From class­room to string quar­tets

The Hutt News - - OUT & ABOUT - SAFIA ARCHER

‘‘The main thing is to get cham­ber mu­si­cians into schools.’’

Imag­ine com­pos­ing your own mu­sic from scratch, or ar­rang­ing Brahms for the very first time.

Now imag­ine your work be­ing per­formed by a string quar­tet right be­fore your eyes.

That’s what Hutt Val­ley High School stu­dents ex­pe­ri­enced this week in the third and fi­nal ses­sion of their mu­sic res­i­dency pro­gramme.

Spear­headed by award­win­ning mu­sic teacher Gary Wilby, the stu­dents worked with Welling­ton’s Aroha String Quar­tet over the course of three terms to bring their no­ta­tions to life.

‘‘We started these res­i­dences in 2015 through Cham­ber Mu­sic Hutt Val­ley who have en­abled this to hap­pen.

‘‘We’ve had dif­fer­ent en­sem­bles each year and the idea is to have cham­ber mu­sic hap­pen­ing for school stu­dents but not just a con­cert.’’

Wilby says rather than have a cham­ber group just come in and per­form, the quar­tet - all mem­bers of the New Zealand Sym­phony Or­ches­tra – works with the young com­posers on their own unique pieces.

‘‘The first day was in term one and they demon­strated their in­stru­ments, dif­fer­ent tech­niques, and ways to no­tate.’’

The sec­ond term ses­sion was spent work­shop­ping cham­ber mu­sic groups and re­hears­ing in prepa­ra­tion for a na­tional mu­sic con­test.

Wilby says while stu­dent knowl­edge varies, they write to an amaz­ing level.

‘‘They write to that level be­cause they’ve got the op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘They know that they’ll write a piece and it will get per­formed be­cause we’ve or­gan­ised for that to hap­pen.’’

He says it sounds much bet­ter live than on a com­puter, and the stu­dents agree.

‘‘These tremen­dous mu­si­cians just bring the mu­sic to life very quickly, they can lift a note off the page and make it sound fan­tas­tic.’’

While some pieces have big changes made to them and some just lit­tle tweaks, they’re all pretty great Wilby says.

‘‘Some of them are a heck of a lot more in­ter­est­ing and bet­ter than you might imag­ine by just look­ing at the page.’’

As for next year, that’s fund­ing de­pen­dent as it costs a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money to keep the pro­gramme run­ning.

‘‘The main thing is to get cham­ber mu­si­cians into schools, and into the com­mu­nity more of­ten.’’

Wilby was this year’s win­ner of the Marie Van­de­wart Me­mo­rial Award in recog­ni­tion of his out­stand­ing ser­vice in fos­ter­ing the love of cham­ber mu­sic.

The Mu­sic Res­i­dency has been made pos­si­ble with grants from the Hutt Val­ley High School Past Pupils and Friends As­so­ci­a­tion, the Hutt Val­ley Or­ches­tra, and the Ro­tary Club of Pe­tone.


Welling­ton’s Aroha String Quar­tet per­form Hutt Val­ley High School stu­dents’ com­po­si­tions and ar­range­ments. Be­low from left, young com­posers Ge­orge Alex­opou­los, Aaron No­cete and Annabelle Sik.

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