...I couldn’t really hope to hear a more engaging, more deeply touching, and more understanding reading of this incredible music. Very great honour to the Aroha Quartet and to Andrew Joyce for giving us such a memorable experience....
(Peter Mechen - Middle C)
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 12:00pm

17 November 2014 - Yes, it was a long time ago, but I vividly remember every little detail surrounding the first public appearance of the Aroha String Quartet. I am David, the Slav, a devoted follower of Symphonic and Chamber Music. I had this great privilege, pleasure and fortune to have been in the circle of close friends to Haihong, Beiyi, Zhongxian and Jiaxin, wonderfully talented musicians who created the Quartet ten years ago.

I was blown away with their emotional power, enthusiasm and relentless genuine joy of playing the music which brought their heart together. From the day one, their play radiated with energy and love, which was able to crawl the skin and even shed a tear of those who listened with open heart. Their subtlety and polished academic perfection, made those who criticise, to openly admit: This was truly extraordinary…

I am absolutely sure that all of you, who are the fellow friends of Aroha, know all his. I just couldn’t resist to say at least how much I appreciate their music, and how much this close proximity to the Quartet meant to me.
I also had a chance to do some digital recordings at their very beginnings. Their maiden public performance happened on the 5th December 2004, in the same Old St Paul Church, where they plan to play their anniversary concert this December.

It was a gruesome weather, rainy, windy and unpleasantly chilly… Wellington greeted Aroha in its “best”. And I am sure you will all agree: nothing beats Wellington when it comes to a colourful weather games. St Paul is a wooden church. The wind blasts were howling in the high ceilings, making the creaking sounds. It would be a perfect background for some black and white horror movie. But definitely not for digital recording of classical music, with sensitive studio microphones. And just when I was thinking what to do and how to place the recording equipment, two mid-aged couples approached me and engaged in a conversation (with quite a strong German accent): What is all this? Recording some halleluiah church singing? No, not quite, I replied with smile… and I explained… the Aroha, the program and everything else… That could be interesting one of them commented… my wife Berta plays violin for 18 years and I am a piano teacher… so we shall be a tough critics… besides, it is so terrible outside, that we’d better stay – said Manfred - with cheeky smile. To make all this even more fun, I said: OK dear Austrians, if you are not happy after the concert, I will not only pay your money back, but will shout you with a drink.
The concert was impressive. So was the official critics next Monday. Manfred’s lot came to me with smile, and this is what he said: Thank you for making us stay. We really, really enjoyed their play,.. We could never even imagine that a Chinese Quartet can so impressively play the German music… But one thing we did not understand: you said that is their first public appearance. But they sound like they play at least 10 years together and tour the World. Our compliments…

I was very proud on their comment, and I wanted to finish it in style. So I said: Dvorak is not quite a German, but thank you guys. Enjoy your New Zealand trip… As we all laughed, I made them even happier greeting them in fluent German….

Happy anniversary Aroha…
David, The Slav