Both versatile and genre-busting, NZTrio epitomises the relevance of live music in a digital age. This group smashes preconceptions of classical music being stuffy and intimidating by engaging their listeners with intimate and dynamic performances.
Each concert is a unique experience. Mixing musical cultures and genres, and often involving collaborations with a diverse range of international artists, NZTrio inspires people of all walks of life to see classical music, both old and new as approachable, essential and meaningful.
Violinist Justine Cormack, cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Sarah Watkins first joined forces in 2002 and were Ensemble in Residence at The University of Auckland from 2004-2009. Their artistry, intensity and approachability have captivated music-lovers throughout New Zealand, Europe, Australia, Asia, South America and the US. Recent international highlights include tours to Cambodia, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, annual return tours to China and Taiwan, as well as festival concerts in London and Sydney. The trio also received rave reviews for their national performances during their 2013 10-centre Kaleidoscopes Tour for Chamber Music New Zealand and for their Loft series at Q and Art3 in art galleries around the country.
The trio actively commission works by leading New Zealand composers. Their trade-mark eclectic programmes regularly feature works by established and emerging composers, making NZTrio a driving force in the New Zealand music industry. More recently, their commitment to commissioning new music has expanded to include composers from Asia and Australia.
NZTrio regularly collaborates with leading artists from across the artistic spectrum. The trio have just returned from their 2014 6-centre China and Cambodia tour where they reunited with Tray So, a trio of Cambodian folk musicians. Together they presented O Cambodia, a collaborative performance of four works by New Zealand and Cambodian composers which had premiered at the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival. 2013 saw the trio premiering a new commission by Victoria Kelly with taongo puoro (traditional Maori instruments) at the Auckland Arts Festival. Other dynamic collaborations include performances with the New Zealand Dance Company and jazz legend Mike Nock.
In April this year, NZTrio took to the stage with theatre ensemble Massive Company to premiere My Bed My Universe, a play by Gary Henderson, adding another exciting dimension to the trio's eclectic and refreshing stage presence.
Critical acclaim for the group’s performances extends to their ever-expanding catalogue of recorded work. Their CDs have each been nominated as a finalist for Best Classical Album at the NZ Music Awards, in 2006 (Spark), 2008 (Bright Tide Moving Between), and 2010 (Flourishes). In 2011 they recorded a CD of O Cambodia followed by a significant project recording Stuart Greenbaum’s chamber music at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Both CDs were released in 2013.
Described as a ‘national treasure’, NZTrio celebrated their first decade together in 2012, and they continue to thrill both national and international audiences.