Tour adventures across the Tasman

Keep Up With The Play
Part 3. Tour adventures across the Tasman

Photography by Andrey Gugnin  and Anne Rodda

Do you remember how the Winners’ Tour started? It felt like yesterday when Ioana and Andrey met for the first time in the Sydney International Airport. Early last week they flew back to Sydney thanks to performances offered to them by Musica Viva Australia. Ioana and Andrey performed at the Melbourne Recital Centre and at The Independent Theatre in Sydney.

Both of our musicians were no strangers to the Australian land. Having a different itinerary agenda, Ioana and Andrey both had a chance to explore the smallest continent in the world a few years back.

Ioana was lucky enough to be a part of the performance group that joined a two-week cruise ship trip from Auckland to Sydney. The musical group performed chamber music concerts, and had lots of time to explore the cities on the tour which was a fantastic experience for the whole crew – the visitors and performers too, including our beautiful Ioana. Win-win for everyone.

The winner of the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition, Andrey Gugnin, had his solo winner’s tour around Australia in 2017 when he toured around 33 cities in 70 days. Based on that past experience, Andrey is genuinely grateful for the touring itinerary of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition Winners’ Tour and sees it as a great advantage that brings a perfect work-travel balance into the life of the touring musician. Win-win for everyone.

The fact that our duo has two programmes to perform also adds the value into their touring approach. Both Ioana and Andrey had to invest a lot time into the rehearsals at the beginning of the tour. After spending some time getting to know one another, and undertaking lots of practice, they now feel very comfortable with each other that has a positive impact on the level of the performance. The passion for the music drives the creative forces, their energies intertwine, and explode in a musical synergy that leave the audience speechless. Win-win for everyone.

The Australian trip was short and sweet. Our duo had little time between the shows. They met the sunset in the Sydney harbour and had a lovely dinner with Sir Michael and Dene Olding (Artistic Adviser).

The Australian audience treated our guests with huge support and appreciation. One of the reasons is the exciting folklore part of the programme that is especially appreciated by everyone. At the beginning of the tour Ioana suggested Andrey they programme the Enesco Violin Sonata into the programme. Andrey got very excited about that idea as he’d wanted to play it for a very long time. The Russian pianist likes this piece because it represents the perfect balance for the creativity: you have the certain musical border and rhythmic Romanian folk frames to create within. This is a wonderful challenge for musicians, and for the audience who has previously not being exposed to that specific music language before. Our great duo takes the vibrant contagious energy of that folklore piece to the next level, so everyone in the audience across New Zealand and Australia enjoys the fascinating and elevating experience.

This Winners’ Tour music programme landed back safely to Auckland where Ioana and Andrey had some free time that included a beach walk, climbing on top of Mt Eden, doing some laundry! and squeezing in a final fitting session with designer Kiri Nathan for Ioana’s gown (part of her first prize haul).

The performances came back on track as Ioana and Andrey headed to Whangarei to give an exciting Friday night for the Northlanders. There were a few scenic stops on the route as well as visiting the original Michael Hill shop in Whangarei, where it all started 50 years ago.

Stay tuned with our blog series to see how the rest of the Winners’ Tour is going for Ioana and Andrey, as they had the awesome performance nights in the capital and continue to delight the audience with their talent and music choices around the North Island.

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