The Chiron Charitable Trust exists to foster the next generation of New Zealand classical music as it becomes the current generation. At the Trust’s launch, around a hundred attendees had the opportunity to sample some of the best of that music – as well as snapper sashimi and Geraldine goats’ cheese.
The black-tie event took place in the Concert Chamber of the Auckland Town Hall on the third of November. Anne Rooda, the executive director of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, compered. After the entree-sampling was finished, the first wave of conversation subsided for a performance by the Remuera Music String Ensemble: the Corelli Christmas Concerto. A three-course dinner followed, with performances by those to be awarded scholarships later in the evening. Kaylee Cai and Annie Ye, the two recipients of the Junior Scholarship – both under thirteen – performed Fauré’s Berceuse on two pianos. Lorna Zhang, Damon Herlihy-O’Brien, and Shuan Liu, three of the four recipients of the Senior Scholarship (the fourth being Benedict Lim) performed the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Trio in d minor, on violin, cello, and piano respectively. The Trust’s Young Artist, violinist Diane Huh, finished the performance, playing Ravel’s Tzigane with Sarah Watkins on piano.
After dessert – choice of chocolate fondant or crème brûlée – a panel discussion was held. Mark Hornabrook, trustee of the CCT, talked over the process of making donations to the Trust, while Stephen Larsen, Artistic Director of the CCT, talked about what those donations result in, what he and the Trust look for in a young student: how long it takes to detect promise, the skill of helping students overcome existing bad habits, and the breadth of knowledge a student needs to become a good musician. After the discussion, scholarships were awarded, Junior scholarships coming with up to $4’000 toward the cost of education anywhere in New Zealand, Senior scholarships $8’000, and the Young Artist Award $20’000.
The evening finished with an auction presided over by Webb’s Auction House, the proceeds going toward the Trust’s educational work, toward the scholarships of future years. Among the items on offer were wine from Waiheke Island, Burgundy, and Bordeaux; sorghum spirit in a special-edition chocolate-brown bottle; fifteen lithographs by Colin Macahon; an educational tour of universities in the United States or the United Kingdom, donated by Crimson Education; and a Steinway grand. With the Trust’s fruits so amply demonstrated by the enjoyable evening that preceded the auction, as well as the excitement of the items themselves, bidding was merry. The guests went home with high spirits, and with interesting spirits as well.
– Written by Jack Larsen