IMPRESSIONS will feature Violin Quartets by Telemann, Hofmann, Massa, Bohm, Dancla, Kurano, and a new commissioned work by young NZ composer Oscar Kersey. 

The QUARTZ Violin Quartet consists of violinists Rakuto Kurano, Henry Nicholson, Mekaela Fleener, & Aya McLarty, who have all studied under Professor Mark Menzies at the University of Canterbury.

The Quartet will be performing in Timaru, Wanaka, Dunedin, Oamaru, Waimate, Ashburton, Moana, Christchurch, Porirua, and Greytown.

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QUARTZ Violin Quartet

22-year-old award-winning musician Rakuto Kurano is a versatile performer & composer. 

Described as a musician with “flair and panache” by the Christchurch Mail, Kurano has stunned audiences around the country with his unique energetic & virtuosic playing style. He has completed numerous concert tours around the country performing on violin, viola, baroque viola, & piano; currently averaging 60 performances a year.

In 2021, he was commissioned by the Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand to compose Concerto Grosso for their 11-concert national tour. The work was deemed a “splendid work” by Peter Mechen (Middle-C) and received a standing ovation in every concert. As a strong supporter of New Zealand music, he has commissioned four young New Zealand composers and has performed works by over 40 unique New Zealand composers to date. 

Kurano is currently Artist in Residence at the Aspiring Lifestyle Village in Wanaka.

Henry Nicholson is a New Zealand violinist, conductor and Artistic Director. 

Henry performs in various styles but has a special focus on 16/17th century experimental renaissance and baroque works, and contemporary compositions by living composers.

He is currently studying a Master of Music majoring in performance violin and conducting with Professor Mark Menzies and Associate Professor Justin DeHart at the University of Canterbury. In the past, he has studied conducting with Dr. Helen Renaud and has been an active participant in the CSO Conducting Masterclass with CSO Chief Conductor Benjamin Northey.

He was appointed Musical Director of Risingholme Singers in 2019 and Assistant Conductor of the Christchurch Youth Orchestra the following year. In both 2020 & 2021, he was invited as a conductor & violinist to the CANZ (Composers Association of New Zealand) Nelson Composers Workshop. 

Mekaela Fleener has established herself as a versatile and community focused musician in Christchurch. 

She performs in numerous chamber ensembles and has made several appearances with the Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand. She has held multiple leadership roles in her orchestral experience performing in several youth orchestras on both violin and bassoon. 

She has also been active in the new music scene, frequently collaborating with and premiering new music by New Zealand composers and has recent experience with professional recordings of new music. She is active in her community as a music teacher and as an intern with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and looks to begin her role as Music Therapy Assistant at Southern Music Therapy. Mekaela is in her final year of a Bachelor of Music in performance violin at the University of Canterbury under the tuition of Professor Mark Menzies. 

Japanese-Jamaican violinist and trombonist Aya McLarty has been active in New Zealand as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician on both instruments.

She has made appearances in countless festivals as a violinist & jazz trombonist. Her ensembles have gone ahead to win prizes at national competitions including the Southern Jam Jazz Festival.

As a chamber musician, she has performed in many locations across the South Island as both a soloist and ensemble player. In 2020, she was appointed the concertmaster position of the Middleton Grange Senior Orchestra and led the orchestra to great acclaim.

In 2021, she was admitted to the University of Canterbury School of Music on a double scholarship and is currently in her second year studying with Professor Mark Menzies.