Tour to introduce new violinist

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MONIQUE Lapins has had a ‘‘whirlwind’’ start to her new job, but it’s been a dream come true.
The Australian violinist joined the New Zealand String Quartet (NZSQ) in May and in the few months since has performed in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, and is now embarking on an 11-centre New Zealand tour Heartland Classics.
‘‘It’s been full steam ahead, which has been really good for me,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m absolutely loving it.’’
The quartet will perform in Invercargill next week.
Lapins said the tour was an exciting opportunity to get to know New Zealand. Audiences should enjoy the diverse programme, which includes a string quartet by Mozart, she said.
‘‘It’s a really funny piece where you see a lot of joking and communicating between the group.’’
It also includes a short work by Otagobased composer Dame Gillian Whitehead, Poroporoaki.
Lapins said the piece was able to imitate the sound of various Maori instruments.
‘‘It’s fantastic… Gillian Whitehead has magically crafted this into a work that, at the same time, you’re hearing all these different bird calls and this percussive sound. She makes this into a piece that is quite interesting to listen to and very atmospheric.’’
The quartet will also perform two of Dvorak’s Cypresses.
‘‘[They] are heartbreaking pieces actually based on unrequited love of the composer when he was 24, so there’s a little bit of torment and pain.’’
However, in contrast, Mendelssohn’s D major string quartet was a beautifully joyful and energetic work, composed when he first got married, she said.
‘‘It’s very much a celebratory piece.’’ The quartet is now in its 29th year and this is the first change in its line-up in more than 21 years.
Lapins said she started playing the violin aged 6, by learning the Suzuki method.
She then formed and played in her first string quartet at 16, and also first experienced the NZSQ.
Lapins said the ensemble travelled to the Townsville Festival to coach and perform.
‘‘It’s funny to end up in New Zealand [now] — a wonderful coincidence.’’
Lapins said when she saw the opening for the NZSQ she ‘‘just had to do it’’. ‘‘It was a dream come true. It’s been really wonderful. I’m still pinching myself.’’
Í New Zealand String Quartet, Heartland Classics, Victoria Room, Civic Theatre, Friday, August 19, 7.30pm. Book at TicketDirect.

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