I’ve been to a couple of performances recently with a point of difference. Both featured concertos from fine young Auckland musicians!
Eric Scholes and NZ Barok
The first was a performance of the Dittersdorf double bass concerto No. 2 in D Major, featuring Eric Scholes, with NZ Barok. Eric was playing a double bass set up as a baroque instrument, using gut frets, and tuned in what we call scordatura – where the strings have a different tuning to the conventional one.
Eric Scholes and his baroque double bass
The tone was lovely – resonant and clear – and Eric played beautifully, and with a relaxed demeanour that belied the real virtuostic difficulties of the piece.
I’ve known Eric all his life, from his early years as a self-confessed reluctant violin student to his discovery of the bass and his developing passion for the instrument in all its forms, right through to his return from graduate studies at the prestigious US Peabody Institute.
Grace Leehan and the AUSCO
The other concert featured Grace Leehan on viola, in Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G Major. Grace graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) and is on the brink of what I’m sure will be a great career as a violist. She played with elegance and a lovely full sound that showed off her musicianship superbly.
Grace was accompanied by a new little orchestra in town, the Auckland University Student Chamber Orchestra, conducted by fellow viola player Josh Kirk. The orchestra has been set up to give university students who are not advancing in music a chance to keep on playing music together.
The orchestra is a great idea – so many students practise hard at their instruments all through school, then find themselves in musical limbo once they reach University.