One of the Competition’s core objectives is to showcase the breadth and depth of talent here in New Zealand. We proudly place our Competitors alongside New Zealand’s wonderful artists.
Gillian Ansell, New Zealand – Viola
Gillian Ansell, born in Auckland, made her concerto debut as a violinist with the Auckland Philharmonia at the age of 16. At 19, an Associated Board Scholarship took her to the Royal College of Music in London for 3 years to study violin, viola and piano. She then won a German Academic Exchange (DAAD) scholarship for further study in Germany at the Musikhochschule Cologne with Igor Ozim and the Amadeus Quartet.
After working professionally in London for three years she returned to New Zealand to become a founding member of the New Zealand String Quartet in 1987. She was second violinist for two years before taking up the position of violist of the group, a position she holds to this day. With the NZSQ, she has toured NZ and the world, performing all the major quartet and quintet repertoire.
Since 1991, she has taught viola, violin and chamber music at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, where the NZSQ is Ensemble-in-Residence.
In 2001 she became Artistic Director, with fellow quartet member Helene Pohl, of the Adam Chamber Music Festival, New Zealand’s pre-eminent classical music festival, which takes place biennially in Nelson.
In 2008 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her outstanding services to music in New Zealand. In her spare time, Gillian enjoys books and movies, gardening and tramping.
Giordano Bellincampi, Denmark – Conductor
Giordano Bellincampi is the Music Director of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, General Music Director of the Duisburg Philharmonic and Chief Conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. Born in Italy and moving to Copenhagen at a young age, Maestro Bellincampi began his career as a trombonist with the Royal Danish Orchestra before making his professional conducting debut in 1994. Previously, he was the Principal Conductor of I Pomeriggi Musicali, Milan, General Music Director of the Danish National Opera from 2005- 2013, Music Director of the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra from 2000-2006 and between 1997-2000 he was Chief Conductor of the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, the leading contemporary ensemble in Denmark.
Highlights of his 2015/16 calendar included his opening performances as Music Director of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, with major works including Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and a concert performance of Verdi’s Otello, as well as further performances with the Duisburg Philharmonic, including a highly-acclaimed visit to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Hall performing repertoire by Nielsen, Sibelius and Beethoven, and performances of major works including Bruckner’s Fourth and Mahler’s Third symphonies.
Giordano Bellincampi’s 2016/17 season in Kristiansand and Auckland has a strong focus on the symphonies of Brahms, Schubert and Nielsen, vibrant orchestral showpieces such as Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and the tone poems of Richard Strauss, and a concert performance in Auckland of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. He has excelled in the ﬁeld of opera since making his debut with the Royal Opera in Copenhagen with La Boheme in 2000. Maestro Bellincampi has conducted many of the great Italian works at the Royal Opera with particular focus on Puccini and Verdi, including leading their acclaimed new production of Aida at the opening of their new theatre in 2005.
As Associate Professor at the Royal Danish Academy, Giordano Bellincampi is dedicated to educating the next generation of orchestral musicians and conductors, and he also regularly gives masterclasses and serves as a jury member for international conducting competitions. In 2010 he was created a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog, an award bestowed by the Danish Royal Family for services to Danish culture. He also holds the title of Cavaliere from the President of Italy for his international promotion of Italian music.
Ashley Brown, New Zealand – Cello
New Zealand-born cellist Ashley Brown won the Young Musicians Competition, the National Concerto Competition and a Young Achievers Award. He also won prizes at the Adam International Cello Competition, Gisborne International Music Competition and the ROSL Music Competition in London. After graduating Master of Music from Canterbury with teacher Alexander Ivashkin, Ashley gained the Artist Diploma at Yale University under Aldo Parisot, and took further lessons in London with William Pleeth. While living in America and England Ashley gained valuable experience there and throughout Europe in cello competitions and masterclasses, orchestras and chamber groups, as well as solo recitals.
He returned to New Zealand in 1999 to become the cellist of the Turnovsky Trio, and artist in residence at the University of Waikato. During his three years there he was also Cello Lecturer at the Universities of Waikato and Canterbury. Ashley then moved to Auckland to take up the position of Principal Cellist in the Auckland Philharmonia and, in 2002, founded NZTrio with violinist Justine Cormack and pianist Sarah Watkins.
In 2004 NZTrio became the first Ensemble in Residence at the University of Auckland. There, Ashley was Senior Lecturer in Cello. Since the end of that five-year residency, NZTrio has become an independent institution with a busy schedule of local and international concerts and recordings. It is described as a powerful advocate for chamber music old and new – “a national treasure”.
Alongside his work with NZTrio, Ashley presents solo recitals, concertos, ensemble performances and a variety of recording projects. He enjoys collaborating with musicians across the spectrum of musical genres, having worked closely with composers such as Victoria Kelly, Jack Body, Phil Dadson, David Downes, Samuel Holloway, Michael Norris and Gillian Whitehead, and also with songwriters such as Mark de Clive-Lowe, Sean Donnelly, Neil Finn, King Kapisi, Don McGlashan, Moana Maniapoto, Anika Moa and Bic Runga. He recently completed a six-year doctoral research project into the collaborative relationship between performer and composer, and was inducted as a Doctor of Musical Arts by the University of Auckland.
Justine Cormack, New Zealand – Violin
A staunch advocate for the enormous creativity that exists within the arts community of New Zealand, Justine actively supports and promotes this creative wealth both here in NZ and internationally. From 2002 to mid-2017, as a founding member and violinist of NZTrio, she was instrumental in the commissioning and performing of close to 40 works from NZ composers, proudly showcasing these compositions within the trio’s diverse programmes on the world stage. NZTrio also struck up an inspiring relationship with NZ’s ‘avant-garde’ luxury fashion house WORLD, and Justine continues to collaborate with them, proudly wearing their bold, colourful and witty clothing.
An active recording artist, she regularly guests as Concertmaster, and is a sought after adjudicator for competitions and tertiary exams. Some recent highlights have been her involvement on the first four international judging panels of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, and the highly acclaimed release of a Douglas Lilburn Duos recording with pianist Michael Houstoun.
Justine’s notable orchestral career saw her appointed to NZSO Sub-Principal 1st-Violin in the 1990’s, followed by Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia from 2000-2004, where she was regularly featured as soloist.
A graduate of the University of Canterbury, Justine has a Masters degree from San Francisco Conservatory and a Doctoral degree from Stony Brook in New York. She has taught violin at Wellington’s Victoria University and held a position as Violin Lecturer at The University of Auckland.
Justine feels fortunate to play an 1868 J.B.Vuillaume violin.
Julia Joyce, New Zealand – Viola
Julia Joyce has been Principal Viola of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra since 2011. Born in Wellington, she completed a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours at Victoria University in 2004, before heading to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama of London in 2005 for postgraduate study. Julia completed a Masters Degree in Violin/Viola Performance with Distinction at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2007 with teachers David Takeno and Alexander Zemtsov. At the Guildhall, Julia’s quartet were the winners of the Guildhall String Quartet Competition in 2006 and she was the Viola finalist in the 2009 Guildhall Wigmore Hall recital competition.
Julia and her husband Andrew formed the Puertas Quartet in 2009 and reached the semi-finals at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition 2010. They since have made 2 CD recordings and have also toured New Zealand three times.
Whilst a student in London, Julia played with the Britten Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras before being appointed to the Philharmonia Orchestra viola section 2010, with whom she toured Japan, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Turkey and the Canary Islands, performed at Windsor Castle and Buckingham palace and around the UK. In October 2011 she was appointed to Principal Viola of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and is now based in Wellington, New Zealand. She plays a fine Italian viola made by Emilio Rossi in 1926.
Jian Liu, New Zealand – Piano
Jian Liu has been gaining reputation as a well sought-after solo pianist, chamber musician, and educator across the globe. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. His artistry has been taking him to some of the most prestigious concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall in New York, Rose Hall of Lincoln Center, Sprague Hall and Woolsey Hall of Yale University, and Paul Hall of Julliard School, and as a featured soloist with orchestras including Symphony Orchestra of National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and Yale Philharmonia, among others.
Jian has also been a prize-winner at Horowitz (Ukraine) and Missouri Southern (USA) international competitions and has performed at Auckland (New Zealand), Idyllwild (USA), Beijing (China), Lausanne (Switzerland), and Krakow (Poland) music festivals. Jian’s performances have been broadcast by various TV and radio stations including KPHO public radio, CCTV (China), Suisse Romande Radio, Krakow Radio, and Radio New Zealand.
As a dedicated and enthusiastic chamber musician, Jian is the founding pianist of Te Kōkī Trio, the resident trio at New Zealand School of Music, and the trio has appeared on various chamber series in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Jian has also performed as a guest pianist with some of the world-class musicians, including cellist Jian Wang, clarinetist David Shifrin, flutist Ransom Wilson, Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Alexandre Lecarme, violinist Sarita Kwok, and pianist Boris Berman and Maria João Pires.
As a passionate performer, Jian is equally committed to education. Jian have served for four years on the faculty of the Yale Department of Music, and he is currently the Programme Leader of Classical Performance and Head of Piano Studies at New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington, as well as the honorary piano professor at Qingdao University in China. He has also taught master classes and lectures at the Central Conservatory of Music, Tianjin Conservatory of Music, and Xiamen University (China), Wellesley College and East Carolina University (USA), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (Singapore), Krakow Academy of Music (Poland) and Sydney Conservatorium, among others. Jian studied with Professor Jin Zhang from Central Conservatory in Beijing for six years, then with Dr. Caio Pagano at Arizona State University for eight years. He holds Master of Music, Doctor and Master of Musical Arts degrees from Yale School of Music, where he was a student of Professor Claude Frank.
Karlo Margetić, New Zealand – Composer
Karlo Margetić (b.1987) holds degrees in composition and clarinet from the New Zealand School of Music. He is Composer in Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Karlo has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the 2013 SOUNZ Contemporary Award (for ‘Lightbox’), the NZSO/Todd Young Composer Award (2006). In 2013 he was a Composer Fellow at the Intimacy of Creativity Composition Workshop at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Karlo has received commissions and performances from a wide variety of soloists and groups including NZTrio, New Zealand String Quartet, STROMA, Michael Houstoun, Claire Edwardes, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and Wellington Youth Orchestra. He was Composer-in-Residence with Orchestra Wellington in 2014, with the NZSO National Youth Orchestra in 2007 and was Young Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2007 and 2008. An active performer, Karlo is Co-Director of the SMP Ensemble, and has appeared with them as composer, clarinettist, conductor and narrator.
Sarah Watkins, New Zealand – Piano
Sarah is a founding member of NZTrio, a group widely recognized as one of New Zealand’s most dynamic and indispensable music ensembles, bringing bold and eclectic performances to audiences around the world.
Her lifelong passion for accompanying and chamber music has led to an impressive career in the US and New Zealand, where she is highly sought after as a collaborative pianist, recording artist, and ensemble musician. She has been an official pianist for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition since its inception in 2001, has performed as a freelance player in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared as concerto soloist with St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, ACO, and the APO. In 2014 Sarah recorded Chris Watson’s “sing songs self” for solo piano and orchestra with the NZSO, a composition which was awarded the prestigious 2015 SOUNZ Contemporary Award.
Sarah is a graduate of the University of Canterbury (NZ) and the Juilliard School in New York City, where she earned both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in collaborative piano. While living in the US, Sarah worked as a staff pianist at Juilliard, Yale University, and the Aspen Music Festival. Among academic highlights was her work as coordinator of the collaborative piano program at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and several years on the music faculty of Purchase College, New York. During the period 2004-2009 NZTrio was ensemble in residence at the University of Auckland, where Sarah also taught collaborative piano and chamber music.
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, New Zealand – Orchestra
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is New Zealand’s full-time professional Metropolitan orchestra, serving the country’s largest and most vibrant city with a comprehensive programme of concerts and education and outreach activities.
In more than 50 mainstage performances annually, the APO presents a full season of symphonic work showcasing many of the world’s finest classical musicians. Recent high-profile artists include Vladimir Ashkenazy, violinists Ning Feng and Noah Bendix-Balgley, pianist Cédric Tiberghien and cellists Li-Wei Qin and Julian Steckel. Leading international artists in 2017 include composer/conductor Tan Dun, violinists Alina Ibragimova and Chloë Hanslip, pianists Kathryn Stott and Behzod Abduraimov, and cellist Torleif Thedéen. We are also delighted to welcome back conductors Rumon Gamba and Andrew Gourlay, among others, to complement the presence of APO Music Director Giordano Bellincampi.
The APO is proud to support both New Zealand Opera and the Royal New Zealand
Ballet in their Auckland performances, as well as working in partnership with Auckland
Arts Festival, the New Zealand International Film Festival and the Michael Hill International
Renowned for its innovation, passion and versatility, the APO collaborates with some of New Zealand’s most inventive artists, and in 2017 the APO performs with Pop-up Globe, The Dust Palace circus theatre company, and together with Jon Toogood, Julia Deans, Laughton Kora and Anna Coddington in a concert celebrating the musical legacy of David Bowie. The APO also supports several New Zealand concert premieres in 2017, including singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and Harry Potter Live in Concert.
Through its numerous APO Connecting (education, outreach and community) initiatives the APO offers opportunities to more than 20,000 young people and adults nationwide to participate in music, ranging from hip-hop and rock to contemporary and classical. 100,000 people hear the orchestra live each year, with many thousands more reached through special events, live streams, recordings and other media.