From left to right: Matt, Leoni, Andrew, Alix, Megan, Vince, Alexa and John
comprised 2011’s core viola octet.

Members (in alphabetical order):

Vincent Hardaker is a true violist, having played the viola from four years-of-age, playing on a restrung violin as his first instrument. Born and raised in Christchurch his viola studies began with Alistair Sands and in 2009 he continued these studies with Anatoly Zelinsky. In 2010 he began with a year in a Bachelor of Arts programme majoring in German language, but has since moved to Wellington to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree in classical performance under New Zealand String Quartet violist Gillian Ansell. Vince has been an avid orchestral and chamber violist since he was ten and feels that orchestral music is where his career path lies.

Jun He is working towards a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin performance in the New Zealand School of Music, under the tutelage of Dr Martin Riseley. She started her first violin lesson at the age of 4, in Gungzhou, People’s Republic of China. From 1998 October, she studied in University Mozarteum Salzburg Austria in Prof. Harald Herzl’s class. In 2000, she won the first prize of Alpe Adria International Competition in Gorizia, Italy. In 2002, she won the audition of the orchestra academy of Bergischer Symphoniker Solingen u. Remschein Germany for the 2002-2003 season. Jun gained her first Diploma from the Mozarteum in 2001, and graduated in 2005, both awarded with  “Outstanding”-level passes. In 2006, she was invited as soloist to play with the wind symphony orchestra of Private University Hualian in the concert tour including Hongkong, Macao and many cities of Guangdong Province. In the same year, she became a violin teacher in the the Private University Hualian China, until her move to New Zealand.

Alina Junc – a violist at heart but a violinist by training – joined Viola Viva because of her love for music, despite her studying psychology. She has been playing the violin for the past 12 years and completed two years at the NZSM. Some of her past teachers include Dr. Martin Riseley, Peter Garrity and Jan Tawroszewicz. Alina has an active chamber music life and has been fortunate to also perform twice as a soloist for Michael Monaghan Young Musicians Foundation. She hopes to pursue music therapy as a career, and play as much music as she can for the rest of her life.

John Roxburgh recently completed his Bachelor of Music degree and Postgraduate Diploma, majoring in classical performance, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the same field. He participated in the presentation of research at the 2011 International Viola Congress and the Royal Northern College of Music, and performed and conducted in Bradford, England. In 2008 he moved from Dunedin to Wellington for further studies in the viola at the NZSM with Prof. Donald Maurice. John has played with various orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra, the Vector Wellington Orchestra, and the Southern Sinfonia, and will be performing Alfred Hill’s Viola Concerto with the Hutt Valley Orchestra. John is also a closet trombonist, and he has played in a variety of ensembles including a brass band, jazz band, orchestra, and a Ska band called “The ‘Bones.”  Outside of music, John enjoys a variety of sports including Taekwon-do, volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, and foosball (table soccer).

Alix Schultze is completing a Bachelor of Music in violin performance at the New Zealand School of Music, under the tutelage of Dr Martin Riseley. She has played the violin since 1999 and first picked up the viola in 2010 as a second instrument, participating in the performance of Nodaira’s arrangement of the Bach Chaccone. In her spare time she enjoys reading and trying to cook.

Alexa Thomson moved to New Zealand from the USA in 2009. She is currently a second-year student at the New Zealand School of Music, studying with Dr. Martin Riseley. From an early age, she played violin under the guidance of her father, Dr. John Thomson. She was a prizewinner in several American competitions and was selected to be concertmaster of the South Dakota Allstate Orchestra in 2008. Since coming to New Zealand, she has attended the Queenstown Violin Summer School, the New Zealand String Quartet’s Adam Summer School for Chamber Music, performed in the NZSO National Youth Orchestra and has won prizes in the Nelson Performing Arts Competition. She became interested in (and even enjoys) playing the viola, and has performed on this instrument both as a soloist with orchestra and as a chamber musician.

Megan Ward is pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma at the New Zealand School of Music, studying with NZSQ violist Gillian Ansell. She has participated in the performance of doctoral research at the NZSM, linked to the Journal of the American Viola Society. She hopes to pursue a career in chamber music, and has taken part in the New Zealand String Quartet’s Adam Summer School for Chamber Music twice. Megan has been an active participant in the SMP Ensemble in Wellington, which celebrates contemporary music. In what spare time university allows, she enjoys tramping, photography, homebrewing and making music with hippies.

Former members:                                                 

Andrew Filmer is a New Zealand International Doctoral Scholar, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Otago studying the applications of scordatura. He holds a Master of Music degree in viola performance as well as two Leadership Recognition Awards from Indiana University. He was the winner of the David Dalton Viola Research Competition in 2008, and has been published in Strings and the Journal of the American Viola Society. This year he will be presenting research at the International Viola Congress and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He was a member of the staff of Mahidol University’s College of Music in Thailand, and performed as soloist with the Chulalongkorn University Viola Ensemble. He watches with fascination the sport of curling, but does not dare to imagine that he has any adequate skill with a broom.

Matt Prater was born in Christchurch, where beyond his imagination in 1998 he would select one of the most beautiful instruments to carry on through his life. He was a member of the Nelson Symphony Orchestra for two years. He is now a student of the New Zealand School of Music. He studied with Professor Donald Maurice and the New Zealand School of Music, and is currently at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide.

Leoni Wittchow started learning the violin at age 6, and switched to the viola when she was 12. In October 2005 she moved with her family from Germany to Hastings, New Zealand, where she won first prize of the HB Young Musician of the Year, and was twice part of the winning regional group for the NZ Chamber Music Competition. As an active orchestral player, Leoni has played with various youth orchestras across the country, including the National Youth Orchestra from 2006 to 2010, and the Vector Wellington Orchestra. In 2009 she began studies in viola performance at Canterbury University under Jan Tawroszewicz, and, following his retirement, she moved to Wellington to study at the NZSM under NZSQ violist Gillian Ansell. She has participated in the performance of doctoral research at the NZSM, due to be linked to the Journal of the American Viola Society. She completed her degree in viola performance in 2011, and returned to Germany soon after.


One Response to PERSONNEL

  1. Dave Bellinger of the Teleman Society Magdeburg says:

    Have just stumbled across your splendid Ensemble, playing Telemann’s 4 Violina Concerti senza basso! Have you played the A-major One TWV 40:204?? Some dismiss this One BUT it has musical links to other known works! Stay away from an abortive reconstruction of an e-minor Viola Concerto by some chap called Zwinky!! Totally Spurious!! I’d love to hear more from you! ;-))
    One of the UK’s TOP Telemannfreunde & Baroquophiles! Viva Viola Viva!!

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