Majestic culmination with masterful symphonies, sonatas and string quartets. Explore the lives and works of influential Musicians and Composers

This series follows some of the most influential Musicians and Composers of all times and how their works influence is seen in others works even today.

Tuesday 7 March, 10:00am – 12:00pm

David Popper (1843–1913) – the last true virtuoso?

Presented by Associate Professor Martin Rummel
Konzertexamen (Musikhochschule Köln), Diplom (equal MMus, Musikhochschule Köln), DipMus (Bruckner-Konservatorium Linz)

The son of the cantor of the Jewish community in Prague, David Popper was appointed to the role of principle cellist at the Vienna Court Opera in 1867 (and as such played the first notes in public at the inauguration of what is now known as the Vienna State Opera building with the opening cello solo of Rossini’s “Wilhelm Tell”) before embarking on an international solo career. Later in his life, he was appointed by Franz Liszt to the Music Academy in Budapest and became not only one of the foremost teachers of his time, but also enjoyed a late career as a chamber musician, performing with the world’s most eminent musicians of the time, like his friend Johannes Brahms. Other than today’s specialists in one of these areas, Popper was probably the last musician to reach such excellence in all four possible areas of his field.

About the presenter

Associate Professor Martin Rummel is not only the last pupil of the legendary William Pleeth, but with nearly 50 internationally available CD albums one of the most distinguished cellists of his generation. He continually gains worldwide praise from press for his recordings of previously undiscovered music (eg works by Joseph Merk for Naxos and the cello concertos by Andrea Zani for Capriccio). As a soloist and chamber musician, he is a regular guest with orchestras or at festivals and venues throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. As a pedagogue, he is the editor of an acclaimed series of editions of all major cello etudes for Bärenreiter, and after teaching cello studios in Germany and New Zealand, he is currently Head of School at the University of Auckland’s School of Music. Being a passionate curator, he is the owner and mastermind of the Vienna-based company paladino media (with its labels KAIROS, paladino music, Orlando Records and Austrian Gramophone).

Tuesday 14 March, 10:00am – 12:00pm

From written page to printed page – how music notation has influenced the development of music.

Presented by Peter Watts

Was Guido d’Arezzo the most important figure in the whole history of Western music? If you’ve never heard of him, all that is about to change.

Before the days of digital technology, before compact discs, long playing records and tape recorders, before wax cylinders, before printing even, the only way to record your musical ideas for future performance was in hand-written music notation. Peter Watts explores the ground-breaking, innovative advances made by 11th century music theorist Guido d’Arezzo, as he tried to develop a way to perform music that didn’t involve long hours of memorisation. Using many illustrations from music of the time, Peter introduces this fascinating period of history and the changes that Guido’s inventions brought to the musical landscape of the time. Then he goes on to explore the music of the great 16th century English composer William Byrd, whose musical output was greatly influenced by another great innovation, music printing.

About the presenter 

Peter Watts teaches in the Music School at the University of Auckland. He has interests in both the performance and the theory of music. He was for many years music director of Auckland Choral and this gave him the opportunity to work with many of New Zealand’s leading soloists and orchestras. In 2011 he was responsible for training and conducting many of the anthem choirs at the Rugby World Cup games. He has recently been chair of the panel of adjudicators for the Big Sing National Finale.

Peter is also busy as a chamber music player working with singers and instrumentalists and he has a passion for making the mysteries of music theory and history clear and relevant. He examines internationally for Trinity College, London.

In 2005 Peter was awarded MNZM for services to choral music.

Tuesday 21 March, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Maids of Melody: New Zealand’s jazz women

Presented by Aleisha Ward

Women have long played significant roles on New Zealand’s jazz scene as instrumentalists and singers. While many people recognise the names of successful male jazz musicians (such as Nathan Haines), the same cannot be said for women. From 1920s multinstrumentalists Dinah and Marjorie Greening, to mid-century powerhouses pianist Nancy Harrie (our most sought after jazz accompanist) and vocalists Esme Stephens and Mavis Rivers, through to today’s performers and composers, such as trumpeter/vocalist Edwina Thorne, and organist Adrienne Fenemore, women have always been more than just the girl singer (even if they are singers!). This seminar will explore some of the talented women who helped shape the local jazz scene and shine a light on this secret history.

About the presenter 

Aleisha Ward holds a PhD in music from the University of Auckland where her thesis was on jazz in New Zealand 1920-1955. She is a freelance historian, writer, editor, lecturer, and tutor in music history and is the assistant editor (Australia/New Zealand) for She writes about jazz in New Zealand for a number of publications including and New Zealand Musician. Aleisha is also the 2016/2017 Auckland Libraries Sir George Grey Researcher in Residence investigating the jazz age in Auckland.