Festival Programme

Mark your diaries and plan to spend Easter weekend in Queenstown where you can immerse yourself in classical, jazz, singer-songwriting, Broadway hits and taonga pūoro with Aotearoa’s leading musicians, our exciting next generation of super stars who will one day take their place and Central Otago’s outstanding community talent.

Free and ticketed events run from 15-18 April with numerous workshops held across the region from 12 -18 April.

Please note that artists and programming is subject to change when necessary.

3:30 – 4:30pm | ABA Church

Turn Up The Music Trust Concert Band Workshop with Bridget Douglas. Bridget Douglas is principal flute of the NZ Symphony Orchestra and knows a thing or two about rehearsing and performing in a large ensemble.

Open to students of TUMT Concert band and any music teacher that wants to learn more about conducting and running large ensemble rehearsals. Register here.

4:00 – 6:00pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre

Open Violin Class with Robin Wilson. Robin Wilson makes a rare trip back to New Zealand from Melbourne where he is the head of violin at the prestigious Australian National Academy of Music.

For upper string students and their teacher.  In an intimate and informal setting, attendees are given the opportunity to engage, participate and/or observe the session, as they gain experience and knowledge from a world class musician.

Bring your instrument along. Register here

5:00 – 6:00pm | David Reid Show Home 

David Reid Homes – Experience the New

David Reid Homes invites you to visit their Show Home in Hanley’s Farm. 40 Jack Hanley Drive, Hanley’s Farm. 

Enjoy hearing from Whakatipu Music Festival Young Artists as you take a look around and gain inspiration for your future. Register here.

For more information visit David Reid Homes.

7:00 – 9:00pm | Coronation Hall, Bannockburn

Central Otago Regional Orchestra coaching sessions. Principal players of the NZSO, flautist Bridget Douglas and cellist Andrew Joyce work with CORO ensembles. 

For members of CORO.

Primary School Visits | St Josephs, Te Kura Whakatipu o Kawarau

Festival Young Artists go back to school!  Sharing their music with local primary students and their teachers.

4:00 – 6:00pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre Foyer

Open woodwind class with Bridget Douglas. Bridget is the NZSO’s principal flautist as well as a sought-after teacher and coach. 

In an intimate and informal setting, attendees are given the opportunity to engage, participate and/or observe the session, as they gain experience and knowledge from a world class musician.

Bring your instrument along. Register here.

4:00 – 6:00pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre Stage

Open piano class with Stephen De Pledge. Stephen is one of New Zealand’s popular and highly-regarded piano soloists and pedagogues. He’s also a dad and loves working with kids.

In an intimate and informal setting, attendees are given the opportunity to engage, participate and/or observe the session, as they gain experience and knowledge from a world class musician.

Register here.

7:00 – 9:00pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre

Piano Masterclass with Stephen De Pledge. Stephen maintains a large teaching studio at the University of Auckland where he is faculty as well as teaching several of New Zealand’s young artists.

Stephen will be coaching three festival young artist pianists in an open lesson which can be attended by music teachers and students that want to observe a ‘master’ at work.

Register here.

Secondary Schools Visits | Wakatipu High School, Mt Aspiring College and Dunstan High School

Creators Ruby Solly and Lucy Mulgan talk about writing music; Sopranos Madeleine Pierard and Clare Hood are legitimate divas recently back in NZ from living and working in London; Jazz bassist Phil Boniface works with secondary students interested in jazz.

Taonga Puoro artist Ariana Takao introduces students to Māori instruments.

7:30pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | Festival Opening Concert

Proudly sponsored by Craigs Investment Partners

Tararua | Al Fraser, Ariana Tikao, Ruby Solly and Phil Boniface 

Tararua’ (meaning ‘two peaks’), connects whakapapa, from mountains in both North and South Islands, this contemporary New Zealand art music weaves the voices of Aoraki, the tūrakawaewae (tribal home) of Ruby Solly and Ariana Tikao, winding through South Island raised, Wellington-based artist Al Fraser, and merging into Phil Boniface’s birthplace and connection with the Tararua ranges.

This evocative music combines taonga pūoro, waiata, karakia and pūrākau (story) with a strong southern Māori influence, with the western instrumental elements of the cello and doublebass. The ensemble is made up of four established artists who are each leaders in their various fields.


Dale Gold Sandbox Quartet | Dale Gold, Louis Coopman, Matt Wilson and Sam Ross

The Dale Gold Sandbox Quartet presents an eclectic mix of experiences and sounds. Heavy metal, blues, top ten disco hit, country and EDM, the quartet combines all influences with a good dose of funk to keep all those toes tapping. The spontaneity from the group excites all listeners, from those afraid of a bit of jazz to devotees who will be counting the 11/8 bars.

10:30am | Hotel St Moritz

Public Talk – Understanding Taonga Pūoro

Hotel St Moritz,  1/10 Brunswick Street

Tararua members, Alistair Fraser, and Ariana Tikao discuss the origins of taonga pūoro specific to the Central Otago region.

$26 Breakfast special at Hotel St Moritz for guests of the Festival. Register here.


12:30pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | COMMUNITY SHOWCASE

TUMT Concert Band | Queenstown Music School 

With a mix of woodwind, brass and percussion, Queenstown Music School presents the Turn up the Music Concert Band – Turn up the Wind. Led by Iraja Max with members from local primary schools, this is a lively mix of musical styles from across the globe.

Local Singer/Songwriters | Billie Carey & Matilda Metcalfe

Billie Carey is singer/songwriter from Wakatipu High School, who has been writing and composing from the age of 7. She won first place in the 2021 Youthtown competition, received the David Richwhite lyric award in the same competition and has been a finalist in the Lion Foundation songwriting competition. Her style is indie-pop, drawing inspiration from artists such as Taylor Swift, Howard Shore, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen. Over the last two years Billie has been building her experience in recording studios, producing her own music, and preparing for a career in film scoring.

Matilda Metcalfe was a 2021 Play it Strange National Finalist and has spent the last few months refining songs for her debut EP release. Matilda draws inspiration from New Zealand artists such as Kimbra and enjoys collaborating with students and musicians in the Wanaka community.

Solo Singers from The Singers Workshop Singing Academy, Queenstown

Although not a starting point for many young singers anymore, the benefit of studying the classical form is all about discipline and technique.  The singers featured are all studying with Margaret O’Hanlon, who formed The Singers Workshop in 1995.  A firm believer in the benefits of tone and control gained from learning classical songs, Margaret insists that classical songs should always be performed in their original language. The singers featured are all beginners to classical music.

Emma Gardner
Bach/Gounod,  Ave Maria  and Puccini,  O Mio Bambino, Caro

Violet Hirst
Verdi, Taceo La Notte Placida

Tallulah Penitito
Traditional, Panis Angelica

Footloose Showcase | Wakatipu High School

Wakatipu High School presents this year’s school production, Footloose. While the production has been postponed until Term 3, the cast has been working hard to get the show together this term. The production boasts over 80 talented students involved in all facets of the production from lighting and sound through to band, choreography, costume, makeup and more. Grab the opportunity to sneak a peek at this total performing arts experience. 


1:30 – 2:30pm |  Starkwhite Gallery

Starkwhite Gallery, 1-7 Earl Street

Public Talk – Magic At The Edges

Magic At The Edges – “Creativity does not happen inside people’s heads, but in the interaction between a person’s thoughts and a sociocultural context,” affirmed psychologist and writer Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Join celebrated New Zealand artist John Reynolds and Starkwhite Queenstown director Kelly Carmichael for a light hearted talk exploring the nature of the creative process in all its twisting, turning, turbulent glory across mediums, times, and cultures.

Register here.


3pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | YOUNG ARTIST RECITALS 

Six beautifully crafted recitals from the next generation of home-grown talent. 

Shuan Liu | Piano 

Chopin, Polonaise-fantasie in A-flat major, Op 61

Gluck/Sgambati:  Melody from Orfeo ed Euridice

Medtner, Fairy Tales, Op 26, No 1 and 2

Scriabin, Vers la Flamme

Chopin’s Polonaise Fantasie is a piece defined by its conflict in nature: a blend of dreamscape and polonaise. Next, Medtner’s depictions of Russian folklore are brought to life by the bel canto lines and frothy textures in Nos 1 and 2 of his Op 26 Fairy Tales. The programme ends with a healthy dose of ecstasy and existentialism. Vers la Flamme (‘towards the flame’) reflects Scriabin’s belief that a constant accumulation of heat would bring about the end of the world.

April Ju | Violin with Jessica Chi | Piano

Bach, Sonata No 1 in G minor, BWV 1001, Adagio and Fugue

Beethoven, Romance in F major, Op 50 

Saint-Saëns, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, Op 28

Johann Sebastian Bach’s six sonatas and partitas are some of the most well-known works in the violin repertoire. The Adagio begins with a sweeping four-note chordal call, which later develops into sonorous and poignant melodies. Succeeded by the Fuga, this movement incorporates various textures and contrapuntal devices, all of which are intertwined with the same melody.  Beethoven’s Romance in F contrasts the Kreisler, with the presence of sweet, song-like melodies. Finally, Saint Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso takes us on an exciting and thrilling journey. The work incorporates Spanish Waltz themes, with subjects of extroversion and dazzle also present. The likes of “flying staccato” and virtuosic runs complement this brilliant and technically demanding work.

Otis Prescott-Mason | Piano 

Schumann Arabeske in C major, Op 18

Chopin Ballade No 2 in F major, Op 38

Scriabin Sonata No 4 in F-sharp major, Op 30

A lyrical masterpiece in miniature, Schumann’s gorgeous Arabeske is full of expression.  The work was written in 1839 and is in rondo form, meaning that we hear the opening section, called the refrain, three times throughout the piece.  After each occurence of the refrain is a contrasting section, called an episode. Chopin’s second Ballade will follow Schumann’s Arabeske.  Chopin in fact dedicated this Ballade to Schumann.  The work has two starkly contrasting themes:  The first, peacefully meandering, in the pastoral key of F major.  The second, relentlessly driving, in A minor.  The first character gently opens the work before the second character suddenly interrupts the serenity.  After some development, an epic climax seems to finish the piece; however, the first theme returns to end the Ballade in sad resignation.  The recital will end with Scriabin’s fourth Piano Sonata. Composed in 1903, this work is in two movements and is an important step for the young composer, away from conventional harmony and into his own unique world of expressivity, from mysticism, to ecstasy.


Clare Hood | Soprano with Jessica Chi | Piano

Donizetti, Chacun le sait (La fille du régiment)

Vaughan Williams, The Vagabond and Let Beauty Awake from Songs of Travel

Sibelius, Lasse liten and Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte from Fem sånger, Op 27

Rodrigo, Con qué la lavaré? and De los álamos vengo, madre from Cuatro madrigales amatorios

R Strauss, Ständchen and Nur Mut! from 6 Lieder, Op 17
Vaughan Williams, I Have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope from Songs of Travel

Nur mut, or, ‘courage’ is both the penultimate piece and the inspiration that unites a poignant selection of works by celebrated 19th and 20th century composers. From Sibelius’s haunting “Fem sånger” to Vaughan William’s popular “Songs of Travel”, this concert explores daring, audacity, fortitude, gallantry, and resolve in the face of danger, disapproval, and disavowal.

Stefenie Pickston | Clarinet with Shuan Liu | Piano

Carter, Gra for Solo Clarinet

Weber, Grand Duo Concertante, Op 48

Gra was written in 1993 as a tribute to Carter’s friend Witold Lutosawski for his 80th birthday. The title translates to ‘play’ or ‘game’ in Polish, as the work contains many changing playful characters that dialogue with one another throughout. Extended techniques are also incorporated into the work.

A virtuosic piece for both the clarinet and piano, Weber’s Grand Duo Concertante was likely composed for he and his good friend Heinrich Baermann as a showcase work. The first movement is fiery and colourful, followed by a melancholic second movement, and finishes with a fast and brilliant third movement. 

Peter Gjelsten | Violin with Otis Prescott-Mason | Piano

Paganini, Caprice Op 1, No 23

Ross Harris, Incantation (premiere)

Mozart, Concerto for Violin in D major, No 4, K218, Allegro

Saint-Saëns, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, Op 28

Paganini’s 23rd Caprice in E flat major, a piece full of life and vigor, opens this programme with a bang. Next, Peter premiers a piece generously written for him by NZ composer Ross Harris – it is full of darkness and uncertainty. Mozart’s Concerto No 4 in D major brings out Mozart’s liveliness and humour. Last on my programme is. Dedicated to Pablo Sarasate, a virtuoso violinist of the 19th century,  Saint Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is full of fun and fire, and challenges the violinist with many different techniques


7:30pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | FESTIVAL ARTISTS CONCERT

Robin Wilson (Violin), Andrew Joyce (Cello), Bridget Douglas (Flute), Madeleine Pierard (Soprano) and Stephen De Pledge (Piano).

As our New Zealand audiences’ start to dream again about exotic travel destinations, our Festival artists bring us a whirlwind trip around the world to provide some inspiration. From the robust dances of Bartók’s Hungary to the exotic sun-soaked songs of Ravel, the music takes us through emotional landscapes and vistas. The combination of voice, flute, violin, cello and piano create a whole world of colours, from the English elegance of Haydn to the Russian sumptuousness of Rachmaninoff.  It is exciting to have a world premiere, Bougainvillea, which was written to raise funds to build a library in Bougainville, a project organised by writer of ‘Mister Pip’, Lloyd Jones.

Haydn, Trio in D major, Hob XV:16 

Whitehead, Bougainvillea (World Premiere) 

Ravel, Chansons Madécassess (‘Madagascan Songs’), Nahandove, Aoua!, Il est doux


Bartók (arr S De Pledge),Hungarian Peasant Dances 

Bartók, Romanian Folk Dances, Sz 56 Joc cu bâtǎ, Brâul, Pê-loc, Buciumeana, Poargǎ româneascǎ, Mǎrunţel

Rachmaninoff (arr S De Pledge), Romances Op 4,  Do Not Sing, My Beauty, Oh Thou, My Field


In the spirit of generosity and acknowledging the glorious music written for Easter, many of the Festival’s professional and young artists are playing for Easter Sunday services at ABA Church and St Peter’s Anglican Church.  


12:30pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | COMMUNITY SHOWCASE

WASABI | Japanese Choir Conducted by Masaki Nakazawa

There is a large Japanese community in Queenstown, with members being a part of the community for over 30 years. The Japanese Choir was formed in 2017 and has been a great way to bring together the Japanese community in Queenstown. Practices are held at each others’ houses and tea, baking & lots of chatting are prerequisites. They also have a ukulele group, and often incorporate the Sanshin, a 3-stringed traditional instrument from Japan’s southern tropical islands of Okinawa. The choir sings Japanese songs and the members strive to teach their children about their Japanese heritage. 

Piano Students of Kinga Krupa Music

Classical piano students who study with Kinga Krupa share their music with the local community on a regular basis through concerts, shows and other events.  

Aspiring Chamber Ensemble

ACE (Aspiring Chamber Ensemble) consists of five Central Otago Musicians (flute, violin, viola, cello and piano) mostly based in Wanaka. They combine their talents to perform a number of duo, trio and quartet chamber works primarily based around the piano.

West Side Story Project | The Singers Workshop Academy – arranged by Margaret O’Hanlon

The Singers Workshop Academy is a newly developed 2-3 year programme developed for students who wish to excel at singing.   This year we tackle Leonard Bernstein’s classic West Side Story which is achieving new recognition with Spielberg’s remake for the big screen.


3pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | YOUNG ARTIST RECITALS

More incredible recitals from our talented young artists.

Cecile McNeill | Viola with Stephen De Pledge | Piano

Vieuxtemps, Capriccio in C minor, Op 55, (Hommage à Paganini)

Hindemith, Sonata for Solo Viola, Op 11 No 5, Lebhaft, aber nicht geeilt, Mäßig schnell, mit viel Wärme vorgetragen 

Enescu, Konzertstück for Viola and Piano

Artley, An Anzac Reflection for Viola and Piano

Starting off with the harsh, modernist extremities of Paul Hindemith’s Op 11, No 5 solo sonata, the Capriccio: Hommage à Paganini by Henri Vieuxtemps provides a deeply romantic and sorrowful contrast. Chris Artley’s An Anzac Reflection is a soulful, 21st century reimagination of the last post, and Enescu’s Concertstück shows off the various colours of the viola with a brilliant display of intensity and lyricism.

KiHei Lee | Violin with Shuan Liu | Piano

Debussy, Violin Sonata in G minor, L140

Whitehead, Torua

Zarzycki, Mazurka No 1 in G major, Op 26

This collection of pieces written for violin and piano starts with Claude Debussy’s final composition which he described as an interesting documentary of a “product by a sick man in time of war”. Next, Gillian Whitehead’s Tōrua documents the time of the Christchurch earthquake within the beautifully-expressed meaning of the Māori word, Tōrua. Then finally, an exciting Mazurka by Polish composer, Aleksander Zarzycki.

Jessica Chi | Piano

Beethoven, Piano Sonata No 21 in C major, Op 53 (Waldstein), Allegro con brio

Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody No 10 in E major, S244/10

Prokofiev, Vision Fugitives, Op 22, Andante and Feroce 

Beethoven’s famous Waldstein sonata was written for his patron and friend, Count Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein of Vienna.  Liszt invokes strong folks music style in his Hungarian Rhapsody and Prokofiev portrays two fugitives.  rhapsody in strong folk music style and two fugitives.  Works from three different periods represent a journey through Classical, Romantic and Modern periods and a collision between different human emotions.


Hazuki Katsukawa | Violin with Stephen De Pledge | Piano

Bach,  Sonata No 2 in A minor, BWV1003,  Grave and Allegro

Messiaen, Theme and Variations

Kreisler,  Recitative and Scherzo, Op 6

Messiaen wrote this piece as a wedding gift for his first wife who was a violinist in 1932 and they played together for its premiere. 

Recitativo and Scherzo by Kreisler is said to be dedicated to Ysaÿe, also the representative composer of the time, to show his appreciation to their friendship. 

Zephyr Wills | Viola with Otis Prescott-Mason | Piano

Bach, Suite for Solo Cello No 3, Prelude

Schumann,  Märchenbilder (“Fairy Tales”) Op 113, Nicht schnell and Langsam, mit melancholischem Ausdruck  

Schubert, Arpeggione Sonata, Adagio

Brahms, Sonata for Viola Op 120 in F minor, No 1, Allegretto grazioso and Vivace 

A dollop of Schumann, a dash of Schubert, a wobdule of Brahms, and pinch of Bach. Let the banner of the Romantic period be unfurled and uplifted with pride for this viola recital! For if music be the food of love, let Romanticism arrange the banquet.

Begonia Chan | Cello with Stephen De Pledge | Piano

Dvořák, Lasst mich allein 

Cassado, Suite for Cello Solo, Preludio-Fantasia

Elgar, Salut d’amour

Brahms, Cello Sonata No 2 in F major, Op 99, Allegro vivace

Joplin (Arr. Förster), Original Rags 

With Dvořák’s lyrical song Leave me alone, we embark on a colourful journey, exploring the depths and complexity of our emotions as we travel through Europe with Cassado’s solo cello suite, Elgar’s Salut d’amour, Brahms’ F major sonata for cello and piano, and ending in America with Original Rags by the “King of Ragtime”, Scott Joplin.


7:30pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | YOUNG ARTISTS CHAMBER CONCERT

Proudly supported by David Reid Homes

Schumann,  Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op 44

Allegro brillante

In modo d’una marcia.  Un poco largamente

Scherzo:  Molto vivace

Alletro ma non troppo

April Ju and Hazuki Katsukawa (Violin), Cecile McNeill (Viola), Andrew Joyce (Cello and coach) and Shuan Liu (Piano)

Schubert Shepherd on the Rock, D965

Clare Hood (Soprano), Stefenie Pickson (Clarinet) and Jessica Chi (Piano)


Dvořák Piano Quintet No 2 in A major, Op81, B155

Allegro, ma non tanto

Dumka:  Andante con moto

Scherzo (Furiant): Molto vivace

Finale:  Allegro

Kihei Lee and Peter Gjelsten (Violin), Zephyr Wills (Viola), Begonia Chan (Cello) and Otis Prescott-Mason (Piano)

Schumann’s Piano Quintet heralded a great change in the concept of chamber music. His decision to pair the popular string quartet formation with the burgeoning strength of the grand piano was an inspiration to following 19th century composers, and led to the great symphonic chamber works of the following decades. Dvořák’s quintet was a direct result of these seismic changes, and the two works have become amongst the most popular in the chamber music repertoire.

Equally popular is the exquisite Shepherd on the Rock – one of the most beloved chamber works featuring voice. The mellifluous pairing of soulful clarinet and soaring soprano voice, together with Schubert’s glorious melodic invention make this one of his most often-performed works.

12pm | Queenstown Memorial Centre | FESTIVAL GRAND FINALE

Robin Wilson (Violin), Andrew Joyce (Cello), Bridget Douglas (Flute), Madeleine Pierard (Soprano) and Stephen De Pledge (Piano), Alastair Fraser (Taongo Pūoro)

Our esteemed Festival Artists come together again for the final Festival performance – sharing some of their personal favourites with the audience and, in honour of the glorious music written for the Easter observances, finishing with Bach’s sublime aria, Seele, deine Spezereien, from his Easter Oratorio.

Massenet, Méditation from Thaïs

Verdi, Tacea la Notte Placida, from Il Trovatore

Whitehead, Hineraukatauri

Saint-Saëns, Romances Op 36, Nos 36 and 51

Bach,  Seele, deine Spezereien, from Easter Cantata, BWV 247




Lucy Mulgan | Colour in Twilight, Commissioned by the Whakatipu Music Festival

Colour in Twilight is a celebration of autumn in Central Otago- written especially for all of the musicians involved in this festival and to mirror the April  surroundings.

The piece opens with a bang and a wallop! A triumphant statement of autumn, our here and now with the refrain “colour so bright, as if in twilight”. Sliding (literally) into a brief recapturing of the heat – a wordless summer samba – fun and funky rhythms accompanied by claps and scat sounds in the choir. From here it slides back to the present – exploring the autumnal colour and mood that accompanies it. Rich, warm, lush lines move and morph through all the instruments and voices. This builds into the climax – the centre of the piece, where everyone improvises within their own cell – whero, karaka or kōwhai. Finally, a verse of autumn and then into the coda – looking ahead with a winter waltz – a rising melody in the lower instruments accompanied by thin, icy textures. The tune and wordless choir echo a summer samba.

Ending as we started, with a blast of celebratory sound and colour.


We warmly invite musicians of all ages, abilities and instruments (and voices) to perform alongside our festival artists.  Please click here for more information.


The Rees Hotel

The Rees Hotel offers 5-star accommodation with stunning views overlooking the Remarkables and Lake Whakatipu. Take advantage of their special festival rate, offering 10% off all room types from April 10 – 21.

Use promo code VIOLIN22 to receive a 10% discount when booking.

Hotel St Moritz

Idyllically located in the heart of picturesque Queenstown, and with breath-taking views overlooking Lake Wakatipu to the iconic Remarkables mountain range, Hotel St Moritz embodies the spirit of its location. A founding member of Sofitel’s charming MGallery collection; Hotel St Moritz captures the spirit of the landscape, offering an original five-star hotel experience loaded with character and singularity.

Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Stay in the heart of Queenstown, with Kiwi owned and operated, Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel. Located just five minutes from the town centre and right across from the Queenstown Memorial Centre. Being a small and intimate hotel, Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel has the freedom to fully service each and every guest’s needs. Enjoy complimentary canapés and breakfast daily and let them arrange the best Queenstown has to offer.