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Christopher’s Classics Series XXIV presents “Mark Menzies & Colleagues”

May 21, 2019 @ 7:30 pm

$20 - $45

 Sunday Classics Inc

Christopher’s Classics Series XXIV programme – 2019

Mark Menzies and Colleagues

The Piano, 156 Armagh St, Christchurch

Tuesday 21 May 2019, 7.30pm


Mark Menzies and Gayle Blankenburg, piano; Justin DeHart and Roanna Funcke, percussion

George Crumb – Music for a Summer Evening for two amplified pianos and percussion (1974)

Claude Debussy – En blanc et noir for two pianos (1915)

Steve Reich – Nagoya Marimbas for two marimbas (1994)


What an exhilarating concert this will be!

Maverick American composer George Crumb is noted for the emotional appeal of his music, rooted in Western music but venturing out into the world of natural sounds and acoustic phenomena. Fragments from other composers such as Strauss and Chopin float through his works, but settle in strange places – his work is known to delight and terrify musicians in equal measure! All four musicians will perform.

Next up – Debussy’s En blanc et noir, referring to the black and white keys of the piano, is one of the last works of Debussy written when he was struck with cancer. Working with musical ideas that would normally call for the full colours of the orchestra, he consciously restricted himself to the ‘monochromatic’ sound of two pianos. “These pieces need to draw their colour, their emotion, simply from the piano, like the grays of (painter) Velazquez”. World War I weighed heavily on Debussy. The first movement is full of romantic passion, the second comes close to ‘tragic grandeur’ and the last movement, while playful and virtuosic, remains deeply ambiguous throughout.

Steve Reich’s ‘Nagoya Marimbas’ was commissioned by the Conservatory In Nagoya in honour of the opening of the Shirakawa Hall. This piece “…is somewhat similar to my pieces from the 1960s and ‘70s in that there are repeating patterns played on both marimbas, one or more beats out of phase, creating a series of two part unison canons…..However…this piece is considerably more difficult to play…and requires two virtuosic performers.”

Door sales: Cash & Eftpos $45; full-time students with ID, $20

Online tickets Eventfinda– additional fees apply

www.facebook.com/christophersclassics  www.christophersclassics.nz/

Media contact Diana Moir, 021 126 5738  dhmoir2212@gmail.com




Mark Menzies brings an extraordinary depth of experience as a violinist, violist, conductor, pianist and composer – and a widely recognised international reputation as a teacher, researcher and instigator to his position as Head of Performance at the University of Canterbury.

After completing his MusB(Hons) at Canterbury in 1988, he studied in London, Indiana, and the University of California San Diego, where he completed his PhD in 2010. The repertoire Professor Menzies presents ranges from the very old to the very new, and he has premiered many significant new works to audiences across America and other countries. He performs regularly as a soloist and in ensembles, appearing as guest artist in places as far-flung as Greece, Iceland, Brazil and Japan.


Gayle Blankenburg has performed extensively to great critical acclaim as a solo pianist, chamber musician, and vocal accompanist.  She has performed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, at the Cooper Union and the National Opera Center in New York, and in Vienna in a residency at the Schoenberg Institute.

Ms. Blankenburg was a student of the distinguished pianists Menahem Pressler (of the Beaux Arts Trio) and Abbey Simon at Indiana University, where she received both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance. She is currently on the piano faculties of the Claremont Colleges, teaching at Pomona College and at Scripps College.

The Los Angeles Times has reviewed her playing on numerous occasions, saying, “Blankenburg played with elegant power and poise… Her crisp touch and light pedalling produced crystalline, pensive, haunting sequences….”


Justin DeHart, from Sacramento, California, is a GRAMMY-nominated performer of contemporary musical styles from classical to pop, and from world to electronic.  He is a current member of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet and has performed with the San Diego Symphony, pipa master Wu Man, and various pop legends, including Cheap Trick.

Justin holds a B.M. degree from CSU Sacramento, a M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts, a D.M.A. from UC San Diego, and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for percussion studies in India.  He is a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Canterbury, and a Yamaha Performing Artist.  His debut solo album ‘Strange Paths’ was lauded as “mesmerizing” by Percussive Notes for his “…palette of sounds and intricate weaving of lines.”


Roanna Funcke completed her MusB(Hons) Percussion at the University of Canterbury where she has also served as a tutor in percussion performance. She is Associate Principal Percussionist with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and also performs with Pandemonium and the Christchurch Bicycle band. Roanna has been “Artist in Residence” at three Christchurch Schools. She has toured internationally with the National Band of NZ and Woolston Brass, and studied marimba performance in America. Roanna is Assistant Music Director and percussion tutor at the Christchurch School of Music.


Christopher’s Classics

The Christopher’s Classics programme, founded by Christopher Marshall, showcases some of New Zealand’s finest musicians. Further concerts in the 2019 series feature The Morton Trio, 22 Aug; and Les Bon Vivants, 3 Oct.



Our thanks to The Rata Foundation, Gloria Streat, Antonio Strings, Chamber Music New Zealand and private donors, whose patronage grants and sponsorship make these concerts possible.


May 21, 2019
7:30 pm
$20 - $45


Christopher’s Classics


The Piano
156 Armagh Street
Christchurch, 8140 New Zealand
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