DISCUSSION: Defining Our Field - what is 'classical music' to us, why are we involved and what can we learn from our differences? Read John Dante Prevedini's essay, watch the panel discussion and make your own comments.
Geoff Pearce is a Kiwi who has spent about half of his life in Australia in two different periods.
Born in Leeston, near Christchurch, New Zealand in December 1955, he spent most of his childhood around the Ashburton area, developing a lasting interest in classical music and meeting his first oboe teacher, Ian Harris, who then played cor anglais with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
At eighteen, Geoff enrolled at Victoria University. He was taught by Ian Harris, Ron Webb and Luigi Ferletti, and completed a Bachelor of Music in 1977. He also taught oboe, worked as a freelance with the NZSO, Wellington Regional Orchestra and Scola Musica, and was a member of the Wellington Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra.
In 1978 and 1979 he played first oboe with the Dunedin Civic Orchestra, also continuing to teach, and then went first to Adelaide to study with Jiri Tancibudek and later to Sydney to play in the ABC Sinfonia and study with Guy Henderson and Josef Hanik.
In 1997 he travelled again to Australia, working for a while in non-musical areas, but has now resumed oboe playing and teaching, and currently lives in Sydney. He loves teaching and has more than forty years of oboe teaching experience. To keep himself current, he has also resumed oboe lessons with Josef Hanik.
New Releases - Keith Bramich describes some changes this magazine is making to its reviewing process, and provides a snapshot of information provided by record labels, promoters and individual artists over the last month
Geoff Pearce listens to works by Eric Biddington
Geoff Pearce listens to 'Lėti' by Gintas K
Music by Wolfgang Rihm, recommended for those who enjoy the challenges of listening to contemporary music
Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music by Poulenc
Geoff Pearce listens to Adrian Williams' Symphony No 1
Geoff Pearce listens to Enescu chamber music
Geoff Pearce listens to the Sibelius symphonies, played by the Oslo Philharmonic and Klaus Mäkelä
Geoff Pearce listens to Richard Strauss played by the Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble
Geoff Pearce recommends Schubert's 'Winterreise', performed by Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis
Music from Central and Eastern Europe for cello and piano
François-Xavier Roth's recording of Debussy's 'Pelléas et Mélisande'
Geoff Pearce listens to Sebastian Fagerlund
Music by Alexander Goedicke for violin and piano
'Nervus Vagus' by Gintas K
Music by Penderecki
'Songs of Travel and Home' performed by Jullien van Mellaerts
Works by Ernst von Dohnányi and Leó Weiner
Geoff Pearce listens to Ilya Gringolts
Geoff Pearce listens to music involving the double bass by Britta Byström, Eduard Tubin, Jesper Nordin and Carin Malmlöf-Forssling
Geoff Pearce listens to music by Xiaogang Ye
Music by Dutch composer Hendrik Andriessen
Riviera Lazeri and David Boldrini play Martinů Cello Sonatas
Willem Jeths' Requiem
Symphonies by Marcel Poot
Geoff Pearce recommends a new Chandos recording of music by Henri Dutilleux
Geoff Pearce is impressed by Mozart Violin Sonatas transcribed and played by oboist Olivier Stankiewicz, accompanied by Jonathan Ware
Music by Roland Dyens played by Anna Mnich and recommended
Music by Paul Hindemith
Geoff Pearce listens to Lieder by Swiss composers Hans Schaeuble, Frank Martin, Peter Mieg, Othmar Schoeck and Arthur Honegger
Symphonies by Daniel Jones
Music by Schnittke for violin and piano
Music in response to Debussy's early death
Volume three of Charles Koechlin's 'Les Chants de Nectaire'
Ballet music by Tcherepnin
A second volume of orchestral music by Austrian composer Hans Rott
Geoff Pearce listens to music by Alexander Rahbari
Music by French composer Florent Schmitt
Music by Bo Holten
Two sets of solo flute music by Charles Koechlin
Geoff Pearce recommends music by Mikis Theodorakis and Jani Christou
Geoff Pearce has a first encounter with the music of Zdeněk Fibich
Orchestral music by Hans Rott
Geoff Pearce recommends accessible contemporary music for cello by French composer Dominique Lemaître, played by Dan Barrett
Geoff Pearce is impressed by Carl Nielsen's music for solo violin and for violin and piano
Geoff Pearce strongly recommends Josephine Knight's recordings of works for cello and orchestra by Robert Schumann and Alfredo Piatti
Further music by the recently deceased American composer Paul Reale
Geoff Pearce listens to music for trumpet by Australian composer Brendan Collins
Thought-provoking music by Naomi Pinnock
Orchestral music by American composer Barbara Harbach
Songs for soprano and ensemble by Symon Clarke
The complete violin and piano music of Lutosławski and Penderecki, strongly recommended
Geoff Pearce listens to the third symphony by Italian-born American composer John A Carollo
Geoff Pearce enjoys piano music by the late Paul Reale, played by John Jensen
Geoff Pearce listens to symphonies by Czech composer Franz Krommer
Geoff Pearce listens to Dohnányi's two piano concertos
Geoff Pearce listens to orchestral music by Albéric Magnard
Music for strings by American composer Paul Reale
Dohnányi's 'The Veil of Pierrette'
Raphael Wallfisch plays cello concertos by Mieczysław Weinberg, recommended unreservedly
Music by Gian Francesco Malipiero
Song cycles by Mahler, Berg and Rhian Samuel, sung by Ruby Hughes with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, impress Geoff Pearce
New music from Apollo Chamber Players
Contemporary orchestral works and concertos by James Lentini, Rain Worthington, Jan Järvlepp, Peter Castine and Beth Mehocic
Villa-Lobos, Bax and Bolcom from Kerry Duwors and Futaba Niekawa
Modern wind chamber music
Geoff Pearce listens to music by Paul Reale
Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music and songs by Judith Weir
Geoff Pearce listens to Ernst von Dohnányi's first symphony
Geoff Pearce recommends Alexander Moyzes' Dances from Slovakia
Baroque oboe sonatas played by Xenia Löffler, strongly recommended
Kim Cook plays music for cello and orchestra by Elgar, Schumann, Dvořák and Strauss. 'The soloist, when she enters, is authoritative, warm and very sure footed, and reveals what a remarkable artist she is.'
Twentieth century oboe sonatas by York Bowen, Petr Eben, Henri Dutilleux, Eugène Bozza, Francis Poulenc and Camille Saint-Saëns. 'What a fantastic and inspiring team Alex Klein and Phillip Bush make.'
Geoff Pearce listens to Martin Setchell playing the Christchurch Town Hall Rieger organ in New Zealand. '... a wide range of organ music that I am sure will delight lovers of fine organ playing.'
Music by Petr Eben for girls' choir. 'This great disc of an exceptional girls' choir performing the work of one of Bohemia's most important voices does not disappoint in any way ...'
Symphonies by Nikolay Myaskovsky intrigue Geoff Pearce. '... the Ural Youth Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Alexander Rudin) plays very well indeed, especially considering the age of the players. I am particularly impressed by the woodwind and brass, which never fail to impress.'
Music by Peter Lieuwen. 'Peter Lieuwen appeals on many different levels, and this offering demonstrates his recognisable and accessible style.'
Geoff Pearce recommends music by Manuel de Falla. '... superb performances by all concerned.'
Piano quartets by Andrew Anderson. '... compelling and unique.'
Orchestral storytelling by Jon Deak. 'The performances here are very good, the music colourful and inventive, and I can imagine that this disc may appeal more to people with children than to adult listeners.'
Seldom-performed Beethoven. '... excellent performances by all concerned.'
Orchestral music by Dmitri Kabalevsky. 'I am pleased to see this interesting disc, as it showcases an important composer from the Soviet era.'
Music for strings by Alfonso Romero Asenjo intrigues Geoff Pearce. 'It showcases the composer's skill in writing for strings, and at the same time one can sense his development as a composer.'
Music for horn and piano. '... two superb musicians enjoying themselves in music which is not well-known ...'
Geoff Pearce listens to music for viola, played by Matthew Lipman. '... a delight for the listener and aficionados of the viola.'
Geoff Pearce listens to music for solo instruments and orchestra. 'The performance is very tight and exciting.'
Rhapsodies for Piano and Orchestra by Matej Meštrović. '... lovers of music that is tuneful and that does not require deep thought will really enjoy this disc.'
Music for oboe and cor anglais by Phil Salathé. 'This composer is technically assured, and has a unique perspective and voice.'
Schoenberg piano music. 'Yoko Hirota's performances here are truly exceptional ...'
Mariss Janssons conducts Bruckner's Symphony No 9. 'The precision, attention to detail, warmth and depth of sound really set this recording apart from the pack.'
Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music by John McCabe and David Ellis. '... superb performances delivered by the Camerata Ensemble.'
New works for large orchestra. 'All pieces on this disc are varied and the performances are satisfying.'
Music for vibraphone and wind quintet. 'There is some great vibraphone and bassoon work here ...'
Kamyar Mohajer's 'Pictures of the Hidden' engages Geoff Pearce. 'The performers here are superb.'
John McCabe's 'lost' Australian recording, commended. 'The music is unfamiliar, but interesting, full of surprises and variety, and the fine piano playing is insightful and committed.'
Orchestral music by Henri Dutilleux intrigues Geoff Pearce. 'The performances by soloists and orchestra are absolutely first class. Dutilleux should be heard much more than he is ...'
Orchestral music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg. 'Serenade Op 47 No 4 ... represents a happier and undemanding part of the composer's output, written, I guess, to appease the authorities.'
Todd Crow's Chopin Mazurkas. 'This disc contains some very fine performances ...'
Orchestral music by Harbison, Ruggles and Stucky. 'On hearing this work, you will thirst for more.'
Orchestral music by Svend Erik Tarp delights Geoff Pearce. '... this disc left me thirsting for more from this composer, and from Scandinavian music generally.'
Music for string quartet by Lyell Cresswell interests Geoff Pearce. 'The Red Note Ensemble, a Scottish group specialising in new music, gives taut, precise performances, played with conviction.'
Music by Paul Reale. '... the musical material evolves as it goes ...'
Twentieth century Polish songs. '... a fascinating journey into the evolving compositional style of Karol Szymanowski ...'
Jenny Q Chai explores sound and colour. 'The pianist is assured, exciting to listen to and totally compelling.'
Music for wind quintet. 'The members of Ventus Machina enjoy this music, as is evident from their well-balanced and joyous playing.'
Early music from Northern Europe, highly recommended. 'These are truly great performances of less familiar music, and all musicians featured are of the finest quality.'
Trios by Schumann, Smit, Mozart and Françaix. 'Music is in fine hands for the future with young artists of this calibre.'
Music by Kara Karayev. '... I think this composer will become more widely known - he certainly deserves to be, if these two quite contrasting and original works are anything to go by.'
Music by Bartók for Piano and Orchestra. 'I would recommend this disc for a great recording of the Piano Concerto No 3 ...'
Martin and Martinu choral music pleases Geoff Pearce. '... beautiful music, lovingly performed ...'
Music by Erkki-Sven Tüür. '... for those who enjoy contemporary music, and like to hear something new and refreshing, Tüür ticks all the boxes.'
J S Bach's 'St John Passion'. 'All in all, this is a fine set ...'
Wind music by Frank Martin. 'The rhythmic precision is impressive, the solos are played confidently and the intonation and quality of timbre of all instruments is absolutely spot on.'
Symphonies by Johann Evangelist Brandl. '... a great disc of unfamiliar music, well played and directed ...'
Chamber music by John McCabe. 'This is a fantastic disc, both for the performances and also for this largely unfamiliar music.'
Orchestral music by Barbara Harbach. 'The musical language is easy on the ear, and to me hearkens back to an earlier age of American Composers such as Aaron Copland ...'
Orchestral works by Martin Georgiev. 'Direction and performances are first class, and for people who appreciate contemporary classical music, there is a lot to enjoy here.'
The Altius Quartet plays Shostakovich. 'I hope that the Altius Quartet goes on to record the whole cycle, and perhaps the Piano Quintets and Trios as well. This is a very fine ensemble of exciting young musicians.'
Nineteenth century music for bassoon and piano. 'For bassoonists, this disc is indispensable. Bravo.'
Woodwind music by Scott Pender. 'This is a fine, enjoyable disc, and the performers are all first class.'
Gustav Mahler's 'Das Klagende Lied'. '... a fine performance of a somewhat little-known work.'
'The Snow Queen' by Kenji Bunch. '... there are moments of terrifying power, and also of great tenderness.'
English music for solo guitar. 'If you love English guitar music, and the performances of Julian Bream in particular, you will truly enjoy this disc.'
Symphonies by László Lajtha, welcolmed. '... the performance and recording are truly first rate.'
Music for clarinet and piano. 'This great disc will bring joy to everyone who listens to it.'
Chamber music by Gerard Schurmann. 'This fine performance is taut, accurate and driven.'
Ravel at his very best. 'The orchestral sound is sumptuous and detailed, and the solo vocalists are all first class.'
Dmitri Shostakovich's complete concertos. '... unreservedly first class, not just for the technical prowess of the soloists and orchestra but also in the artistic vision of all involved.'
Symphonic music by Hendrik Andriessen. 'I am really impressed with the music and the performances on this disc ...'
Chamber music by Marteau and Zemlinsky. '... never boring, but full blooded and passionate. All the players have complex passages and are equal partners.'
New music for piano and Chinese folk instruments. '... quietly expansive and evocative ...'
Mozart chamber music, highly recommended. 'One cannot fault the playing on this lovely disc ...'
Choral music by Jan Jirásek. 'There are some absolutely ravishing vocal passages, and I can't say I have ever heard music quite like this before.'
American orchestral music. '... impassioned and committed performances.'
Symphonies by László Lajtha. 'The fine Pécs Symphony Orchestra responds well to the direction of Nicolás Pasquet.'
Orchestral music by George Antheil. '... the performances are committed and of high quality from all concerned, and the Chandos sound is sumptuous.'
Music by Geoffrey Hanson. 'Performances are superb and everyone is a standout.'
Vocal music by Vincent Persichetti. 'Both singers are fine and expressive, accurately expressing the emotional content of each song.'
Schoenberg's arrangements of Mahler songs impress Geoff Pearce. '... I found this version very interesting and overall, more intimate ...'
Chinese and American art song. 'Juliet Petrus has a very fine voice and whose vocal timbre really sits well with these songs ...'
Dvorák's Slavonic Dances played by the Czech Philharmonic. 'There is balance and lightness here, not achieved by many other orchestras.'
Svjatoslav Richter plays Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky. 'Remind yourself that these are live recordings from 1954-60 and you will enjoy this disc.'
The New York Philharmonic plays Christopher Rouse, highly recommended. '... a fantastic whirl of sound and energy, guaranteed to make the most jaded listener sit up on the edge of the seat.'
Kirill Kondrashin conducts Rachmaninov. 'The final few minutes are electrifying.'
Trio Koch plays Moszkowski, Milhaud and Martinu. '... the players show a superb understanding of the melodic line and harmonic structure ...'
J S Bach, Haydn and Mendelssohn keyboard concertos. '... beautifully played ...'
Music by Xiaogang Ye. '... superbly directed and played ...'
Vocal and choral music by Lennox and Michael Berkeley. '... thrilling performance.'
Som Howie's debut recital. '... a lovely expansive open sound ...'
Folk songs from the Red River Valley. 'The performances and arrangements are unpretentious ...'
Music by Frances White and Valeria Vasilevski. 'Hats off to the four creative forces behind this work. All are exemplary.'
Contemporary music from San José, heartily recommended. '... lovely, approachable music ...'
Sibelius from Munich. '... the orchestra responds superbly to Jansons.'
Wolf-Ferrari's 'The Jewels of the Madonna'. 'Special praise should be given to the musical director, Friedrich Haider ...'
Khachaturian from Dmitry Yablonsky and the Russian Philharmonic. 'The orchestra and conductor are superb, and committed to bringing out the very best of this music ...'
Randall Thompson's Requiem, highly recommended. '... the choral forces and direction are superb.'
Chamber music associated with Frans Preumayer. '... the performances ... were truly marvellous by all concerned.'
Bruckner's Ninth. '... it has all the power it needs. It moves forward and does not get bogged down ...'
Vadym Kholodenko plays Prokofiev. '... a majestic, lovely recording, full of colour and detail.'
Don Gillis' music for wind quintet. '... always well-crafted, easy to listen to and often fun.'
'Feuersnot' by Richard Strauss. '... the orchestra was sumptuous.'
Orchestral music by Louis Babin. '... the string sound of the Moravian Philharmonic is warm and sumptuous.'
Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets. '... a gem of a disc ...'
Erwin Schulhoff for violin and piano, strongly recommended. '... this music really suits these two performers like a glove ...'
Sacred music by Georgy Sviridov. '... beautiful, pure and never forced or showy.'
Danish and Faroese recorder concerti. '... Michala Petri is a champion of this instrument.'
Schumann and Strauss from Grimaud and Zinman. '... a marvelous disc to add to your collection ...'
Sibelius' 'Pelléas et Mélisande'. '... Leif Segerstam shows his love of this music by letting it unfold naturally.'
Prokofiev symphonies. '... Karabits has a real empathy with Prokofiev ...'
Music by Pamela J Marshall. 'The performances are professional and committed ...'
Vocal music by Wagner and Elgar. 'Sarah Rose Taylor's voice is warm and creamy.'
Lithuanian-born pianist Vytautas Smetona. 'His cantabile playing almost transports you to heaven ...'
Music by Malipiero. '... the forces on this disc are well up to the challenge.'
Music by James M Stephenson. '... tight, edgy and quirky ...'
Chamber music by Zae Munn. 'The performances are committed and unified ...'
Piano music by Alexandre Tansman. '... excellent performances ...'
Schubert and Vorísek piano music. '... a truly magical disc ...'
Piano music by Adolf Jensen. '... romantic, strongly melodic and individualistic, but never recorded before ...'
Music by and inspired by Axel Borup-Jørgensen. '... very descriptive, atmospheric music ...'
Vocal music by Michael Murray. 'I could not fault the performances, and believe that they represent Michael Murray's vocal works well.'
Scottish music from young performers. '... beautifully performed ...'
Music by twentieth century women composers. '... the Trio des Alpes is committed and convincing ...'
Moisey Weinberg's Symphonies 5 and 10. '... this music truly speaks with the language of our time.'
Choral music by William Averitt. '... the depth of sound is rich and satisfying, and the performances solid.'
Varda Kotler and Israel Kastoriano. '... partnership and sensitivity ...'
Orchestral music by Alan Hovhaness. '... an almost trance-like mysticism and beauty ...'
Orchestral music by Alexander Zemlinsky. 'The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra responds superbly to John Storgårds ...'
Music by Beth Anderson. 'The performances were well realized ...'
Sydney Hodkinson's Keyboard Odyssey. 'Much of this thoughtful compilation ... is very enjoyable ...'
Contemporary orchestral music. 'Very pleasurable and committed performances.'
Music for recorder and harpsichord from Denmark and the UK. '... this partnership works very well musically ...'
Challenging music for violin and piano. 'This recording is up there with the best of them.'
Piano music by Nils Vigeland. '... the pianistic skills of Jenny Q Chai are quite astounding ...'
Zenia Löffler's Venetian concerti impress Geoff Pearce. 'This disc will not fail to please ...'
Paris Conservatoire connections for flute and piano. '... a good addition to any collection ...'
Handel organ concerti played on the piano. '... the artists are first class, the sound is sumptuous ...'
Eastern European music for bassoon and piano. '... great performances from Maria Wildhaber and her colleagues ...'
Geoff Pearce remembers the New Zealand composer John Ritchie (1921-2014)
Music for violin and piano completely captivates Geoff Pearce. 'The partnership is incredible ...'
Greg Bowers' 'Rational Passions'. '... committed and skillful playing ...'
Vocalensemble Lalá. '... always musical and beautifully under control.'
Geoff Pearce muses on the career of Peter Sculthorpe
Geoff Pearce discusses intolerance in public life
Geoff Pearce asks if we've lost something precious in our search for perfection, and argues for a return to national styles of playing