Two well-known New Zealand musicians give candlelit performances of Classical and early Romantic pieces on period instruments, transporting the audience to another place and time.
Douglas Mews was born in Cheam, Surrey in 1956. He began playing the organ at St Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland, where his father (and first organ teacher) was choir conductor. He studied organ and harpsichord with the late Anthony Jennings at Auckland University, followed by harpsichord studies with Bob van Asperen at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague.
He is now a freelance musician, teaching at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington and directing the music at St Teresa's Catholic Church. In 2010, he recorded a CD on the Wellington Town Hall 1906 Norman and Beard organ for Priory Records’ ‘Great Australasian Organs’. His most recent CD (released in 2012) is 'The Lost Chord', also recorded at the Wellington Town Hall.
Douglas performs on a Broadwood square piano built in 1843. The piano previously belonged to the Tait family who emigrated in the 1870s from Lerwick in the Shetland Islands to live in the Aro Valley, Wellington, where the piano still resides.
Robert Ibell was born in Dannevirke in 1961 and brought up in Palmerston North. While training there as a school teacher, he learned cello from Judith Hyatt in Wellington.
From 1986 to 1992 Robert lived in London, studying cello with Tania Hunt, Derek Simpson, and Christopher Bunting. He played at music schools and in masterclasses (where his teachers included Alexander Baillie, Steve Doane, Anner Bylsma and Steven Isserlis), taught, gave recitals and played in professional and amateur orchestras.
Since 1993 Robert has been a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He is also an experienced chamber musician, touring regularly for Chamber Music New Zealand. Formerly the cellist of the Nevine Quartet, Robert has been a member of the Aroha Quartet since 2009. He also plays in contemporary music group Stroma and is a Recording Artist for RNZ Concert.
Robert plays a superb 18th Century cello by an unknown Italian or German maker, gifted to him by Judith Hyatt. The cello had previously been owned by Greta Ostova, a Czech, who escaped the Nazi occupation to arrive in New Zealand in 1940, later becoming a founding member of the National Orchestra (later the NZSO).