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Experience a distinctive feature of Martinborough Music Festival

April 10, 2018 April 2018 No Comments

28-30 September

An astonishing statistic of this year’s Festival is that there is some 200 years collective playing experience between the six musicians. Yes, that’s right. These musicians began learning to play their instruments during their preschool years. They are all in demand for their performance skills.

Canadian born pianist, Diedre Irons, began tinkling away on the piano when she was three years old. Following formal lessons, Ms Irons made her debut as a soloist with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra playing the Schumann Concerto in A Minor. She was 12 years old.

After her graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Ms Irons was in demand as a soloist, in concert, as a recitalist and as a member of renowned chamber ensembles. In 1977, she came to New Zealand and established herself as one of our distinguished performing musicians. In 1989, she was awarded an MBE and in 2011, an ONZM for services to music.

While Ms Irons has done a lot of solo work over her long career, being a chamber music pianist is her first love. When she was 20 she decided that playing in chamber music ensembles would be a prominent part of her performance repertoire “the thrill of preparing one’s part in a duo, trio, quartet or quintet then meeting for the first time to rehearse with the other musicians has never faded for me”.

Of Ms Irons chamber music piano-playing, she has been described as  “ a joy;  bright –toned, and with plenty of tumbling warmth in her phrasing, bringing that vital spark of energy which often sets performances alight”. On a personal note, Ms Irons says “I’ve wanted for decades to play with Wilma [Smith]-we first met in 1977 and this will be the first time. I can’t wait”. And nor can we.

On opening night, Diedre Irons will be playing Brahms B Major Piano Trio No 1, Op 8. She will also accompany Wilma Smith (Violin) and Matthias Balzat (Cello) when they play their respective sonatas. Full programme on www.martinboroughmusicfestival.co.nz

Winifred Bull

Photo caption: Diedre Irons

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