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Young, Musical and Gifted

June 13, 2022 June 2022 No Comments

Martinborough Music Festival 23 – 25 September, Martinborough Town Hall

“You could say that I was listening to the cello before I was born!” says musically gifted Hutt Valley teenager Benjamin Carter. Continuing the practice of giving talented young musicians the opportunity to perform with top drawer musicians, the Martinborough Music Festival are pleased to welcome Benjamin Carter to play in their Festival. 

Benjamin, a Year 12 student at Wellington College, plays the cello and piano. His father and mother are both musicians playing the trumpet and cello respectively in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO). With a pedigree like that it is not surprising Benjamin is musical.

“I actually play three instruments” says Benjamin. “The first was the piano which I began when I was four years old, then the ukulele as soon as I went to school and the cello when I was seven”. Benjamin takes his instruments seriously and tries to allow time for them all although the piano and cello take precedence over his “uke”. 

Benjamin’s first piano teacher was his mother. Douglas Mews, Stephen De Pledge and Freddy Kempf then took the young pianist in hand for a period. His cello lessons began with Jane Young and now learns this instrument from his mother. 

Since Years 7 and 8, Benjamin has consistently won first place in music competitions playing cello and piano. In Year 9 he won the Hutt Valley Orchestra Cup awarded to the most talented player in the Hutt Valley Performing Arts competition.  The pinnacle of his success has been selection to the NZSO Young Artists Showcase. For this debut performance with the NZSO Benjamin was soloist for Greig’s Piano Concerto in A minor. You can watch Benjamin’s performance online via the NZSO website ENOTES April 2022. 

So how does he schedule his day? “My practice schedule changes every day depending on extracurricular activities. I normally try to practice piano for at least two or three hours when I get home from school and then cello for around two hours. I fit the ukulele in when I can. The balance of instruments is not actually difficult for me, instead, its balancing the instruments and schoolwork. I usually end up doing my homework from 10pm onwards”.

Benjamin plays cello in the Wellington College School Orchestra, Wellington Youth Orchestra, NZ Secondary Schools Orchestra, and the National Youth Orchestra. He enjoys chamber music groups and playing solo. Next year he will study cello and piano at Victoria University with his major being in piano performance. Annual trips to the UK to take lessons and masterclasses are in his plan during holiday breaks. Benjamin’s eventual goal is to be a concert pianist and cellist. 

Although the ukulele takes a back seat to his cello and piano interests, Benjamin plays the ukulele like you have never heard it played before. For a treat, tune into Youtube.com, Performance of the Week Benjamin Carter playing Bohemian Rhapsody by Freddie Mercury. 

As if he isn’t busy enough, Benjamin fits in mountain biking, darts, reading and philately with a special interest in NZ stamps from 1855 – 1915.  He “can’t wait for the festival” in which he will be playing cello and piano. 

The Martinborough Music Festival opens for public sales on 1 July. Earlybird bookings are available for subscribers only. Subscribe via info@martinboroughmusicfestival.co.nz

              Winifred Bull

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