Mr F in the press

Anna Im won the 2019 Michael Hill International Violin Competition

Anna Im won the 2019 Michael Hill International Violin Competition

Busy times & A Fine Balance

The calm after the storm. It’s a beautiful time to breathe, and reflect on what’s gone before and what’s ahead…

Michael Hill International Violin Competition

In May, our world exploded with the 10th biennial Michael Hill International Violin Competition, and not just because of the exquisite talents of 16 of the world’s best 18 to 28 year old violinists. An accordion player from Queenstown also stole the hearts of everyone in the concert hall.

There is a section in the Michael Hill - one of the worlds’s foremost violin competitions and the finest classical music competition in Aotearoa - called Ad Libitum (at pleasure). It is the only section in which the competitors are permitted to choose their own piece of music. The rest of the competition is founded on a rigorous portfolio of repertoire designed to challenge each artist and highlight their technical skills. Ad Libitum, on the other hand, is a chance for the esteemed panel of international judges to see the violinists’ personalities and creativity, and to hear them speak - presentation skills are, after all, extremely important for international soloists.

“There’s always one” is a phrase that springs to mind, having experienced to three competitions now. As in, there’s always one competitor who surprises and delights the audience with their consummate consideration of how they can bring themselves to their Ad Libitum. In 2017, New Zealander Benjamin Baker collaborated with a choreographer and performed a violin piece in extraordinary time with a stunning dance-based short film - a music-video-with-live-performer, of sorts.

This year it was the German Competitor Matthias Well who delivered the goods. And, ooh, it was good.

In preparation, Well had contacted the Competition to see if he could please be introduced to a local accordion player who might accompany him for two Russian Folk songs - “Those were the days” and “I’ve met you / Mama“ - in his Ad Libitum. He was put in touch with a beloved Queenstown local, Mark Wilson, who is blind.

Wilson jumped at the chance. He learned the pieces by ear and the two didn’t rehearse together until Well arrived in Queenstown in the week of the Competition. However, even with only a few face-to-face conversations under their belts, their connection was palpable, their spirits aligned and their performance simply delightful.

We, too, jumped at the chance to tell the world - literally - about this. Thankfully, Stuff, The Project (below), The Otago Daily Times, Radio NZ, and even an international web sites The Violin Channel and Musical Chairs got on board to help us tell this lovely story.

We also secured an array of coverage across all media dimensions, including this cool story about social media’s impact on musicians, this NZ Herald Viva beauty, this piece in the Chinese Herald, a great story on SkyKiwi, a number of stories with NZ Korea Post such as this one, an array of stories in the Otago Daily Times, and much more.

The two performers were invited to perform again at the Competition’s Grand Finale. You can watch the full performance below

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - The NZ Mix Tape

In our job, we are lucky enough to sometimes get the chance to meet people we admire very much - and it’s always heart-warming to discover they are as lovely as the picture you have created in your mind.

With the APO’s NZ Mix Tape concert on 11 June, we met three wonderful, talented, professional and delightful performers - Anna Coddington, Nadia Reid and Liam Finn - who pulled off an epic concert of old and new Kiwi classics with the mighty orchestra behind them.

We were lucky, also, to find that they were all very amenable to publicity.

Liam did a lovely warm interview on The Project, below.

Anna let Stuff into her stunning, musical home.

Nadia Reid had a great chat with NZ Herald’s Richard Betts for NZ Herald Time Out (and it was so good it was swallowed by the Herald’s hungry Premium pay wall).

Liam found time in his busy schedule of making music and being a new Dad to talk to NZ Listener.

And two of NZ’s Greats of composition and arrangement, Graeme Downes and Victoria Kelly, had a brilliant and engaging chat with Noelle Thomson on Radio NZ Saturday Morning. #Preach

A Fine Balance

Speaking of two Greats, Auckland Theatre Company and Prayas Theatre collaborated this year to present the theatre adaptation of the brilliant and award-winning, Man Booker nominated Rohinton Mistry novel, A Fine Balance.

The official, technical PR term for the amount of coverage obtained in this campaign is that it “vomited all over” the press. For example:

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Some of the above include The Spinoff, NZ Herald Viva, NZ Herald 12 Questions, NZ Herald Canvas (we know - we LOVE them). But wait, there’s more. The coverage continues even after opening, such as Stuff, and meanwhile the reviews are nothing but glowing. *wipes hands in satisfaction*

And, you know what? That’s just a taste of what’s been going on in the magical, musical world of Mr Fahrenheit Publicity. Travelling at the speed of light and making a supersonic woman of you…and all that.

Right now, though, we’re off to meet Stuff and open the Aotea Square Ice Rink, prepare ourselves and a few media tastings for the GABS Craft Beer, Cider and Food Festival on 29 June (see Siobhan’s desk below), and the following week’s opening of Auckland Live’s Elemental Hub which includes the Auckland Night Markets at Aotea Square and these adorbs little Snugs, which you can dine in!

There’s no rest for the wiiiiiiiiiicked.