For the third year in a row, a Dio octet has taken away the National Statham award at the NZ Chamber Music Finals. We take a look at the groups success.
A Dio octet has yet again won the Award for Best Performance of a New Zealand Work at the New Zealand Chamber Music Finals. This is the third year running the Diocesan School for Girls’ entry has scored the highest marks in the country for the Best Performance of a New Zealand work and taken home the trophy.
The octet performed at the National Finals in Wellington on 1st- 2nd August, as the demonstration group alongside 12 other national finalists. Cantus Bellorum consists of Rebecca Brimble, bassoon, Melissa Tsoi, percussion, Debbie King, viola, Claudia Bridger, saxophone, Breeanah McBain, flute, Rachel Sun, clarinet, Clarissa Wei, bass clarinet and Hope Whitehead, voice/narrator.
The octet gave the premiere performance of this haunting New Zealand work Invocation, written to commemorate Gallipoli and expressing the futility of war. The journey began in February, when Diocesan’s Performing Arts Director Shelagh Thomson commissioned Auckland composer Anthony Young to write the piece.
“This has been an amazing journey for our students; they’ve worked hard, pushing boundaries as young musicians and learning to take ownership of this challenging contemporary work. They gave a winning performance at the Michael Fowler Centre and it is an incredible achievement to be the recipients of this National Award once again"
Bassoonist Rebecca Brimble was a double winner on the night, as she was part of the group Alquemie, who went home with a National Silver Award for their performance of the Poulenc trio. Alquemie consists of Brimble, Bassoon, Christine Li, piano, (Dio), and Noah Rudd, oboe, (Western Springs College).
Each year Diocesan’s octet members have changed, but Brimble holds the prestigious position of being the only student to have been part of the winning Diocesan octet for the last three years. Five other members of Cantus Bellorum have twice been in the winning group.
Competition at the Annual NZCT Chamber Music Contest, celebrating its 50th Jubilee this year, is fierce. Semi-finalists are selected following two gruelling rounds of competitions throughout June, including Regional Finals held at Auckland (hosted this year at Diocesan School) Napier and Christchurch. Only 12 groups were chosen to play at the prestigious National Finals out of the original 472 groups competing.
The Diocesan students were thrilled to be performing alongside the brightest and best of New Zealand’s young musicians at the National Finals.
Rebecca Brimble says, “It was amazing, exhausting, exhilarating. Playing at the Finals was a great honour.”