Today’s Insider’s Guide

This beautiful video of our 2011 winner Sergey Malov playing the Paganini’s Caprice 24 perfectly highlights the violinist’s stunning feats of dexterity.

Martin Riseley is the Head of Strings at the New Zealand School of Music. He began violin studies at the age of six, and gave his first solo concert when he was ten. Since 2015, he has been Concertmaster of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and has conducted the Edmonton Symphony, Manawatu Chamber Orchestra, Academy Strings of Alberta, and the NZSM Orchestra.

We’re very lucky to have Martin as one of this year’s Insider’s Guide presenters this year.

He is doing two sessions, and both will be on the live stream.

Fiendish Fugues – Friday 31 May (NZST), 2.30pm

In his first session, Martin will explore J.S. Bach’s solo works for violin.

He’ll discuss the mystery of the Chaconne: what historical events lay the groundwork for this monumental piece – why did Bach write it? There will also be discussion and demonstration of the Chaconne’s inner workings and how Bach achieves all of this on a single violin.

The two fugues we will hear in today’s session are the G minor and A minor. Martin will investigate how a player voices these on a modern instrument.

Paganini: What was he thinking! – Sat 1 June, 9.30am (NZST)

Ahead of the Competition rounds tomorrow, Martin will be speaking about Paganini’s Caprices. These comprise a compendium of technical difficulties for the violinist – etudes with the added challenge to make music, not just notes; and famously awkward passages, challenging the violin hand, the bow hand, or both together. These are the reason these caprices feature in the Competition’s first round.

The Insider’s Guides take place before the start of the first session each day of our Competition. An integral part of the programme, Insider’s Guide sessions are designed to give audiences a greater understanding and appreciation of the gauntlet the violinists are about to run.

NZ’s leading tertiary violin lecturers lead these sessions (free to ticket-holders and available for viewing though our broadcasts). They candidly reveal what the Competitors will be experiencing – including their many challenges – and what the judges are really listening for.