Brigitte Elise Balzat completed her Master’s degree in Violin Performance at the Hochschule für Musik Theater und Medien Hannover under Prof. Elisabeth Kufferath by the age of 23.
Brigitte has performed all around the world including Europe, USA, China, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the Pacific. She has performed in venues such as the Helsinki Musiikkitalo, the Elbphilharmonie, and Konzerthaus Berlin. Brigitte performed in masterclasses with many great musicians such as Jeremy Menuhin, Michael Barenboim, Ning Feng and Anthony Marwood.
Brigitte has attended numerous competitions including the Gisborne International Music Competition. She has received a number of prizes such as 1st prize two years in a row in the Chamber Music New Zealand competition which led to an invitation to make a debut concert tour in China. The majority of Brigitte’s career has been focused on chamber, ensemble, and orchestral work, however, she has also performed as soloist with orchestras such as the Luhansk Philharmonie and Opus Orchestra.
Diane grew up in a musical family and began learning the violin at the age of seven. Among her many successes in 2019, Diane won; the Michael Hill International Violin Competition NZ Emerging Artist Award, the National Concerto Competition, the University of Auckland Graduate Gala competition, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s Young Soloist of the Year prize and Chiron’s Young Artist scholarship.
Her chamber group, the Korimako Piano trio, won the Royal Overseas League Chamber Competition and participated in a five-week cultural experience in the United Kingdom. After being selected as Concertmaster for the University of Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Diane crowned 2019 by graduating from the University of Auckland with a First Class Honours degree in Music.
Christine Jeon was born in Christchurch and started learning the cello at age 6. She has received tutelage from James Tennant since January 2019. She passed both her piano and cello (ABRSM) grade 8 exams with distinction in the same year and received the Noel Newson Award in the High-Scorers’ Concert in 2017. In 2019, she passed her dipABRSM Performance Piano exam. In both 2016 and 2017, she was awarded the most promising female in the IRMT Music competitions.
Christine was awarded the Soroptimist Music Scholarship for the SMP (Specialist Music Programme) during her years at Westburn School. In 2020, Christine made it to the national final of the NZCT Chamber contest, performing the Ravel Piano Trio in A minor. In 2020, she passed her LTCL examination. Christine has been given a music scholarship to St Andrew’s College for both intermediate and high school.
Andrew Kelly has enjoyed playing the violin ever since he began learning at age 5 from celebrated Suzuki teacher Lynley Culliford. Growing up in Wellington, he also learned from NZSO Associate Concertmaster Donald Armstrong before moving to Auckland to study under Stephen Larsen at The University of Auckland where he was the Alumni Scholar.
Musical highlights include being in the NZSO National Youth Orchestra since the age of 15 and selected Principal 1st Violin in 2017, playing as a soloist alongside Opera singer Malvina Major in 2011 and competing in the National Finals of the NZCT New Zealand Secondary Schools Chamber Music Competition in 2014 with the ‘Elegiac Trio’. He was also awarded the NZSO Erika Scholes Award winning a 1749 Gagliano violin for 2 years. This September he will be commencing a Masters in Performance at the Royal College of Music, London.
Hyein Kim was born in 1999 in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Christchurch in 2007. Hyein started his musical adventure at the age of 6 with lessons on the piano. At the age of 8, he switched to studying the cello and he has since moved to Hamilton in 2016 where he continued his studies with James Tennant and has been accepted into the Soloist Stream Specialization programme at the University of Waikato.
At 13, he was awarded 1st prize at the International Padova Competition in Italy. In 2016, Hyein had a very successful year, winning the New Zealand Secondary Chamber Music Competition with his Yerevan Trio from Hillcrest High School as well as being selected as 2nd prize in the 50th National Concerto Competition. After that, he was awarded 2nd prize in PACANZ in 2018 and in 2020, he was awarded 1st prize in the Gisborne International Music Competition.
Anne Kyoungeun Lee is studying for a Bachelor’s degree of music at the University of Auckland with violinist and concertmaster of the APO, Andrew Beer. She received a Young Scholarship Program enabling her to begin her tertiary studies early and has subsequently received scholarships, such as the Sagar-Vandewart Prize for String Players, also earning top placings for her performance courses.
In previous years and as a young soloist competition winner, Anne has performed at many venues such as the Auckland Town Hall, Palace of Versailles, and other concert halls where she toured with an orchestra as a soloist in France.
Anne is a member of the APO Young Achievers Program and was awarded Gold at the National Round of the NZCT Chamber Contest.
Christine Lee is currently a Bachelor’s student studying at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin with violinist Ning Feng. As the winner of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s Young Soloist of the Year Competition, Christine played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in the Auckland Town Hall. She has performed in other renowned venues such as the Musikverein in Vienna and Konzerthaus Berlin.
Orchestrally, Christine has been concertmaster of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra and was selected as a member of the Fellowship Programme with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. She is also an active casual player with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
KiHei Lee, a recent first-class honours graduate from the University of Auckland, has been learning under Stephen Larsen for the past 5 years. KiHei is part of a violin duo, Felice Duet, who are the recipients of the 2019 Royal Overseas League Scholarship. The duet can also be found as players in the 2020/21 Adam Troubadour Quartet being the highlight of the Summer School and performed in the 2021 Adam Summer Celebration. Further in 2020, KiHei won the Holdsworth Family Bach prize at the Gisborne international music competition.
KiHei continues to play with her family for the community church and her goal as a musician is to bring the best of her abilities to give herself and others a great experience in music. KiHei plays on a violin made available through a generous loan by the Hill Family Foundation for Art and Music.
Harris Leung is a recent graduate of the University of Waikato and was an Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Fellow in 2019. He has played in numerous orchestras throughout the North Island and enjoys reading music in a chamber setting. Any remaining time he spends daydreaming about buildings. Harris is currently studying under Lara Hall at the University of Waikato and is supervised by Jeroen Schillewaert at the University of Auckland.
Rose Light was awarded her Licentiate in Music Diploma (LMusA) with Distinction in 2020 and her Associate in Music Diploma (AmusA) with Distinction in 2019 when she was 14 years old. Rose’s string quartet was awarded First Prize at the Queensland International Chamber Music Competition 2019. She was selected for the Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy 2020, she played as a soloist with the Australian Haydn Ensemble and the Australian Honours String Orchestra and performed as a first violinist with the Australian Youth Orchestra NMC.
She has performed twice at the Sydney Opera House with Staatskapelle Berlin and the Australian World Orchestra as Principal Second Violinist of the Regional Youth Orchestra of NSW. Rose was Concertmaster of the Bellingen Youth Orchestra from 2019-2020, Principal Violinist of Sinfonia, an advanced chamber orchestra, from 2019-2020 and Principal Violinist of the Academy at the Coffs Harbour Conservatorium from 2017-2019.
After living in Australia for the past few years, Rose has moved back to Aotearoa and has since participated in the 2021 Adam Summer School and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra. She learns violin from Helene Pohl and plays on a Riccardo Bergonzi Violin ‘Vivace’ c.2005 made available through a generous loan by the Hill Family Foundation for Art and Music.
A passion and curiosity for the arts have led violist Cecile McNeill to pursue a career in music. She is an avid chamber musician and has played with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra where she is a current APO young achiever. Cecile has gone from thrice reaching the national rounds of the NZCT Chamber Contest, to winning the 2020 Auckland Chamber Music Society Prize.
A student of David Samuel at the University of Auckland, Cecile has had the privilege of receiving lessons from renowned violists including Yura Lee, Misha Amory, Toby Appel, and Samuel Rhodes, and masterclasses from Silvia Marcovici and Elizabeth Kufferath.
Solo successes include achieving the top marks for classical performance at the University of Auckland in both 2019 and 2020. Other prizes that were awarded to her include the Wilhelm Penseler Prize in Music, the Winifred Stiles Viola Prize, the Spring Prize for String Players, and the Adam Scholarship for Performance Excellence and Achievement.
Originally from Christchurch, Sarang Roberts currently studies at the New Zealand School of Music with Associate Professor Dr. Martin Riseley and previously, NZSO Associate Concertmaster Donald Armstrong. She has participated in several masterclasses with international violinists such as Augustin Hadelich and Ilya Gringolts. She is a keen orchestral player, having been a member of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra since 2015, playing with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras around the country.
Sarang has received a number of prizes and awards including the Victoria University Ensemble Performance Award, Best Performance of a New Zealand work, and the Freemasons Lankhuyzen/Whetu-Kairangi Music Award for her time in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw concertmaster Liviu Prunaru. Sarang has a keen interest in chamber music, collaborating with members of both the Te Kōkī Trio and Ghost Trio in 2021.
Originally from Aotearoa, Claudia completed her Bachelor of Music in piano and violin performance at Te Kōki New Zealand School of Music in 2018. She is currently in her second year of a Master of Arts in violin performance at the Royal Academy of Music, where she is under the tutelage of Professor György Pauk. Claudia is currently a recipient of the Dame Malvina Major Wellington Arts Excellence Award, the Kiwi Music Scholarship, and is on a generous scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music. When in New Zealand, Claudia plays as a casual member of the NZSO.
Claudia has performed concerti with orchestra on occasions, including with the New Zealand School of Music orchestra and a local Wellington orchestra. She was the pianist in Trio Fantasia, which reached the finals of the Pettman/ROSL Chamber Music Arts scholarship. The following year her string quartet won the Adam Troubadour fellowship programme. Claudia is currently first violinist of the Calathea Quartet, which is an ensemble formed at the Royal Academy of Music. In April 2021 they won first place in the Royal Academy of Music Historical Women Composers Prize. Claudia has had leading positions for the Royal Academy Sainsbury Soloists, and Chamber Orchestra, and is now a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Foyle Future Firsts scheme 2020/21.
Having been accepted into university at the age of fifteen, Kimberley is currently under the tutelage of James Tennant and is studying a Bachelor of Music and Finance at the University of Waikato. Kimberley started learning the cello at the age of eight and has since attained many awards. At the age of fourteen she received First Prize in the Golden Classical International Music Awards Competition, the Brussels Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition and First Equal in the Pacific International Music Competition. Kimberley has also performed in renowned venues, namely Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, and was invited to perform in the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.
Lorna’s passion for violin started at a young age. She is currently a year 12 student in Macleans College and has participated in various musical groups. Over the years she has been rewarded with many school cultural awards, and has also won multiple awards in South Auckland Performing Arts Society and Te Awamutu. Lorna has been a scholarship holder of the Chiron Charitable Trust since 2019. In 2020, she entered the NZCT chamber contest as a part of Trio Achilles and won the Runner-up Helen Young Diamond Award.