Bright Skies

Live at 5pm, Sunday 15 September

Whittakers are delighted to welcome back violinist Cathy Irons and pianist Flavio Villani.

The concert has an eclectic programme featuring pieces by Dvorak, Liszt, Guns n Roses, Ottorino Resphigi and Ernst Bloch. A unique addition, Eugene Ysaye’s Aurora Sonata will be accompanied by a slide show of Cathy’s then-to-be husband, Stephen Irons when he stayed in Antarctica in 1988 as part of the overwintering scientific research team at the South African base. The music is evocative, gently sweeping and soaring, as it captures the moods and colours of the polar lights.


Cathy Irons (violin)
Cathy Irons performs first violin regularly in the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO), including roles such as acting assistant concertmaster. She tours baroque, classical and jazz concerts regularly throughout NZ. A founding member of the Tres Cordes String Trio, she has toured for Chamber Music NZ. Festivals Cathy has played at include the IceFest Festival, the Platform Festival, the NZ Jazz and Blue Festival, the Body Festival, the Dunedin Fringe Festival, the Chinese Spring Festival and Arts Festivals in Christchurch and Nelson. Further afield, she has performed in Europe, Japan, Australia and South Africa. Recent performances include a recital of Australian and New Zealand women composers with violinist-violist Dr Joanna Drimatis at the “Women in the Creative Arts” Conference in Canberra, Australia, and Tres Cordes String Trio performances with guest pianist Alfredo Montero at the Deia Festival in Mallorca, Spain. In 2015 Cathy had the privilege of performing on Michael Hill’s personal violin, Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, 1755, named “The Southern Star” in its first NZ public recital. Cathy is currently Head of Community Engagement for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Flavio Villani (piano)
After achieving his Masters in Piano Performance with first class honours under Stephen De Pledge at the University of Auckland, Flavio has continued to perform many recitals as a soloist as well as in different chamber formations extensively in New Zealand. He has played in various festivals including the Venice Biennale (2011) for the exhibition and installation of the New Zealand pavilion, “Lamezia Festival” (2013 and 2014), and other festivals in Italy, Spain and New Zealand. He performed Rachmaninoff Concerto n.2 with the Orchestra Filarmonica of Calabria in Italy, with the Orchestra of CalArts in Los Angeles and the New Plymouth Orchestra. In 2016 he also performed with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra the fun Warsaw Concerto. Flavio returns to NZ from a recent Italian tour as part of the Orion Trio. He is also a founding member of the Villani Piano Quartet which toured for Chamber Music NZ in 2016.

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