Les Voisin French Baroque

Upper Hutt Upper Hutt
Mon 16 Aug


836 Fergusson Dr, Upper Hutt Central

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CONCESSION Friends/Piano Club/Upper Hutt Music Society
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836 Fergusson Dr, Upper Hutt Central

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A classical trio, traversing the music of France from the tender kernel of the French Baroque, through the vibrant colours of impressionism, and into the swinging jazz Hot Club de France—with a New Zealand composer’s personal imaginings adding extra spice to the mix. Les Voisins (translated - neighbours) is a coming together of worlds, neighbours and friends.

Violinist Justine Cormack and cellist James Bush grew up next door to each other in Christchurch and have remained close friends throughout their diverse careers. Ever the innovator, Justine dedicated her energies to nurturing and promoting the best of New Zealand arts and music through her performances with NZ Trio. James on the other hand, dived in completely the opposite direction, as his fascination with the freedom and energy of baroque performance practice led him to work with many of Europe’s top baroque orchestras and ensembles.

It was there, while performing with Al Ayre Espanol that James met the Spanish theorbo player Juan Carlos de Mulder - one of the most sought after Spanish theorbists and a player that exudes musicality, warmth and positivity. The music of France throughout the centuries has always been an emotional language of tenderness, colour and verve.


Les Voisins’ theorbo player, Simon Martyn-Ellis is in New South Wales Australia, and due to the COVID-19 outbreak there, he will not be able to tour with Les Voisins on the 16 August as a part of Classical Expressions 2021. Chamber Music New Zealand has however been able to secure an excellent contingency plan with two of the three artists performing together with Sarah Watkins (piano).



Justine Cormack (violin) and James Bush (cello) will be joined by Sarah Watkins (piano), performing under the name Vieux Amis. The three performed together 25 years ago as the Miro Trio, and in various other combinations since (most notably, Justine and Sarah as part of NZTrio of course). The name also reflects the relationship to Les Voisins.



The programme responds cleverly to characteristics of the Les Voisins one but is an exquisite and potent musical statement unto itself. The first half has a strong baroque flavour with careful modern comments. We hear different combinations of instruments here, the poise and transparency setting the stage for the fullness of Shostakovich’s powerful second piano trio in the second half.


Arvo PÄRT | Für Alina, solo piano, 3’

Joh Seb BACH | Viola de Gamba Sonata in D Major, cello and piano, 18’

Arvo PÄRT | Mozart Adagio for violin, cello and piano, 6’

Joh Seb BACH | Sonata in E major for violin with continuo BWV1016, 16’


Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH | Piano Trio no 2 in E minor op 67, 28’


We are disappointed Les Voisin are unable to share with us this year but are certain this new programme will delight. We do apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to seeing you on the 16 August.