2021 Summer School Christchurch

Rangi Ruru Girls' School
Rangi Ruru Girls’ School
Merivale Lane, Merivale, Christchurch

14 – 20 January 2021

Course Fee: $1,770. (including GST)

Closing Date for Applications – 27 November

The Chiron team is excited to announce that in January 2021 we will be holding our first ever summer school in Christchurch! Taking place in state of the art facilities at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, and featuring a final concert in Christchurch’s stunning new concert hall The Piano, the Chiron Summer School will give music students the opportunity to work with some of New Zealand’s finest teachers on violin, cello, flute and piano.

Teaching Staff

Rae de Lisle – University of Auckland & Chiron Group NZ
Richard Liu – Chiron Group NZ

Justine Cormack – former violinist of NZTrio
Stephen Larsen – University of Auckland & Chiron Group NZ

James Bush – Chiron Group NZ
James Tennant – University of Waikato

Grace Liu – Chiron Group NZ

Tim Emerson



All students will take part in a varied and stimulating programme, including:

  • 4 x solo instrumental lessons (1 hour each)
  • Daily chamber music rehearsals and coaching
  • Workshops in stagecraft with a professional actor from the Court Theatre
  • Participation in masterclasses
  • Performance opportunities in both solo and ensemble repertoire
  • Daily schedule: 9:30am-6:00pm


The final concert will be held in The Piano at 7:00pm on Wednesday 20 January.


Students from outside of Christchurch will be responsible for organising their own accommodation. However, the organisers are happy to assist with arranging billeting with Christchurch families as needed. Any Christchurch families who are able to help in providing accommodation for students from out of town, please let us know.


Lunch will be provided each day.
Dinner will be provided on the night of Tuesday 19 January only.
– The cost of these meals is included in the course fee


Rangi Ruru Girls’ School is consistently one of the top-performing schools in academic and performance music in New Zealand.   Music is integrated into the heart of the Rangi family, well beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. Girls are featured in every facet of school life – as soloists, in small and large ensembles, and as creators of original music. Strong connections are forged with local and national music organisations, with Rangi music alumni maintaining strong relationships through inspiring girls with their experiences and journeys. Through this approach, girls gain skills and dispositions to contribute positively through music to communities they may become involved in beyond school.


James Bush

JAMES BUSH (cello)

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, James studied with Ellen Doyle before leaving to complete his undergraduate studies with Christopher Bunting and Derek Simpson, graduating with first-class honours from the Royal Academy of Music, London. This was followed by a Master of Music degree with Timothy Eddy at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. James later studied baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai and Markus Möllenbeck at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin.

Winner of the Television New Zealand Young Musicians Competition and the National Concerto Competition of New Zealand, James has appeared as soloist with all of New Zealand’s major orchestras.

James has been invited to teach, coach and give masterclasses in situations as varied as the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the University of Hong Kong, the National Youth Orchestra of Catalonia and within New Zealand as a special guest at the IRMTNZ National Conference.

James’s long and continuing association with the Swiss-based Jonas Foundation, a foundation working to combat the social exclusion of young people through music, led him to found a music school in the poorer eastern suburbs of Berlin, which he directed for 7 years.

Advanced studies in England, America and Germany, have given James a broad knowledge of the prevalent streams of pedagogical thinking. His teaching philosophy includes a special interest in encouraging children to learn to improvise within classical models.

Grace Liu

GRACE LIU (flute)

Grace’s musical education included studying with Zurich Opera’s principal flautist Maria Goldschmidt at the Zurich Academy of the Arts, where she graduated with First-Class Honours, as well as her Master’s studies with Mario Ancillotti at the University of Music in Lugano. She has also received influential training from such masters as Sir James Galway, Felix Reggli, Aurele Nicolet, Peter Lukas Graff and more.

Grace has performed as principal flute in orchestras throughout Europe, working with well-known conductors such as Giorgio Bernasconi and Denis Fedeli. In 2010, she collaborated with Swiss pianist Ulrich Koela in a series of solo recitals, and participated in the performance and recording of the modernist ‘Nine Flute Concert’ at Lugano Broadcast Music Hall. Grace holds the position of Head of Music School with the Chiron Group, and has recently been appointed as an Artist Teacher at the University of Auckland School of Music.

Richard Liu


Born in Taiwan, Richard Liu graduated with a MMus with First Class Honours in Piano Performance at the University of Auckland and a MMus in Accompanying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London with a full bursary. He studied under Bryan Sayer, Rae de Lisle, Sarah Watkins, Donald Bowick, Susan Tomes, Graham Johnson, Eugene Asti and Robin Bowman. After returning from his studies in London, he worked in various different roles as an artistic teacher in piano performance, artistic teacher in-studio piano pedagogy, voice coach, staff accompanist, and assistant to various teaching studios at the University of Auckland.

He has collaborated with various organisations including Auckland Choral, Voices New Zealand, University Singers, New Zealand Opera, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Opus Orchestra, Waitakere Orchestra, Queenstown Violin Summer School and Westlake Girls High School. He was a tutor for the former University of Auckland Academy of Music and the Pettman National Academy. He now coordinates the piano program at Albany School of Music & Remuera Music Academy, as well as adjudicating regional competitions, and examining for NZMEB.

Past and Present student success include KBB National Secondary Chamber Music Prize, student selected for the National Young Musician of the Year, Wallace National Junior Piano Competition finalist, regional competition prizes, students gaining overall top mark in ABRSM exam, gaining entrance to piano performance program at the University of Auckland, Manhattan School of Music, Royal Welsh Academy of Music & Drama, Sydney Conservatoire and Singapore Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

Tim Emerson

TIM EMERSON (piano accompanist)

Tim is a highly regarded New Zealand piano soloist, teacher and accompanist with over 25 years of experience as a private music teacher. He has taught chamber groups and conducted master classes and seminars aimed at both advanced music students and professionals.  Over the years he has enjoyed performing throughout the world in solo piano recitals, as an accompanist, a choral singer and as a professional cruise ship musician.

He has a wealth of experience as a music educator and performer, with proven ability to meet student’s diverse needs and capture their interest and imagination.  Currently based in Christchurch, he is the Head of Piano at the University of Canterbury and is in constant demand as a soloist and collaborative pianist.

Justine Cormack


As a freelance violinist, Justine collaborates broadly as soloist, chamber musician, guest-concertmaster and orchestral violinist. As a Creative Performance Coach, Justine supports musicians worldwide to maximise their performance success and enjoyment through insightful mind+body awareness.

From 2002 to mid-2017, as a founding member and violinist of NZTrio, Justine was instrumental in the commissioning and performing of close to 40 works from NZ composers, proudly showcasing these compositions within the trio’s diverse programmes on the national and world stage. This commitment and passion for promoting New Zealand music saw the trio honoured with a KBB Music/CANZ citation in 2012 and the Lilburn Trust Citation in 2017 for outstanding services to New Zealand Music.

During her fifteen years with NZTrio, the group collaborated broadly across the arts spectrum, working with animated film, contemporary dance, theatre, voice, as well as cross-cultural musical works with masters of Maori taonga puoro, Chinese guzheng, and Cambodian traditional instruments. They performed throughout New Zealand, Australia, Asia, South America, the USA, Europe and Scandinavia.

An active recording artist, Justine has recorded Douglas Lilburn’s Piano and Violin Duos with pianist Michael Houstoun. During her time with NZTrio, they built up a varied catalogue of recordings resulting in many nominations for awards. Their collaborative ‘classical-meets-jazz’ album, Vicissitudes with the Mike Nock Trio, was a finalist for Best Jazz Album in the 2017 Jazz Awards and their CD Sway won the ‘Classical Artist of the Year’ award in the 2017 Vodafone Music Awards.

In 2015, Justine recorded Chris Watson’s ogee – for solo violin and orchestra with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – subsequently nominated as a finalist for the 2019 SOUNZ Contemporary Award.

Justine’s notable orchestral career saw her appointed to NZSO Sub-Principal 1st-Violin in the 1990’s, followed by Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia from 2000-2004, where she was regularly featured as soloist. During that time, she was also involved within the first four international judging panels of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

A graduate of the University of Canterbury, Justine has a Masters degree from San Francisco Conservatory and a Doctoral degree from Stony Brook in New York. She has taught violin at Wellington’s Victoria University and held a position as Violin Lecturer at The University of Auckland.

Justine plays a 1868 J.B.Vuillaume violin.

Stephen Larsen


Stephen is one of New Zealand’s preeminent violin and viola teachers, with former students now working in prominent positions in New Zealand and around the world.

Since 2004 he has taught in three of New Zealand’s universities; the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington (2004), the University of Canterbury (2005-2013) and the University of Auckland (2014 – present). During this time his students have made a significant impact on the New Zealand musical scene, playing in orchestras such as the NZSO, APO and CSO, and regularly winning prizes in all of our major competitions. They have gone on to post-graduate study in leading institutions in the United States and Europe, and have made their mark internationally, working in orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the London Mozart Players, as well as belonging to chamber ensembles including the London-based Marmen Quartet (winner of both the Bordeaux and Banff International String Quartet Competitions). Equally important are the students whose career paths have moved from the violin into other musical areas; professional conductors, pianists and composers are amongst those who have spent significant amounts of time working with him.

Stephen’s own musical influences are many and diverse. He spent 6 years in Christchurch studying with the outstanding Polish violinist Jan Tawroscewicz, and since then he has made numerous trips to all corners of the globe to observe teachers at institutions such as the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler (Berlin) and the Royal College of Music (London).

From 2020, along with his work at the University of Auckland, Stephen is taking up the position of Artistic Director of Chiron Group New Zealand, including the Chiron Charitable Trust and associated music schools. This position will involve oversight of the Chiron Group’s musical activities, which aim to have a profound impact on music education in New Zealand.

Rae de Lisle

RAE DE LISLE (piano)

Dr Rae de Lisle is currently Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Auckland. Following 8 years of study and performing in London Rae became one of New Zealand’s foremost concert pianists, touring regularly for Chamber Music New Zealand, playing concertos with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and recording for radio and television.

Rae’s teaching has produced many outstanding young pianists, including prizewinners in the Sydney International Piano Competition, the Lev Vlassenko Australasian Piano Competition, the Bradshaw and Buono Competition in New York, and the Perrenoud Foundation International Piano Competition. Her students have won all the major piano competitions in New Zealand. She received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University in 2011.

Rae is Artistic Director of the Wallace National Piano Competition and the Wallace International Piano Festival. She was on the jury for the 2012 Dublin International Piano Competition and the 2009 Singapore National Piano Competition and has been adjudicator many times for the NZCT School Chamber Music Contest. In 2011 she received the Marie Vandervart Award for outstanding service and commitment to fostering the love of chamber music in New Zealand.

Rae’s PhD research into focal dystonia, the most devastating of musician’s injuries, has resulted in specific concepts about instrumental retraining which led to presentations and keynote speeches throughout the world. She is now working on a book focusing on the development of injury preventative piano technique at every level, from the beginner to the advanced pianist.

In 2016 Rae was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music.

James Tennant


Cellist, James Tennant, has enjoyed an esteemed and lively career as a concert cellist, chamber musician, teacher and arts instigator throughout many continents of the world, nevertheless, he calls New Zealand home.

James’ main artistic inspirations through the years have been William Pleeth, Arthur Rubinstein, Gidon Kremer, Natalia Makarova and Bruce Lee, all who have played an important role in developing his artistic vision. As a cellist, James has studied with William Pleeth and Jerome Jelinek while enjoying master classes with Janos Starker, Gregor Piatigorsky and Leonard Rose.  He graduated with Distinction from the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Michigan, and during these years performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under such inspirational conductors as Klaus Tennstedt, Fruhbeck de Burgos and Leonard Bernstein, and for pocket money, he recorded with all the Motown greats of the 70’s.

James has performed numerous concertos with the Auckland Philharmonia, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Colombia, Orquesta de Cali and the Dunedin Sinfonia among others.  And he has shared the concert stage performing chamber music with leading musicians Piers Lane, Karin Adam, Dene Olding, Patricia Wright, Alexa Still, Michael Houstoun and the New Zealand String Quartet.

As a chamber musician, James was a founding member of the Trio Mozart, Vivo String Quartet, Ogen Trio and the New Zealand Chamber Soloists and has performed regularly with pianist Katherine Austin as the Tennant-Austin Duo. 

James has conducted orchestras in the USA, Colombia and New Zealand including the St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta de Camera de Bogota, Ensemble Musical de Popayan and the University of Waikato Chamber Orchestra, with whom he was the Music Director of five world premieres of operas by David Griffiths.

James has taught at the Universidad del Cauca and Conservatorio Nacional de Colombia (Colombia), Auckland and Canterbury Universities (NZ).  His students have achieved numerous successes in national and international competitions. Past students include Santiago Canon Valencia (most recently, Silver medal winner of the Tchaikovsky International Cello Competition 2019), Edward King, Matthias Balzat and Sai Sai Ding. He has initiated such musical ventures as the 2016 Waikato International Cello Fest, Nelson International Chamber Music Festival and Summer School, CadeNZa, the Belli Celli and the Rotorua International Chamber Music Festival.

At present James is currently Head of Cello Studies, Chamber Music and Orchestral Studies at the Conservatorium of Music of the University of Waikato. He has created a unique Soloist Specialisation course and along with other performance staff, offers over 70 concerts a year for the students to develop their expressive personalities through regular performance opportunities. With his Conservatorium of Music students, he has created the ensemble Cellophonics – New Zealand’s highly regarded cello ensemble – and for the past 14 years been its Musical Director.

James plays an 1898 Ernesto Degani.