendar, working with people like Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim, and his long hours travelling so he can also spend time being a Dad in Auckland.

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Gifted Kiwi artist wins major award

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:40:00 +1300

Talented sculptor turned potter Andrea du Chatenier has won the Portage Ceramic Award’s Gildagergarrd Residency for her work Untitled (Yellow Stack). Andrea discusses why she’s taken a different direction in her art, her winning piece, and where she’s heading for her residency.

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Titanic live!

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:20:00 +1300

The music from the award winning film Titanic is coming to life in Auckland next year. Conductor Neil Thomson along with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and North Shore Children’s Choir is bringing Titanic Live to the Civic Theatre in January. 2018 marks 20 years the film’s initial release. Thomson explains why the score is so powerful and how performing it live with the film is attracting a new audience to orchestral performance.

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Southern Messiah welcomes Madeleine Pierard

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Tonight the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, and the City Choir Dunedin will perform Messiah, with soprano Madeleine Pierard. She, along with conducted by David Burchell reflect on 2017 and look ahead to the festive season and the New Year.

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A glimpse into composer’s creativity

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:40:00 +1300

Kiwi composer Claire Cowan’s year has been full of praise. Her commission for NZ Trio was featured on their Tui winning Classical Album of the year. Claire’s ensemble Blackbird also gained applause for its concert performing the music of Bjork, arranged by Cowan for her genre defying group. She speaks to Clarissa Dunn about her creative process and working with other talented New Zealand artists.

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Medical professionals and students play for a good cause

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:20:00 +1300

This is the season for giving, and that’s exactly what a group of musicians and students from various medical backgrounds are coming together to do. The concert Semblemande, will give classical music to the crowds in Auckland and Hamilton and will donate the proceeds to St Vincent de Paul. Concert co-founder cellist Catherine Kwak on the repertoire and the importance of giving.

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Review: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

It’s that time of year again when Handel’s Messiah is performed everywhere. The NZSO set the ball rolling with their Wellington performance conducted by Brett Weymark with three Australian soloists and the Orpheus Choir. Peter Mechen was in the crowd.

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Kiwi wins major arts award

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:42:00 +1300

A New Zealand artist has won the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture 2017. Upbeat’s Australian correspondent Vincent O’Donnell sits down with Melbourne based Aucklander Daniel von Sturmer, whose work is installed in the plaza adjacent to Flinders Station in Melbourne.

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2018 preview: Christopher’s Classics

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:25:00 +1300

Christopher’s Classics in Christchurch has hosted two of reviewer Tony Ryan’s top concerts for 2017. Today he looks ahead to what chamber music delights Christopher Moore has programmed for next season. There are several new ensembles including Villani Piano Quartet and Behn String Quartet along with those he already knows and loves.

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“Electrifying” performer adds voice to Messiah

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Australian Soprano Celeste Lazarenko, known for her “electrifying” performances, is adding her voice to this year’s New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Messiah with the Orpheus Choir. The Guildhall trained opera singer explains why Messiah is important to her, what she’s learned travelling the world, and how crucial it is for a professional singer to develop a good sense of humour.

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Whales inspire Todd Young Composer

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:45:00 +1300

The deep sea sounds of whales was the inspiration of the 2017 Todd Young Composer Competition winner Daniel Sun. His piece Nga Aria o Tangaroa offers a textured musical experience for the audience. He explains his inspiration, what it was like being mentored by Sir James McMillan, and what winning the title means for his future.

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Spending the Festive season with Moses MacKay

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:25:00 +1300

Love it or hate it, Christmas music is everywhere this time of year. And it seems Sol3 Mio love Christmas, and the public love their new Christmas themed album. A Very Merry Christmas, which launched a couple of weeks ago and has already gone gold, features a uniquely Pacific flavour that only Moses Mackay and Pene and Amitai Pati can bring. Baritone Moses Mackay tries to convince a self-confessed Christmas Grinch, producer Zoe George that spending the festive season with Sol3 Mio is the way to go.

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Nelson School of Music set to reopen with new Director

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

The Nelson School of Music is gearing up for its reopening next year with the appointment of a new director.  The School Trust Board has appointed Auckland Grammar HOD Music James Donaldson who will take up the position in mid-January with the restored iconic building due to open in April.  James grew up in Christchurch, studied cello there and in Manchester where he gained a Master of Music degree.  He also has experience in choral conducting and music technology. 

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Art for the Summer

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:35:00 +1300

Not too sure what to do to keep your brain stimulated this summer? Suite Gallery’s David Alsop has compiled a list of not-to-be-missed exhibitions on around the country over the warmer months, including Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room at Auckland Art Gallery.

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Mozart and Puccini end Bach Musica anniversary season on a high

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:10:00 +1300

Bach Musica end their festive 40th anniversary season with Puccini’s Italian Messa di Gloria and Mozart’s Concerto for flute and harp this weekend. Award winning international Flautist Luca Manghi and acclaimed Kiwi harpist Ingrid Bauer will bring Mozart to life. 

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PM expresses 'concern' over ballet reports

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:30:00 +1300

The Prime Minister and Arts Minister Jacinda Ardern says she's concerned about reports that the publicly funded national dance company, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, will not include any of this year's graduates from the New Zealand School of Dance.

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Review: Orchestra Wellington The Rite of Spring

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:40:00 +1300

Orchestra Wellington closed its 2017 season with Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Conducted by Marc Taddei the Orchestra offered up a dramatic performance that pleased the crowd. Peter Mechen was at the Michael Fowler Centre on the weekend. He discusses if this was the perfect way to end the year.

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Pop Up Globe pops up over summer

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:15:00 +1300

Women take centre stage for the Pop Up Globe’s third season, which starts on Thursday. Five plays – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Comedy of Errors, Julius Caesar and Macbeth – will entertain the crowds over summer.  Pop-up Globe CEO, artistic director and founder Dr Miles Gregory will direct a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors. Kiwi composer and musician Paul McLaney adds the score to Shakespeare this summer.

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Ministry for Culture and Heritage on reported RNZB Crisis

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Is the Royal New Zealand Ballet in crisis? CEO of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Paul James discusses reports into the state of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the number of New Zealanders involved in the organisation and whether the RNZB Board should be accountable.

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Variety is the spice of life for Orchestra Wellington

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 13:20:00 +1300

Orchestra Wellington has gone for variety in 2018 with a Dvorak Symphony cycle, Verdi’s Requiem, concertos by Mozart, Britten and Bartok, new works by Composers in Residence Michael Norris and Gao Ping as well as collaborations with Sol3 Mio and Te Vaka next season. Musical Director Marc Taddei explains why they’ve kept the line up a secret, the importance of shaking things up and who will be guest appearing with the orchestra next year.

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First Kiwi to win the Gisborne international music competition in twelve years

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

For the first time in twelve years the Gisborne International Music Competition has been won by a New Zealander:  Auckland violist Alexander McFarlane takes away the $10,000 top prize. It’s also the first time a violist has ever won the competition.   The runner-up was clarinetist Oliver Shermacher from Sydney and third place went to violinist Hahnsol Kim from New York.  Alexander MacFarlane is 22 and in the second year of studies at the Guildhall in London.

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Judges want competitors to tell the story through music

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:40:00 +1300

The judges at the Gisborne International Music Competition are hoping those competing in the final round this weekend communicate a story through their music. Juror Robin Wilson is one of Australia’s leading pedagogues and teaches violin at the Australian National Academy of Music. He explains the importance of keeping an open mind and choosing the right repertoire.

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Seacliff: The Demise of Ward 5

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:20:00 +1300

The dramatic true story of the 1942 fire at Seacliff Mental Hospital comes to Te Papa next week. The musical, Seacliff: Demise of Ward 5 was written by New Zealand’s Got Talent winner Renee Maurice. Thirty seven women were killed in the blaze which was the worst in the country’s history until the Ballantyne’s fire. Next week is the 75th anniversary of the fire, and the musical is being accompanied by an exhibition about Seacliff.

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Carol Advent Calendar for Festive Season

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Today RNZ Concert is the first radio station in the world to broadcast a new carol by top British composer John Rutter. It’s one of 25 carols being released in the lead up to Christmas. The carols are performed by professional vocal consort ORA run by UK choral conductor and educator Suzi Digby who’s been leading a choral explosion in England.

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Crossover hit from the 70s resurfaces

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 13:20:00 +1300

US pianist Steve Barta is hoping to interest a New Zealand orchestra in his arrangement of Claude Bolling's 1975 orchestral crossover hit: Suite for Flute & Jazz Piano. Barta is a composer and arranger from Texas who’s always had a passion for the flute. In his new arrangement he’s worked with leading US flutist Hubert Laws to breathe new life into Bolling’s orchestral suite which spent 530 weeks in the classical charts and spawned the term “crossover”.

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Lucy Lawless: 'I’m more of an activist than an artist'

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Lucy Lawless is outspoken. She talks art, activism, sexual misconduct in Hollywood, the Hobbit Law and what she wants her legacy to be, with RNZ Concert's Zoe George.  

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Sax and pedal steel duo deliver 'mind-melting' improvisation to NZ audiences

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:23:00 +1300

With a sound ranging from sensual to sleazy and a volume range from mind-melting to gentle, improvisational duo Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh have a charismatic and striking dynamic of polarities that come together in a unique sonic collaboration.

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Top musicians struggle to keep composed

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 13:30:00 +1300

Orchestral percussionist John Beder is among the 98 percent of professional classical musicians who suffer from performance anxiety. He talks to Zoe George about the problem, which he explores in the documentary Composed.

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Kiwi composer cleans up at choral competitions

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Auckland composer Chris Artley is winning choral composition competitions. He’s just won the first Leeds Philharmonic Christmas Carol Competition for his carol Christmas Bells. And he was also First Prize Winner of the Freudig Singers of Western New York Choral Composition Competition this year. Chris is originally from Leeds but has made his home in Auckland where he teaches music at King’s College.

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HIV in the spotlight at Puawai Festival

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 13:30:00 +1300

The Puawai Festival is helping bring awareness and reduce the stigma of HIV through performance, education, song and laughter. It’s been a labour of love for Jane Bruning, the National Coordinator for Positive Women, and Borni Te Rongopai Tikiwaho, who discuss the week-long festival which started yesterday and features open and frank discussions, workshops and a cabaret show. The Festival is timed to coincide with World AIDS Day this Friday 1st December.

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Pears returns home with French flair

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Violinist Fiona Pears returns to Christchurch for her first major concert since 2011. Her last big gig there was three days before the February 22nd earthquake when she played the Isaac Theatre Royal. And although she’s been playing at smaller venues in her home town, she’s back in front of a bigger crowd this week. Fiona brings to life virtuoso violinist Stephane Grappelli’s most loved works to mark 20 years since his death.

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The reality of reality TV – the musical

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:50:00 +1300

Reality TV shows become a musical reality for kiwi composer Chris Williams. The Quest pokes fun at reality talent shows, taking the audience backstage to experience what it’s really like fighting for survival on the show, the struggle the contestants face and how they present differently in front of the camera. 22 original songs make up the score, with Nick Braae musically directing the show that opens in Hamilton this week.

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Ice skating inspires Todd Young Composer

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:30:00 +1300

The image of an ice skater inspired the opening oscillation of the strings for Ice, Kirsten Strom’s addition to this year’s Todd Young Composer Awards. The artist, poet, street performer and young composer draws inspiration from travels, and finds beauty in the science of sound. Her piece was selected as the Orchestra’s Choice at the competition last week. She speaks to Clarissa Dunn about her creative process and working with James McMillian.

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Global tour for Voices NZ

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Voices NZ is this country’s leading professional chamber choir and in 2018 they’re taking their talent on tour to top locations in England and Europe. They’ll also make a special trip to Canada where they will perform Victoria Kelly’s The Unusual Silence on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day in Toronto. Chief Executive of Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand Arne Hermann explains the importance of treating those at home and abroad to the Kiwi voice.

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Resound 5 - Environmentalist composer sings the praises of NZ birds

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:45:00 +1300

When composer Rod Biss heard the main nesting grounds of one of New Zealand’s most endangered birds was under imminent threat of being developed into dozens of expensive houses and a golf course, he decided to do something about it. He contacted his old friend, the poet Denys Trussell, also an environmentalist and musician, and together they produced the Four New Zealand Bird Songs, singing the praises of the tara-iti (New Zealand Fairy Tern), pukeko and karearea (New Zealand Falcon). Kenneth Young introduces Rod Biss’s Four New Zealand Bird Songs ahead of the full episode of Resound on Sound Lounge.

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Lankum takes activism-infused Irish music to a new audience

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:25:00 +1300

Irish music holds a special place in many of our hearts, and is growing in popularity with new, young audiences in the UK, Europe and America.  Lankum is an Irish band formerly known as Lynched, who sing about poverty, depression and social cruelty in the free and independent Irish Republic. Their album Between The Earth And The Sky has just been released by Rough Trade Records. RNZ Music’s Trevor Reekie talks to founding member of Lankum, Ian Lynch, about how Irish traditional music is rapidly crossing over to a new young audience and developing a growing respect.

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Young jazz vocalist brings back scat

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Young jazz vocalist Lauren Nottingham features on pianist Mark Donlon’s latest album Shadowbird and the two are touring the country with drummer Dexter Stanley-Tauvao and bassist Chris Beernink to show off their new stuff. As well as traditional jazz singing Lauren also loves to scat on nonsensical  improvised vocal sounds instead of words. She talks to Eva Radich about her scatting idol, how she deals with nerves on stage, and how getting her performances pulled apart and critiqued made her a stronger performer.

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Westie who ran away to join the circus has returned

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:30:00 +1300

West Auckland born Rosita Hendry is touring the country as part of contemporary  French Canadian company  Cirque Éloize. Rosita has had a very fast route to top level performance after seeing a show in Auckland and realizing circus combined all her skills as an acrobat, dancer and musician. After a year at circus school in Melbourne,  she auditioned  for the world’s top circus training school  in Montreal. Straight after graduating in June this year she was in Cirque de Soleil and is now in Cirkopolis  for Cirque Éloize.   [image:133392:full]

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Stealing the show with Mother Superior

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Musical theatre legend Helen Medlyn doesn’t set out to steal the show, but in the past few years she’s landed the parts that shine in the spotlight. Most have a vile edge – but this time she’s breaking the habit by wearing one. Medlyn plays Mother Superior in Sister Act:The Musical opening this week in Auckland. She speaks with Zoe George about nuns, owning the character and of course how to steal the show. [image:133374:full]

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A Piece Of You

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:45:00 +1300

What do you sound like? Greg Sinclair is a Scottish cellist and performance artist who specialises in children’s theatre. In A Piece For You Greg takes participants through a questionnaire, and creates a solo cello work for each individual audience member. Shaun D Wilson and his friend Denise Garland went to Greg’s show at the Edinburgh Book Festival and discuss how he made works for each of them.

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Rewriting the Writers Festival

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

The Wellington Writers Festival has a new leader – former RNZer Mark Cubey, who is adding his flair, knowledge and insight to the biannual event. He takes us through the major themes and authors coming to visit in 2018 and chooses a soundtrack to get us thinking.

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Jubilation for Jubilate Singers

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

  Christchurch’s Jubilate Singers are celebrating their 40th anniversary in style. Present and former choir members will perform some of their favourite works including songs by Durufle, Monteverdi, Brahms and Eric Whitacre. Musical Director Sue Densem and former musical director John Pattison talk about the choir’s long history, the importance of celebrating, and how singing brings joy.

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Parmenter returns with large scale dance opera

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Acclaimed New Zealand choreographer Michael Parmenter is bringing the myth of Greek hero Orpheus alive with the New Zealand Dance Company. OrphEus explores the relationship between music and movement in personal and political environments. It is being developed for both New Zealand Festival and Auckland Arts Festival. Parmenter explains the creative process, what a “movement choir” is and how Australian baroque ensemble Latitude 37 and four opera singers are incorporated into the dance.

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'Every day I think my audience has given me my life'

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:10:00 +1300

In his last ever interview New Zealand’s most revered pianist answers your questions. Michael Houstoun tells us about his life behind the keys, whether his hands are insured, what his favourite (and not so favourite) pieces are, what his advice is to the next generation and what he’s going to do now.

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Auckland Uni Trio takes ROSL title

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Korimako Trio from the University of Auckland has won the 2017 Pettman ROSL Scholarship. The trio of Diane Huh, violin, Tahee Kim, cello, and Modi Deng, piano took top honours at this year’s final concert on Saturday night at the Piano in Christchurch. Director of ROSL Arts, Geoff Parkin discusses the competition.

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