Violinist Amalia Hall returns to NZ for an eclectic mix of performances

by Elizabeth Kerr / 28 November, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Amalia Hall violinist

Concertmaster: Amalia Hall.

Amalia Hall is back in the capital to take on Michael Norris’ whirling dervishes, among other things.

Violinist Amalia Hall is one of this country’s hottest young musicians. In her teens, she won every major classical music award in New Zealand, and she has since garnered several international competition prizes. Appointed concertmaster of Orchestra Wellington last year, Hall’s recent international engagements have taken her to England, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Germany and Italy.

After touring with the NZ Trio and returning to Uzbekistan to play all five of Mozart’s violin concertos in one show, she is in Auckland on November 29 as a guest soloist in a performance of Claire Cowan’s Stark, part of A Woman’s Place, a suffrage commemoration concert by the Auckland Philharmonia. Two days later, she’s back with Orchestra Wellington for New World, a performance that features the world premiere of New Zealand composer Michael Norris’ violin concerto Sama, as well as a Mozart overture and a celebration of Dvoák’s “New World Symphony”.

Concertmaster, chamber musician, concerto soloist – is that variety working for you?

In music and life, I’m hungry. I crave a bit of everything. Orchestra Wellington is perfect because it’s not full-time – I can fit in other things. It makes me really happy to work across different platforms and it helps my development – chamber music helps playing a concerto; being assertive enough to be a soloist helps with recitals and with teaching.

Do you have a favourite role?

I can never get enough chamber music. I’m the youngest of four children and played with my family quartet from the age of eight. It’s so rewarding to create something incredibly intimate together. The recent NZ Trio tour was called Twine and that’s a great image, musicians entwining themselves with the music to make a single strand.

You’re still in your twenties – what have been your major career turning points so far?

Post-grad study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia was one – that incredibly rich, inspiring environment changed my life. It’s a small institution; the 80 or so faculty are top musicians and you could have coaching from any of them. But graduating and leaving for the real world was also crucial – learning to trust my own judgment. Part of a musician’s growth is finding a balance between criticism and self-confidence.

What are the challenges of this new Norris concerto?

It has great depth of contrast with different atmospheres and soundscapes, from lyrical high passages to crazy virtuosic ones. “Sama” is a Sufi ceremony with dancers called whirling dervishes. The soloist creates that whirling. It’s very intense – I can’t wait to hear it with the full orchestra.

A Woman’s Place is at the Auckland Town Hall on November 29. New World is at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, on December 1.

This article was first published in the December 1, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Mapping the second brain: The latest science on the effect of your gut bacteria
104884 2019-04-24 00:00:00Z Health

Mapping the second brain: The latest science on th…

by Donna Chisholm

Most of us have heard the five-plus-a-day message for fruit and vegetables. But new research into gut health suggests that advice may need tweaking.

Read more
How a mother and daughter changed their diet to manage irritable bowel syndrome
104896 2019-04-24 00:00:00Z Nutrition

How a mother and daughter changed their diet to ma…

by Donna Chisholm

A mother and daughter with irritable bowel syndrome say that diet was the missing ingredient in controlling the condition.

Read more
Lack of humility is Simon Bridges' fatal flaw
104881 2019-04-23 00:00:00Z Politics

Lack of humility is Simon Bridges' fatal flaw

by Graham Adams

After low polling and even louder caucus rumblings, you’d expect to see at least a flicker of fear in the eyes of someone threatened with an axe.

Read more
Sri Lankan government's social media ban wrong move after terror attacks
104949 2019-04-23 00:00:00Z World

Sri Lankan government's social media ban wrong mov…

by Meera Selva

Sri Lanka has temporarily banned social media and messaging apps in the wake of the coordinated Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels.

Read more
Why do some dramas require the female protagonists to be total idiots?
104764 2019-04-23 00:00:00Z Television

Why do some dramas require the female protagonists…

by Diana Wichtel

Diana Wichtel reviews SoHo 2’s Cheat and Lightbox’s BBC thriller Trust Me.

Read more
Why the typical NZ household is undergoing a revolution
104877 2019-04-23 00:00:00Z Property

Why the typical NZ household is undergoing a revol…

by Shamubeel Eaqub

We’re living in different places, having fewer kids, living longer and getting older, perhaps lonelier, and the idea of a family has become more fluid

Read more
Detour off E Street: Steven Van Zandt’s solo excursion to NZ
104828 2019-04-22 00:00:00Z Profiles

Detour off E Street: Steven Van Zandt’s solo excur…

by Russell Baillie

The Springsteen sideman and ‘Sopranos’ star is reviving his own music career.

Read more
Rethinking the Kiwi dream: How New Zealanders live now
104848 2019-04-22 00:00:00Z Property

Rethinking the Kiwi dream: How New Zealanders live…

by Sharon Stephenson

Would you live with your ex? New Zealanders increasingly live alone or find creative ways to house themselves.

Read more