Tag Archives: Performance

Christchurch Arts Festival: Virtuosity Series

UC School of Music is very proud to present the Virtuosity Series to be performed at the Arts Centre during the Christchurch Arts Festival of 2017 in August and September this year.  The Virtuosity Series is a three-part series that features different disciplines. Professor Mark Menzies, Head of Performance, School of Music talks about how the programme features the idea that “sound itself has its own kind of incandescent virtuosity”.

Virtuosity of Sound is the first installment of the series and as Mark describes, there is a certain openness in the music and it has been composed in such a way that allows the performer to explore in the moment the sound created by the virtuosity on display. The audience will be treated to the ultimate capacity of the instruments themselves, and also in the diverse collective of instruments involve, for example, the Balinese Gamelan features as an exotic instrument.

One of the pieces featured is ‘Concerto for Active Frogs’ by Anne LeBaron. Mark is “particularly delighted to include this piece which features improvisation with the musicians being free to contribute their own voice and sounds”.

Virtuosity of Percussion is the second installment of the Series and features Senior Music Lecturer Dr. Justin DeHart on percussion. He has selected a piece called ‘Anvil Chorus’ by American composer David Lang. Justin explains that Lang was inspired by Blacksmiths’ use of rhythm to distinguish their beating patterns on metal to create new tools, while Justin himself is inspired by the constant construction noise as he settles as a new resident in Christchurch. He says, “the natural occurrence of hammering polyrhythms sang out from a construction site, reminds me how basic and productive rhythm can be”.

Justin says that each of the four movements of the piece explore a different single sound source (conga, cymbal, glockenspiel, and tambourine) that is manipulated through live electronic processing. He has chosen “works for this concert that highlight the diverse aspect of percussion” and in his performance he hopes that in a small way his “hitting of stuff” will also add to the exciting and creative rebuild of Christchurch.

The final of the three arts festival concerts, the Virtuosity of the Viola/Violin, is the first of four concerts Mark will be presenting this year at the School of Music. The series is called ‘4 in the time of 7’, and will feature Mark’s virtuosic playing described by a reviewer in Los Angeles as “a penned-up Paganini”.

While the Virtuosity of Percussion and the Virtuosity of Viola/Violin are presentations of more traditional repertoire, they will feature works that people are not likely to have heard before.

170805 Virtuosity Blur - Arts Festival

Thursday 31 August, 7.00-9.00pm
Monday 4 September, 7.00-9.00pm
Sunday, 17 September 5.00-7.00pm

School of Music Recital Room, UC Arts,
The Arts Centre of Christchurch, 3 Hereford Street

TICKETS: $20 / Concession $10

BUY TICKETS: www.artsfestival.co.nz/virtuosity-series

See Xenia Pestova perform live in July

During July, the School of Music is delighted to host internationally renowned performer Xenia Pestova. Xenia will be taking part in a number of events while she is here, including New Music Central, the School of Music’s weekly concert series. During this concert Xenia will be performing works by UC Head of School of Music, Glenda Keam, as well as other internationally celebrated composers Ed Bennett and Miriama Young.

Photo: Chris Webb

Xenia appears at UC courtesy of Chamber Music NZ, she is currently touring with Chamber Music New Zealand as part of their 2017 Encompass Series.

This will be the premiere performance of Glenda’s work, ‘Mind Springs’. The initial images that preceded the composition of ‘Mind Springs’ work were of water springing and bubbling from the ground, and  Aotearoa New Zealand’s geysers, with their accompanying babbling flow of mineral-laden water that over time build sinter structures and pathways. But as the piece took form it became clear this was not made of bold, grand explosions but rather a more contemplative series of leaps that were inward-looking.

Another work in the programme, by Miriama Young, invites the audience to engage with the electronic part for the piece, which can be streamed during the concert performance via an interactive smartphone app. The App with its embedded audio is available for free download from the iOS App Store or Google Pay, by searching for ‘SyncSound’. Once downloaded, follow the downbeat of the pianist to press ‘play’. The downloading and use of this app during the concert is entirely voluntary.

You can see Xenia Pestova at the following events:

Composition Workshop with Ed Bennett

  • Monday July 17 at 3.30pm-5pm
  • Recital Room UC Arts, The Arts Centre of Christchurch, 3 Hereford Street.

New Music Central featuring the premier of Glenda Keam’s ‘Mind Springs’

  • Monday July 17 at 7pm-9pm
  • Recital Room UC Arts, The Arts Centre of Christchurch, 3 Hereford Street.

Watch Xenia performing Chaandanee (Egidija Medeksaite).


Speak just like TED

We are all called upon to speak publicly
at some stage in our lives.

It will happen. How do you feel about that?

Make your audience grateful, and take the fear out of it, by studying these TED Talk tips:

9 Public-Speaking Lessons From The World’s Greatest TED Talks

Other things that will help you significantly:
  1. Do our Presentation Skills course.  We only have two running this year, and one is coming up in just a few weeks. Sign up!
  2. Read my previous 2 Blog posts:
    Make eye contact & put on boldness like a cloak.
    Nervous? Sweaty Palms? Limelight?

Was this tip helpful to you? Anything else you want to know? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Like these tips? Want to see MORE?

Learning and Development

Put on Boldness

Following up last week’s tips on dealing with nerves in meetings, presentations and public speaking, here are the two biggest aids that have made all the difference for me over the years:

Make eye contact

“Put on Boldness” like a cloak


1. Make actual eye contact with lots of people in the room (so that it’s more personal, and to remind yourself that we are all just humans in this together).
Each time you look at someone, look them in the eye and imagine you are speaking just to them.
Try to connect with her/him as a person.
Then move on to someone else. If you can’t see their eyes, pretend you are doing this.

2. “Put on Boldness” like a cloak. Pretend you are being bold:
– stand tall,
– talk strongly,
act confident.
Just by doing these things your physiology makes you feel more confident, and projects confidence to the audience, who then respond more positively to you.
And if you think that sounds interesting, have a look at this TED talk on how your body language shapes who you are.

To get better at this, do our Presentation Skills course. I’ve done the course and it’s surprising how often I get to use those skills, in many different areas of my life. They are highly valuable for all sorts of situations, not only presentations.
We only have two Presentation Skills courses this year, and one is coming up in just a few weeks. Sign up!


Make eye contact

“Put on Boldness” like a cloak


Was this tip helpful to you? Anything else you want to know? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Like these tips? Want to see MORE?

Learning and Development

Grammy-winning pianist professor gives free Christchurch concert

Acclaimed classical pianist Professor Angelin Chang, who is attending the international conference on Pacific regional security hosted by the Macmillan Brown Centre, will perform in Christchurch this month.

With multiple honours to her name, Professor Chang won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Solo Performance with Orchestra in 2007. She will be in New Zealand to attend the regional security symposium, which is being hosted at the University of Canterbury in November, where she will facilitate a session on human rights, resource rights and security.

Recognised for her poetry and technical brilliance, she is the first female American classical pianist and the first pianist of Asian descent to win a Grammy. She is also the first American to be awarded the Premier Prix Piano and Premier Prix Musique de Chambre in the same year from the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris in France.


Professor Chang has performed in major concert halls on five continents and was the first Artist in Residence at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and the first Academic Performing Artist for Yamaha Corporation of America. She holds two doctorates (law and music) and is professor of music at Cleveland State University. Professor Chang is also co-chair of the Asia-Pacific research committee of the International Political Science Association.

The Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury, in partnership with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, is presenting a piano concert by Prof Chang at 7pm on Wednesday 25 November, at Merivale Lane Theatre, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, 59 Hewitts Rd, Merivale, Christchurch.

Entry is free to ticket holders. Book your free tickets by contacting Patricia Ydgren, email: patricia.ydgren@canterbury.ac.nz  Refreshments will be served.