Vivaldi at the Sarjeant
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Vivaldi at the Sarjeant

From Left: Angela Wu, Pamela Dowsett, Felix Brookie, Enshean Lin, Jessica Kidd and Annie Hunt.

Spring, summer, autumn, winter will dance past in an hour of music and poetry at Sarjeant on the Quay, Sunday 3 September at 4.30pm. Te Awa String Ensemble and two soloists, directed by Pamela Dowsett, will present “The Four Seasons” by Vivaldi as part of the Musicians at the Sarjeant fundraising for the redevelopment of the Gallery in Queens Park. John Scott will accompany the performance with sonnets attributed to Vivaldi.

The ensemble, recently formed by Ms Dowsett, who plays the violin, includes Sarjeant Gallery Assistant Curator, Jessica Kidd (violin), Annie Hunt (cello) and Felix Brookie (viola). The soloists Angela Wu (16), and Enshean Lin (14), are two of Ms Dowsett’s pupils.

An internationally experienced performer, freelance teacher and examiner, Ms Dowsett moved to Whanganui from Levin with her husband Colin in December last year. Mr Dowsett is a guitarist and they play gypsy jazz together.

Originally from Brisbane, Ms Dowsett has a Master Diploma in piano and violin from Queensland and has studied in Brussels, Switzerland and London. She was soloist and principal player with Australian symphony orchestras and has performed in Singapore, Paris, Bonn, Rome and the United Kingdom. She lectured for a number of years at Otago University and taught at three conservatoires in Brittany, France where she and Mr Dowsett also ran a B&B from a 200 year-old stone cottage. She is currently teaching at Wanganui Collegiate, as is Ms Hunt, and gives private lessons.

Ms Dowsett said she has formed a string ensemble wherever she has lived and that her most advanced students have featured as soloists. Her student soloists for “The Four Seasons” are both from Taiwan.

“A string ensemble is important in giving people the experience of playing together. My two students are quite outstanding. Enshean Lin from Palmerston North is a regular prizewinner and recitalist in the city. Last she year achieved her A Mus NZ (Associate in Music), which is quite an achievement at that age and this year she was chosen as the youngest member of the National Youth Orchestra.”

“Angela Wu is a Year 12 student at Collegiate and has been in New Zealand just four years. She’s also a regular prizewinner and you see her often on the concert platform. Angela was a member of a local piano trio, which was the winner of the Chamber Music NZ competition. She is a versatile musician – equally proficient on violin, flute and piano.”

When Ms Dowsett came to a concert given by Ingrid Culliford at the Sarjeant she met Jessica and they “hatched the plan together” to play at the Sarjeant.

“I thought what a great venue, lovely wooden floors. I think it’s a real asset in the town. I’ve been all over the world living in different places. I think the Sarjeant is a little star. I hope they put a good piano and harpsichord in the new building. You could have an exhibition around it related to music.”

Ms Dowsett said she enjoys the atmosphere and the simplicity of life in Whanganui.

“You can get to the bank in five minutes, walk over the bridge to the farmers’ market. It’s very lovely.”

Helen Frances


This story was first published in the Wanganui Chronicle on 29 August 2017
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