Vieux Amis

Justine Cormack, in recent years a Queensbury resident, is happily reuniting with old friends Sarah Watkins and James Bush to play the music of Bach, Part and Shostakovich at the Coronation Hall, Bannockburn, in a concert presented by Arts Central in association with Chamber Music New Zealand. 

The carefully crafted programme draws equally on the varied expertise of this trio of Aotearoa’s most accomplished chamber musicians:  James’s exquisite baroque practice with Sarah and Justine’s shared experiences with NZTrio’s modern outlook. The trio all grew up together in Christchurch, and this tour is the first time they have performed together in over 20 years.

The tour was initially ‘Les Voisins’ (The Neighbours), French music throughout the centuries, but with one player stuck in Sydney under lockdown, James and Justine ‘made lemonade’, and invited Sarah to join them. They have put together this superb musical event.

As a freelance violinist, Justine Cormack collaborates broadly as a soloist, chamber musician, guest-concertmaster and orchestral violinist. She was a founding member of NZTrio.  She was appointed to NZSO Sub-Principal 1st-Violin in the 1990’s, followed by Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia from 2000-2004. She recently released Douglas Liburn’s Piano and Violin Duos with Michael Houston. She plays on an 1868 J B Vuillaume violin.

Sarah Watkins (pianist) has an impressive career as a performer and recording artist. A founding member of NZTrio, she now enjoys a wide variety of collaborations with musicians all over Aotearoa. Official pianist for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition since its inception in 2001, she regularly appears as a freelance player in the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. She is on the staff of the University of Auckland.

Winner of the TVNZ Young Musicians Competition and the National Concerto Competition of New Zealand.

James Bush (cello) has performed as soloist with all of New Zealand’s leading orchestras. He has worked regularly in the last decade with many of Europe’s leading baroque orchestras. He plays on an 1834 Auguste Sebastian Philippe Bernardel cello.

The concert date is Thursday, 5 August, at 7.30pm in the Coronation Hall, Hall Road, Bannockburn. Tickets are available online:

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