Welcome to NZTrio’s Website

Every NZTrio performance is an intimate, dynamic and engaging ride - sometimes calm and tranquil, sometimes wild and intense. The group epitomises the relevance of live music in this digital age. Described as a ‘national treasure’, NZTrio often collaborates with international artists and toys with the borders between different cultures and genres. They smash old preconceptions of classical music being 'stuffy' or 'intimidating' by presenting it in a fresh, approachable and meaningful way. Listeners from all walks of life find themselves powerfully caught up in the music-making of a live performance.


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March 2015 High Notes Newsletter

CLICK HERE to read our March newsletter, launching the exciting NZTrio year ahead.





Great article about our O Cambodia tour to Cambodia and China.


After the concert, Ashley Brown spent the night in his hotel room fretting, nervously parting the curtains each time a car idled outside his window. He expected to see men in dark coats silently tread inside to take him and his band mates away. He knows it sounds silly now, but the NZTrio cellist wasn't sure the musicians would make it back from their China tour anytime soon...


Click here to READ MORE on Stuff.co.nz.




Our Next Concert

Our Music: Composer Connections for CMNZ

05 May 2015
Old St John's Church, Nelson ,Chamber Music NZ Kaleidoscopes 2015


Programme approx. 2 hours, including interval(s)


Nancarrow: Sonatina, solo piano

Ravel: Habañera, cello and piano

Webern: Four Pieces, violin and piano

Taylor: burlesques mécaniques, NZTrio Commission


Ligeti: Cello Sonata, solo cello

Ravel: Duo for violin and cello, Movements I and II

Cowan: ultra violet, New CMNZ Commission for NZTrio


Sciarrino: No. 2 from Sei Capricci, solo violin

Ligeti: Cordes à Vide, solo piano

Webern: Three Pieces, cello and piano

Margetić: Lightbox, NZTrio Commission




Nigel Zega - Otago Daily Times
23 April 2015


Classics and jazz combined last night in a happy fusion of styles and personalities as two top trios met for a master class in musicianship...It was a match made in musical heaven, gradually building an engulfing wave of sound culminating in a sonic tsunami.



William Dart - NZ Hearld
16 September 2014


NZTrio's Loft concerts have become something of a signature for the group; Aucklanders now know this is where you can experience chamber music up close and personal, with vigorous and invigorating programming...


...The highlight happened to be the most challenging work, a 1987 Second Piano Trio by the Italian Salvatore Sciarrino. While one could be seduced by the airy weave of the strings' harmonics, Watkins' increasingly manic piano interruptions created an unstoppable fury of Futurist proportions...


...Closing the concert, Watkins praised Mendelssohn's C minor Piano Trio as the greatest work in the genre. NZTrio's performance treated it as such, from the gleam of its Allegro energico e con fuoco to the fastidious restraint of its slow movement. Best of all was the Scherzo, in which the players seemed to move beyond visions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and fairy folk, to places altogether more dark and sinister.



Will Yeoman - Limelight Magazine, Australia
07 November 2013


Stuart Greenbaum - 800 Million Heartbeats - ABC Classics: NZTrio’s passionate interest in contemporary and world music makes them the ideal interpreters for Greenbaum’s eclectic music. They don’t disappoint in a series of works which deftly juggle particulars and universals.



Stephen Fisher - Manawatu Standard
13 May 2013


NZTrio performed the works with great panache and style, acute ensemble awareness and a great empathy with their music, in a performance characterised by sheer energy and vitality...deeply satisfying concert.



Celeste Oram - Craccum Magazine: The University of Auckland Student Magazine
15 April 2013


NZTrio could easily, un-facetiously be dubbed the rockstars of the New Zealand classical music scene. It’s not just that Justine Cormack (violin), Ashley Brown (cello) and Sarah Watkins (piano) are eminently marketable bright young things dressed by WORLD that earns them this plaudit: they are one of New Zealand’s top chamber groups that offers audiences some of this country’s most adventurous programming, as well as being fierce exponents of new and New Zealand music...


...Within a generally sparse and delicate texture [of Victoria Kelly's Toi Huarewa], we were at liberty to enjoy the richly colourful sounds of both the taonga puoro and the unusual noises of the piano trio which beautifully complemented the array of Maori instruments. Sometimes the trio writing imitated the sounds of the taonga puoro, although the relationship between the two moved beyond mere mimicry and developed sounds and textures that were greater than the sum of their parts.



Claire Cowan - The Big Idea
27 March 2013


...Spellbinding from start to finish, the mix of western instruments with Maori was beautifully crafted...


...I marvel at the subtle changes to technique each player makes to make their western instruments sound more Asian folk than European classical.  It is through their skillful use of articulation, vibrato and bowing that changes the tone completely...


...By the end of the show there was no doubt we had witnessed some of NZ's greatest composers and performers at the top of their game. The integrity and skill of both composers and performers was highly admirable, the music fresh and original, and for me, the show was the highlight of the festival.



Peter Mechen - Middle C online review
31 October 2012


I came away from this concert with renewed appreciation of the Trio’s compelling and wholehearted response to everything the group performs, and of the skills, energies and sensitivities the three players readily convey to their audiences – a wonderful occasion.



Faith-Ashleigh Wong - Keeping Up with NZ
25 July 2012


A cold and wet evening soon became the beginnings of a breathtaking musical journey as soon as the NZTrio’s silky orchestral sounds filled the air. Somehow magically the skies seemed to lighten and the Q Theatre’s cosy Loft studio space started to feel warmer with each passing minute...


...NZTrio is chamber music at its best. You really have to be there in order to truly experience how incredibly skilled and talented this group are. The chemistry between them is palpable; you can tell they’ve been playing together for a long time in the intuitive way they play off each other when they perform. It really is a truly remarkable sight to behold.


So do your ears a favour, go see this trio work their magic. You will come out of it feeling astounded, emotionally moved and just bloody impressed! Do not be intimidated by the fact that it is chamber music; you do not have to be a classical music enthusiast to enjoy this concert – their music is unpretentious and highly accessible. NZTrio perform their final concert of this series in October.



John Button - Dominion Post
19 March 2012


This festival-ending concert...packed a mighty punch in repertoire of ear-tingling sounds...a concert of real substance and reward, blessed with superlative playing from all concerned. None of this music is easy to play, yet everyone displayed a virtuosity that allowed the music the freedom to speak. And speak it did.