Stroma’s core group of performers include some of the most experienced and excellent chamber musicians in New Zealand.
Edward Allen was appointed principal horn of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1984. Since then he has appeared as a soloist with the NZSSO frequently, performing works of Mozart, Strauss, Burch and others. In addition, he is a member of the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra and has been a soloist with them performing works of Britten, Telemann and Mozart. He has performed concertos with most of the regional orchestras in New Zealand including the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Dunedin Sinfonia, Wellington Sinfonia and the Auckland Sinfonietta. Other solo and chamber music recitals have been given with Bruce Greenfield, Diedre Irons, Tamas Vesmas, Wilma Smith, Michael Houstoun and Philip Walsh. Recordings for Concert FM have included many solo pieces and chamber works. In addition to orchestral music, Edward performs with several smaller ensembles including the New Zealand Soloists, the Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble and the New Zealand Wind Quintet.
Emma studied violin with Natalia Morozova at the Rotterdam Conservatorium of Music and with Jan Tawroszewicz at the University of Canterbury, completing a Bachelor of Music degree with first class honours in 1997. During this time she participated twice in the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, enjoying masterclasses with artists such as Charles Castleman, Dong-Suk Kang and Dene Olding. Emma has led the Christchurch Youth Orchestra, the University of Canterbury Chamber Orchestra and worked as a first violinist in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. After graduating she undertook further study in Lubeck, Germany and in Italy. An Alex Lindsay Award recipient, Emma was appointed to the NZSO First Violin Section in May 2002.
Born in Washington State, Patrick took up his position as Associate Principal Clarinet in 2000. He is a recent graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with David Neuman and Luis Baez. During his studies, he had the opportunity to perform with members of the San Francisco Symphony and the remaining members of the Grateful Dead in a performance of John Cage’s music circus, Renga with Apartment House 1776. He was also involved with the debut performance of the Lawrence Peck Dance Company, a modern dance troupe committed to collaboration with living composers. Patrick was winner of the 1994 Corbett Concerto Competition and was awarded a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Centre in 1997. Patrick performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto at the age of 17 with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra in the United States.
David Bremner is Principal Trombone of the NZSO, a position he has held since 2002. Prior to that, he was Principal trombonist of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He was awarded the prestigious Patricia Pratt Scholarship to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Mark Lawrence, winning the Shenson Young Musician’s Competition and performing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He was the guest soloist with the National Youth Brass Band of NZ on their international tour of 2003 and is a past winner of the Junior and Open Champion of Champions Solo competition at the NZ Brass Band National Contest. A versatile musician, David has recorded with the New Zealand rock band Crowded House, is a founding member of the Bonanza Trombone Quartet and a member of the contemporary ensemble Stroma. His interest in music education is demonstrated in his role as Director of Education for Brass Bands New Zealand, as an Artist Teacher at the New Zealand School of Music and in conducting the Pelorus Trust Onslow Brass Band. David is seen regularly on television as a member of the Dancing with the Stars band
Mark was born in Poole, Dorset, and began playing cornet at the age of seven. He joined the school brass band and was a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. At the age of 17 he took his first trumpet lesson and went on to study at The Royal Academy of Music, London, with John Wilbraham. In his last year of study Mark took part in the RAM exchange programme and studied at The Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane. Since his graduation he has played with The Cape Town Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Queensland Philharmonic, Queensland Orchestra and Singapore Symphony orchestra. Mark is sub principal trumpet in the NZSO, as well as a member of New Zealand Brass. Since moving to New Zealand Mark has taken up many new hobbies including refereeing rugby union, fly fishing, scuba diving and mountain biking.
Bridget Douglas is the Principal Flute of the NZSO. After completing studies at Victoria University, Bridget went to New York and Chicago for further studies. In the USA, Bridget won several competitions including the Artists International Award, resulting in a debut recital at Carnegie Hall. Bridget is also a member of the harp/flute duo Flight with Carolyn Mills (NZSO Principal Harp) and the contemporary ensemble Stroma. She has released two CDs with pianist Rachel Thomson (Syrinx, French music for flute and piano, and Taurangi, music by New Zealand composers) and a Flight CD with Carolyn Mills.
Jeremy is principal percussionist for the Vector Wellington Orchestra, has played regularly with the NZSO since 1993, and has been freelancing in Wellington for the last 20 years. He has recorded CDs of marimba and percussion music by Gareth Farr and John Psathas, toured with Chamber Music NZ, and was a founding member of Strike Percussion and Gareth Farr’s Drumdrag. Recent projects include being a guest soloist at a marimba festival in Portugal, ensemble soloist with the APO and percussionist with the Pink Floyd Experience. A 1996 Fulbright Scholar, Jeremy has a Bachelor of Music with first class honours from Victoria University of Wellington as well as a Masters and an Advanced Performance Certificate from Northwestern University in Chicago where he studied with Michael Burritt and James Ross. He is a graduate of the Leigh Howard Stevens International Marimba Seminar in New Jersey and the Music Academy of the West in California.
Thomas Guldborg received his MMus in Percussion Performance from the Academy of Music in Aalborg. After graduating he went to Boston to study at New England Conservatory of Music, where he received his GradDip in Percussion Performance. While in Boston, Thomas worked extensively with acclaimed avant-garde pianist Stephen Drury. Together they performed Stockhausen’s Kontakte. Thomas was also the first recipient of the John Cage Memorial Award for New Music at New England Conservatory. In 1999 Thomas was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Centre, where he worked with Tan Dun and George Benjamin amongst others. In 2008 he joined the NZSO as associate principal percussion.
From 1986 to 1992 Robert Ibell lived in London, studying cello with Tanya Prochazka, Derek Simpson and Christopher Bunting. He played at music schools and in masterclasses (where his teachers included Alexander Baillie, Steve Doane, Anner Bylsma and Steven Isserlis), taught, gave recitals and played in professional and amateur orchestras. Since 1993 he has been a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He is also a member of the Nevine String Quartet and the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra.
Andrew Jarvis was appointed Principal Tuba of the National Orchestra of South Africa in 1987 and was also conscripted into the Light Horse Regiment Band as part of his military service. He taught at various institutions and regularly performed with the Contemporary Brass Ensemble and the Transvaal Chamber Orchestra. In 1993 Andrew immigrated to Australia where he freelanced with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Philharmonic and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. While in Queensland he was appointed part-time Lecturer in Tuba at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. In 1997 he was a guest soloist at the Brisbane International Brass Festival and in 1999, premiered a work by Paul Dean at the Tubamania International Tuba Conference. In 2000 Andrew was guest soloist for the Queensland Symphonic Winds tour of China. Andrew was appointed Principal Tuba of the NZSO in 2001. In 2004 Andrew premiered Labyrinth as soloist with the NZSO
Vesa-Matti Leppänen is Concertmaster of the NZSO. After completing his studies at the Turku Conservatory and Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, he joined the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the oldest symphony orchestras in Europe. At only 16 years of age, he won the prestigious Heinonen National Violin Competition for young violinists and the same year joined Concordo String Quartet, which went on to win a special prize at the 1989 Tulindberg International String Quartet Competition. Since moving to New Zealand in 2000, Vesa-Matti Leppänen has toured the country as NZSO Concertmaster, soloist and chamber musician, working alongside internationally renowned soloists such as Pinchas Zukerman, Hillary Hahn and Lang-Lang. Leppänen has also performed as a featured soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch Symphony and his solo engagements in New Zealand have included concertos by Mozart, Sibelius, Lalo and Prokofiev.
Leonard joined the NZSO as Principal Percussion in 2006. Prior to this he had been Principal Percussionist of the Auckland Philharmonia since 1997 and has gained a reputation as an outstanding player both as a soloist and in ensembles. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division, then the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Principal Percussionist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Richard Weiner and with Principal Timpanist, Paul Yancich. There he received a BMus degree and received the Bruce Koley Award for Excellence in Percussion. At only 17, he was a finalist in the New York Philharmonic Concerto Competition for Young Artists, and appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra in the Kraft Concerto for Four Percussion and Orchestra at age 19. Since coming to New Zealand, he has appeared as a soloist in the 1998 International Chamber Music Festival, and with Manukau Symphony Orchestra, New Plymouth Orchestra, Auckland University Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia and St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra. He performed in the 2000 New Zealand Festival playing a concert of music by John Psathas (Psathas Portrait) with Dan Poynton. He was also a member of 175 East Contemporary Ensemble for six years. Lenny performed View from Olympus in the Australian premiere with Michael Houston, Marc Taddei and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in 2005, the Auckland Philharmonia in 2006 and the Vector Wellington Orchestra in 2007.
Rebecca joined the NZSO in 1991 and remembers her first concert playing Bruckner 9 with Franz-Paul Decker as a stand-out experience of her orchestral life. Originally from Nelson, Rebecca graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1985 and went on to freelance around the UK and Europe before returning home.
Andrew studied violin performance at Victoria University and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is currently Principal 2nd Violin in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and plays viola for Felix the Quartet, as well as performing in the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra.
Robert Weeks played frequently with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Victorian Philharmonic and various freelance groups before accepting a position in the Victorian Wind Quintet. In 1987 he moved to Perth, Western Australia, where he worked as Associate Principal Bassoon with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra until 2000 when he returned with his family to live in Napier. After several years freelancing with all of the New Zealand orchestras, Robert was appointed as Associate Principal Bassoon in the NZSO in 2007.
Kristina Zelinska studied violin at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kiev. While studying at the Conservatory, she played with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine and Kiev Chamber Orchestra, and toured Europe and Asia. Her family moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1995 and Kristina and her husband decided to join them in 1999. In Christchurch, Kristina continued her studies at the University of Canterbury with Jan Tawroszewicz, gaining her BMHons degree as well as giving numerous solo and chamber music recitals. In 2001, she took up the position of the third chair of first violins with the Christchurch Symphony and in 2005 moved to Wellington to join the first violin section in the NZSO.
British cellist, Ken Ichinose, is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London having studied with Paul Watkins. During this time Ken co-founded the Galitzin String Quartet with whom he performed for ten years completing major tours in the UK, Germany, Holland, Portugal and France. The Quartet were first prize winners at the 2007 Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition. Ken is also co-founder of an annual chamber music festival in Brignac near Montpellier, France, and a founding member of the Kiwa String Quartet, with whom he currently performs. Before joining the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal in 2014, Ken enjoyed 10 years freelancing with London orchestras including the Philharmonia, Academy of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
English-born Rowan has been a member of the NZSO cello section since 1996. She studied cello in Hampshire, England between the ages of 6 & 11 before moving to Christchurch, New Zealand, where she studied with Ellen Doyle and played in the Christchurch Symphony. At the age of 18 she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the R.A.M, she won several prizes and commendations for solo and chamber music performance, including the prize for Most Promising Student in her first year. Once Rowan graduated she spent several years touring Europe, Asia, and New Zealand as part of the Prelude, a duo of violin and cello. Rowan returned to New Zealand in 1990, where she played with the Wellington Sinfonia before joining the NZSO and the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra. She has also appeared as a soloist in the Christchurch Symphony and the Wellington Sinfonia subscription series, as well as performing many solo and chamber music both for radio and CDs.
Alexander Gunchenko was born in Kiev, Ukraine in June 1978. He studied at Lysenko School of Music in Kiev, Ukraine, and at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory (now Academy of Music) 1997-1999, Kiev, Ukraine. At the same time he worked with the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (1997-1999) and National Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra of Ukraine (1998–1999). In 1999, Alexander immigrated to New Zealand where joined Christchurch Symphony and took the position of Associate Principal Double Bass section in 2002. He participated in the NZ National Youth Orchestra in 2001 as an Associate Principal and in 2002 as Principal of Double Bass section. In 2003, he completed his BMus at University of Canterbury with Dale Gold and Edith Zaltzman, and freelanced with major orchestras throughout Australasia before joined the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Alexander undertook masterclasses with Paul Ellison and was invited to study with Jeff Bradetich for the Elite Soloists Masterclasses in 2011. He is a member of the contemporary ensemble Stroma, as well as an active chamber music and solo recital performer.