A celebration of the beauty of chamber music is the focus of a new festival being planned for next year.
‘At The World’s Edge Festival’ is aimed at bringing musicians from across the world and New Zealand to the Lakes and Central Otago districts for a series of performances at a range of venues in Queenstown, Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexandra.
Professional violinists Benjamin Baker, of London, and Justine Cormack, of Queensberry, have been developing the idea for about two years.
Cormack was principal violinist at the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster for the Auckland Philharmonia before spending about 17 years travelling the world performing as one of the founding members of NZTrio.
In the past three years, she and her partner, conductor Marc Taddei, fulfilled a longheld desire to live in Central Otago.
Construction of their ‘‘Wedge House’’ in Queensbury was featured on TV show Grand Designs New Zealand.
‘‘Marc and I have always loved Central Otago.’’
In the forefront of her mind when she moved to the region was finding a way to contribute to the local artistic community.
She began thinking of a festival that would focus on her ‘‘great love’’ of chamber music — ‘‘small ensembles in smaller venues that are really intimate and powerful’’.
Cormack made a connection with Benjamin Baker through the Michael Hill International Violin Competition that takes place every two years in Queenstown.
She has been a judge and Baker has taken part in the competition several times, most recently reaching third place in 2017.
Although for most of his career he had been based in the UK, Baker was born in Wellington and still had a connection to New Zealand.
They realised they both had a similar ambition tocreate something ‘‘world renowned’’ that could occur in Queenstown and Central Otago, Cormack said.
People enjoyed beautiful landscapes and adventures when they visited areas in the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago districts, and their desire was to establish opportunities to enjoy wonderful classical music experiences as well, she said.
‘‘It is very much about connection through the senses.’’
The Covid-19 pandemic had delayed plans but they hoped to launch the festival about October next year.