2018 Official Collaborative Pianists


Sarah Watkins has enjoyed an impressive career as chamber musician, collaborative partner and recording artist, touring widely throughout Japan, England and the US with some of America’s leading instrumentalists. In 2002 Sarah formed NZTrio with violinist Justine Cormack and cellist Ashley Brown, a group which has since become one of New Zealand’s leading music ensembles. Sarah has been an official pianist for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition since its inception in 2001, has performed as a freelance player in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared as concerto soloist with St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra and the APO.

Sarah is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City, where she earned both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in collaborative piano. Resident in the US for fourteen years, Sarah was a staff pianist at Juilliard, Yale University and the Aspen Music Festival. Among academic highlights was her work as coordinator of the collaborative piano program at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and several years tenure on the music faculty of Purchase College, New York. During the period 2004-2009 NZTrio was ensemble in residence at the University of Auckland, where Sarah also taught collaborative piano and chamber music.


Rosemary Barnes was one of London’s most sought-after accompanists and vocal coaches for 25 years. When she left New Zealand at eighteen to study piano with Franz Reizenstein at the Royal Academy of Music, she had already appeared on radio & TV, and as concerto soloist with the Alex Lindsay String Orchestra. In London, she developed a career as collaborative artist alongside her voice coaching studio, appearing with many leading British artists on BBC Radio 3, Granada TV, at the Wigmore Hall and throughout the UK. On the music staff of English National Opera from 1980-88, Rosemary also taught pianists and singers at the Royal College of Music. Assistant Conductor on over a dozen Opera Rara recordings in the 1980’s, she worked freelance for Opera Northern Ireland, Musica nel Chiostro in Italy, BBCTV and Glyndebourne Touring Opera. Her recording work includes three CDs for the Continuum label.

Returning in 1993 as founding director of the DipPerfArts(Opera) at the University of Auckland, Rosemary continued her busy concert schedule. She has partnered all our leading singers including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Donald McIntyre, Dame Malvina Major, Simon O’Neill, Helen Medlyn, Margaret Medlyn & Patricia Wright. International artists she has partnered include violinists Chuan Yun Li, Emil Chudnovsky, Yinlin Pan & Miwako Abe, flautists Robert Aitken, Paul Edmund-Davies, Leone Buyse & Elena Duran, clarinettists Murray Khouri, Michael Webster & Mark Walton, German baritone Hans Georg Wimmer, UK mezzo Sally Burgess, US soprano Angela Brown and, in New Caledonia, renowned French male alto Robert Expert. Rosemary also gives many recitals every year with emerging young performers. Rosemary was awarded an MNZM for her services to music in the 2000 Queens Birthday Honours.


South Korean born New Zealand pianist, Somi Kim has established herself as one of today's most highly regarded young pianists with a string of competition successes and extensive concert experience.

Somi graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with an Advanced Diploma in Performance and Master of Arts with Distinction, receiving the HRH Princess Alice the Duchess of Gloucester’s Prize, a DipRAM and the Christian Carpenter Prize for the Best Recital. Somi is the 2017 winner of the Royal Over-Seas League Accompanist Prize, and has received the Gerald Moore Award for Accompanists, AESS Patricia Routledge National English Song Accompanist Prize, Mozart Singing Competition Accompanist Prize, Bromsgrove International Musicians Competition Accompanist Prize, Vivian Langrish Memorial Trust Prize, Thomas Art of Song Accompanist Prize, Major van Someron-Godfery Prize for Accompanists, WCOM Concordia Serena Nevill and Barthel Prizes and the 6th Pettman/Royal Over-Seas League Arts International Scholarship. Somi made her debut with Chamber Music New Zealand in 2015.

Sought after as a chamber musician, song accompanist and répétiteur, Somi is an artist for the Kirckman Concert Society, Park Lane Group, Concordia Foundation and is a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Somi is a scholar on the Britten-Pears and Samling Artist Programmes, Georg Solti Accademia, and is a staff pianist at the International Holland Music Sessions, International Vocal Competition‘s-Hertogenbosch and the New Zealand Opera School. Somi has recently been appointed as a pianist with the NZTrio -  a piano trio that is recognised as a ‘national treasure’ and as ‘New Zealand’s most indispensable ensemble’.

In recital, Somi’s recent and future appearances include Het Concertgebouw, Slovak Philharmonic, Wigmore Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall and the Edinburgh Fringe, Ryedale, St Endellion and Oxford Lieder Festivals.

Somi has been an official collaborative pianist for the Gisborne International Music Competition since 2017.