2021 Gisborne International Music Competition Jurors
Serenity Thurlow (Ngāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, Ngati Porou, Te Whānau a Apanui)
Serenity began violin at age five with the Suzuki Method and viola at fifteen. At the University of Canterbury she studied violin and viola with Jan Tawroscewicz and she was part of the inaugural Graduate Ensemble Programme at Victoria University, studying string quartet with the New Zealand String Quartet.
Serenity moved to Austria in 2006 to undertake further study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She completed her Masters there with Peter Langgartner and postgraduate studies with Thomas Riebl. She was a prizewinner in the Lionel Tertis viola competition in Salzburg. While in Austria she was an active chamber and orchestral musician, performing across Europe and the USA with orchestras such as the Salzburg Chamber Soloists, Camerata Salzburg, Deutsche Kammerakadamie Neuss among numerous others.
In 2010 she returned to Christchurch to take up the position of Principal Violist in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. In 2012 she was Principal Viola of the Aldeburgh World Orchestra, part of the Britten-Pears Festival, which subsequently toured Europe. In 2016 she premiered Chris Cree Brown's Viola Concerto for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She has been an active chamber musician in NZ, including touring NZ with the New Zealand String Quartet in 2021.
Serenity plays a Derazey viola, Malo bow and Leahy bow with the generous support of Christopher Marshall.
Samuel is the Principal horn of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having returned after spending three years as Principal horn of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. While in the UK, Samuel’s freelance work included performing as guest Principal horn with most of the leading symphony orchestras, whilst in this hemisphere Samuel frequently works as guest Principal horn with the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, and took part in the epic project of the 2016 Ring cycle in Melbourne on Principal horn.
Samuel has made numerous commercial recordings for the film and pop industries, including albums with Sting, Sam Smith and Florence & the Machine, and soundtracks for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Interstellar, The Martian and the latest Bond film Spectre, as well as scores for television and video games, including the Halo franchise. Samuel has also recorded on the LSO Live label and on numerous live BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, and as Principal horn on the Deutsche Grammophon, Dutton Epoch and RPO record labels. Personal career highlights include performing with Sting at the Hollywood Bowl, New York Met and MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and touring America, Canada and Europe playing Principal horn with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra on their Star Wars In Concert tour.
Samuel’s solo experience includes concertos by Haydn, Mozart, Hoffmann, Franz Strauss and Richard Strauss, as well as Schumann’s Konzertstuck on Principal horn. Samuel has recorded John Rimmer’s Horn Concerto with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and his performance of Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto with Sinfonia Viva was broadcast on Classic FM. Samuel also toured this concerto around the country with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2016, and toured Richard Strauss’s 1st Horn Concerto with the NZSO in 2019.
Previous teachers include Richard Kennedy, Beccy Goldberg, Julian Plummer, Martin Owen, Michael Thompson and Richard Watkins; and Samuel himself has given masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, and is currently teaching horn at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University Wellington. Outside of music, Sam has been an extra in the hit Bollywood movie ‘Blue’ and appeared on four UK television quiz shows, including Countdown.