Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Mimosa Ensemble Review

New Zealand’s Got Talent, and How!

It is often said that in sport New Zealand punches above its weight. Think rowing, cycling, World Cup cricket, not to mention rugby. That this small country also punches well above its weight in medical research, IT innovation and classical music is not so frequently proclaimed.

Those who attended the chamber music concert by the Mimosa Ensemble last Sunday afternoon in the Graham Young Youth Theatre were treated to a truly outstanding demonstration of New Zealand musical talent punching well above its weight.

The four young musicians, all barely out of their teens, have already won numerous prizes and scholarships. They more than hold their own with their European and UK contemporaries.

The Fabulous Four, Somi Kim, piano, Hugh Roberts, flute, Thomas Hutchinson, oboe, and Todd Gibson-Cornish, bassoon, are already fully-fledged virtuosi. They all possess outstanding instrumental techniques, wonderful ranges of tone colours and the rare ability to make genuinely difficult music sound easy. Moreover they are all good to look at, and play with a truly infectious enthusiasm.

All serious young Bay of Plenty musicians should have been compelled to attend, if only to discover what is possible.

The programme comprised largely unfamiliar music, Bizet and Rachmaninov being the only well-known names. Dutilleux, and Poulenc from twentieth century France, Genzmer from twentieth century Germany, and two New Zealand composers, Philip Norman and Salina Fisher, completed the composers’ list.

Fittingly, New Zealand composers bookended the programme. First up was the delightfully imaginative Birthday Music for solo flute by Philip Norman, and the concert concluded with the lovely dream-like reflective Unfinished Portrait by Salina Fisher. Here all four musicians contributed gentle subtle evocative tone colours, which shimmered and constantly changed.

In between, the audience was treated to an endless display of dazzling brilliance, but never for its own sake, nor at the expense of the music. The sheer vitality and exuberance of youth blazed gloriously in fast movements, which allowed for wonderful contrasts in the quieter movements. Mimosa is truly a group of equals. Collectively and individually they deserve the highest praise for the quality of their music-making.

Full marks to the Tauranga Chamber Music Society for selecting this programme. Aucklanders were not so fortunate.

Gordon Skinner
(Formerly Principal Bassoon, NZSO)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Double Reed Festival

Application forms are now available

Click here to apply online now

Guest artists: 

Ben Opie
Ben Opie is a musician whose talents extend across the entire repertoire for oboe and beyond. He has performed in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, North America and Australia as a soloist, collaborative and an orchestral musician. His work across the globe has earned him multiple awards and recognitions in music.

Ben’s collaborative efforts have led him to work with radio producer Gretchen Miller on her Radio National documentary: The Ariadne Project and with award winning poet, Cecilia White on their “Breathing Space” series. He was also an artist at the inaugural Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music 2013 as well as developing the Argonauts Academy at the festival in 2014.  Ben is also co-artistic director of Inventi Ensemble, they have presented at Melbourne  Children’s Week, Melbourne Knowledge Week and Melbourne Music Week 2014 among many others. This ensemble is dedicated to the development of new music and making music accessible to everyone.

Ben has released his debut CD of French Sonatas with pianist, Peter de Jager and has been performing this repertoire around Australia including a sold out performance in Adelaide’s Elder Hall.
In addition to performing with most of Australia’s national orchestras, Ben has adjudicated at the MRC’s Bach Competition, tutored at the AYO’s Young Symphonists Music Camp and regularly performs with the nations symphony orchestras. He is dedicated to commissioning new works for oboe and is always looking for new ways to push the boundaries of the oboe. For more information visit or

Zoey Pepper
Zoey Pepper is a graduate of the Australian National University's School of Music, with a Bachelor of Music in 2000 and a Master of Music Performance in 2008.

Zoey spent her first 30 years in Canberra immersed in art, theatre, music, daydreaming, cooking and winter snow sports. She began her love-affair with the bassoon in high school and ultimately chose it as her study path, although the choice was closely contended by dreams of a career in visual art, singing or ski-instructing. 

Zoey was a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra the Canberra Youth Orchestra, and later a member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, with whom she held chair-sponsorship and also appeared as guest soloist.  She also spent 5 years full-time as a bassoonist and singer in the illustrious Band of the Royal Military College. 

Zoey was a 2007 recipient of an ARTS ACT grant to commission a work by Australian composer Ian Blake for bassoon, voice and CD Entitled The River Daughter, the work tells a tale of transformation by the nymph Daphne into a tree and consists of a live bassoon part played over multi-layered tracks of haunting bassoon and Zoey's soprano voice. It was premiered in her Masters graduation recital in 2008. 

Zoey currently enjoys teaching the bassoon at various colleges in Melbourne and playing in a variety of Melbourne's best ensembles. She is also a Reservist with Army Band Melbourne. 

Membership in the ADF has allowed Zoey to reignite her serious love of alpine snow sports and downhill racing. In 2012 she competed in France with the ADF  in the British Inter-services Alpine Championships.  She was also the ADF Female Alpine Champion that year.

Zoey featured as soloist performing Elgar's  rarely performed, yet poignant Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra at Scotch College during their 2014 concert series. She also performed as encore her own arrangement, for bassoon and orchestra, of Grainger's fiery Arrival Platform Humlet.

Zoey is delighted to be a guest at the 2015 Double Reed Festival along with Ben Opie, with whom she studied in Canberra years ago!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Last year's Double Reed Weekend...

...was so much fun!
Make sure you're there this year...   Don't miss out!

Thank you to all our sponsors and organisers 
who made the weekend such a succes

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Performers' Evening 30 March 2015

Our first Performers Evening of 2015 will be held on Monday 30 March at 7:30pm at Philharmonia Hall, 427 Dominion Rd.

Tutors performing the Poulenc Trio at the Double Reed Day 2014
This is an informal, friendly, fun opportunity to practice performing! Bring along a piece you are preparing for exams or chamber music competitions, or just something you are working on in your lessons. Perfection is not necessary. Feel free to bring your own pianist or chamber group members.  

Entry for members is FREE, non-members $10.

Sign up by replying by email by Friday 27 March.  Please state what piece you wish to play when you reply.

Thanks and see you at the Performers Evening!

Chamber Music Club March 28

Saturday 28 March 2015

Time: 2- 4.30pm
Venue: St Cuthberts
Anyone can come along to our club. Simply sign up and you will be put in a group and sent some music to prepare. At the club, you will work on the music together and receive help from a professional tutor. Lots of fun! No performance involved.

Send an email if you would  like to come along and make your payment by Friday 20 March (details below).
If you would like to bring your own group including non double reed players, you are most welcome. Just bring your own music to work on. The maximum cost for a group such as this is $100 regardless of how many people, as long as one person is an NZDRS member.

NZDRS members: adults $30, school /university students, $5      
Non members: adults $35, school/university students $10
(Non members are invited to come along to one session at member's rates) 

Please make payment to NZDRS 38 9016 0011004 00 Include your name/Ch Mus Cl/Month