There’s good news for the classical music sector today, as two events originally tailored as COVID pivots will be added to the events calendar on a permanent basis, alongside Nova Scotia’s most prestigious international music competition. Zealand, the former biennial Michael Hill International Violin Competition (MHIVC).
New Whakatipu Music Festival has seen great success in 2021 and 2022 respectively, both in terms of providing opportunities for young New Zealand musicians and boosting ‘cultural tourism’ to the South Island. It was born out of the need to boost Queenstown’s economy and provide a focal point for New Zealand musicians – a goal to rehearse and perform – after months of lockdown. Leading New Zealand musicians Stephen De Pledge and Madeleine Pierard, among others, performed and mentored a cohort of emerging high-performance Kiwi musicians, many of whom were back home due to COVID, instead of studying at the stranger, as they usually would.
Expanding beyond classical to jazz, songwriting and taonga puoro in 2022, the Whakatipu Music Festival offers local community musicians and their teachers and leaders an important platform for performance and professional development opportunities. Its innovative Training Ground program (paid apprentices) has already proven to elevate the capabilities of the region’s events sector.
Scheduled for 2021 but postponed to February 2022, the Trust also presented the country’s inaugural ceremony National String Competition alongside the prestigious Lewis Eady Charitable Trust National Piano Competition, bringing together the country’s finest young string instrumentalists and pianists in a high-stakes competitive environment.
“When COVID abruptly shut down the world in 2020, our thoughts immediately turned to all of the violinists who have competed, collaborated and judged over the past twenty years of The Michael Hill. The pandemic has been a slap in the throat for all performers, but cruelly, it’s the cutting edge of the profession’s musicians who have paid the highest price. No longer able to travel for concerts, festivals, studies, auditions and competitions, it is the top musicians who have lost critical years,” says Anne Rodda, chief executive of the MHIVC Trust.
“With New Zealand’s international borders closed, the MHIVC Trust and the Hill family have reflected on their 20-year history of success and responded by giving back to the Queenstown community which has been affected by the loss of tourists. and to New Zealand musicians whose career paths and livelihoods have been devastated,
“The initiatives we have developed over this period – the Whakatipu Music Festival, the National String Competition and our growing bank of instruments* – have been met with great appreciation, so we are delighted to to have developed a mechanism by which we can prosecute them all,” Rodda said.
Each event will now take place every three years, respectively, starting with the return of MHIVC in June 2023, followed by the MHIVC Winners Tour and National String Competition in 2024, and then the Whakatipu Music Festival in 2025.
The allocation of resources to Aotearoa was a bold move for the Trust and was made possible by the generous and significant support of the Hill family. To better reflect this commitment and mahi, the MHIVC Trust will be renamed The Hill Family Foundation for Art and Music.
More information about the 2023 Michael Hill International Violin Competition will be released soon.
For more information, please visit www.michaelhillviolincompetition.co.nz
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