New Zealand String Quartet
Helene Pohl (violin I), Monique Lapins (violin II), Gillian Ansell (viola), Rolf Gjelsten (cello)
Celebrating its 35th season in 2022, the New Zealand String Quartet has an established international reputation for its insightful interpretations, compelling communication, and dynamic performing style. The Quartet is known for its imaginative programming and for its powerful connection with audiences of all kinds.
Over the decades the Quartet has cultivated a rich repertoire, including a wide variety of New Zealand music, composers’ cycles from Beethoven to Bartok, Mozart to Berg, in addition to theatrical presentations encompassing spoken word and dance, from Haydn’s Seven Last Words to Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night. The Quartet have proudly championed New Zealand music since their inception, commissioning over 150 New Zealand works, alongside collaborations with taonga pūoro players Rob Thorne, Horomona Horo, and the late Richard Nunns.
Devoted teachers and mentors, all members of the Quartet teach at the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī where the NZSQ has been Quartet-in-Residence since 1991, as well as running the Adam Chamber Music School in Nelson and the NZSM Queen’s Birthday Chamber Music Weekend in Wellington for up-and-coming chamber musicians, and mentor students from Sistema programmes across the country.
The three longest serving members of the Quartet have each been awarded the MNZM honour for services to music in New Zealand. Violinist Helene Pohl and violist Gillian Ansell are also co-artistic directors of the biennial Chamber Music Festival in Nelson, as well as serving as the guest curators of the chamber music programme for the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts.