2019 Official Collaborative Pianists
Dr Sarah Watkins
Sarah’s lifelong love for accompanying and chamber music has led to an impressive career as a performer and recording artist. She is perhaps best known to New Zealand audiences as a founding member of NZTrio, one of this country’s most dynamic and indispensable music ensembles. After 16 years, Sarah left the group in June 2018 to actively pursue other musical collaborations and passions, which includes the mentoring and coaching of young New Zealand musicians.
In addition to NZTrio, she has been an official pianist for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition since its inception in 2001 and the Gisborne International Music Competition since 2008, and has performed as a freelance player in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra. Sarah has also appeared as concerto soloist with St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, ACO, and the APO, and in 2014 recorded Chris Watson's "sing songs self" for solo piano and orchestra with the NZSO, a composition which was awarded the prestigious 2015 SOUNZ Contemporary Award. Her numerous CD recordings with NZTrio and other artists have been widely praised by audiences and critics alike; ‘Sway’ (NZTrio, 2017) and ‘Gung-ho’ (2009, with NZSO prinicipal trombonist David Bremner) were both winners of the Vodafone NZ Music Award for best Classical album.
Sarah is a graduate of the University of Canterbury (NZ) and the Juilliard School in New York City, where she earned both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in collaborative piano. While living in the US, Sarah worked as a staff pianist at Juilliard, Yale University, and the Aspen Music Festival. She also served as coordinator of the collaborative piano program at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and spent several years 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 taught collaborative piano and chamber music.
Rosemary is known throughout New Zealand as pianist, vocal coach, music director, opera translator, concerto soloist, chamber music collaborator, and adjudicator. After studies at the Royal Academy of Music, she combined her music and language skills and spent 25 years based in London, working mainly in opera at English National Opera (music staff 1980-88), Musica nel Chiostro (Italy), Opera Northern Ireland, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and Opera Rara (assistant conductor on many recordings). Returning in 1993, she worked on Der Fliegender Holländer (NZ Opera), Die Meistersinger, Der Rosenkavalier and Parsifal (Wellington NZIFA), Salome, Elektra, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre (APO/NZSO concert performances), Alan Smythe’s stadium operas (chorus director for La Traviata), and coached singers for the first Adelaide Ring cycle.
Concert performances have included the Wigmore Hall, South Bank and BBC Radio 3; Usher Hall in Belfast; New Caledonia with French male alto Robert Expert; the Aotea Centre with Lesley Garrett; Auckland Town Hall with Pene Pati; Invercargill with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa; and southern Germany plus a cruise across the Pacific with Trio Australasia (Alisa Willis, flute and Ann Blackburn, oboe). Her recording work includes three CDs for Continuum. Rosemary plays regularly with Peter Scholes’ Auckland Chamber Orchestra. In 2015 she performed Chopin’s F minor Concerto with the Aorangi Symphony Orchestra at St Matthew-in-the-City. She has been an official collaborative artist at the Gisborne International Music Competition since 1994.
Whilst in London, Rosemary taught at Morley College and the Royal College of Music, and coached singers from all over the world at her private studio. Back home she directed the postgraduate Diploma in Opera at the University of Auckland from 1993-99. She has worked with singers at all the North Island universities and at NZ Opera, and for many years has been music director for Opera Factory, the Auckland-based training company for young singers. In the 2000 Queens Birthday Honours she was awarded an MNZM for her services to music.
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.