Waikato International Cello Fest 2016

From 21-28 August 2016, the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Waikato will be hosting a musical event of the highest national and international significance. During this week, four of the most renowned cello performers and teachers in the world will be converging on Hamilton, New Zealand for the Waikato International Cello Fest 2016, a grand classical music festival. The event will include concerts, masterclasses, round table discussions, and the inaugural Wallace International Cello Competition for students under the age of 25. The invited guests include: Li-Wei Qin, international soloist and teacher at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore; Wolfgang Schmidt, concert cellist and teacher at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar, Germany; Richard Aaron, the American ‘rock star’ of cello educators from the Julliard School of Music in New York; and Philippe Muller, one of the most esteemed cellists in Europe and long-time Professor of Cello at the Paris Conservatoire. Joining this quartet will be two of the University of Waikato’s brightest talents, Santiago Cañón-Valencia and Edward King, both of whom studied at the Conservatorium, and who now enjoy success on the international stage; as well as the University’s own Cellophonics, the cello ensemble that is renowned throughout New Zealand; and, the Conservatorium’s own Katherine Austin, on piano, and violinist Lara Hall.

The Waikato International Cello Fest 2016 will be held in the Dr. John Gallagher Concert Chamber, New Zealand’s premiere chamber venue, housed in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. All week, the doors of this iconic building will be open to the public to enjoy the musical gifts of the assembled international performers. Between the formal evening recitals, an evening of concertos accompanied by the University of Waikato Orchestra, lunchtime concerts, and a Gala Concert, the Concert Chamber will be vibrating with a wide-ranging repertoire of music, from Bach to Haydn to Beethoven, to the Romantics, and into contemporary works written by New Zealand composers. Audiences will have a chance like few others to traverse the broadest spectrum of classical music over the course of the week.

The festival will also showcase the talents of the young generation of cellists from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and further afield. These aspiring musicians will soak up the wisdom and experience of the international teachers through masterclasses, and will have the chance to demonstrate their abilities in the inaugural Wallace International Cello Competition, generously supported by the Wallace Foundation. Audiences too will be able to witness the learning first-hand, and will gain insights into the nature of classical performing, recording and teaching through the roundtable discussions with the international cellists and other guest musicians.

So, please, spread the word! This unique musical event is an amazing opportunity to savour music at the highest level, to observe our students being inspired by the best teachers in the world, and simply revel in the warm and soulful sound world of the cello.

Tickets are now available from the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts websites. For tickets to individual events, go to, or to secure premium seating at all concerts through the week through a Festival Pass for just $100, go to

Look around the website for information about the FESTIVAL SCHEDULE, NEWS, PANEL DISCUSSIONS, our SPONSORS,  and much more