12 Aug 2021

On the road with Vieux Amis

From Upbeat, 12:04 pm on 12 August 2021

"It's been a wonderful gift to be able to do this."

Words from Justine Cormack, the violinist in chamber music trio Vieux Amis.

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Vieux Amis at their last performance together in 1999, 22 years ago. Photo: Supplied

She and fellow group members, James Bush (cello) and Sarah Watkins (piano), are just over halfway in their national 12-concert tour.

There was a moment when it felt like it might not happen, so they are incredibly grateful to be on the road.

The musicians and friends - old friends, it turns out - have only recently come together, but have the benefit of knowing each other all their lives.

Justine and cellist James were originally performing in group Les Voisins with Australian theorbo player Simon Martyn-Ellis. However, when Sydney went into lockdown they knew they would have to change tack. In came Sarah to save the day. 

"Both James and I were thrilled that Sarah was able to join us," Justine says.

Host David Morriss asks her whether being friends makes playing together any easier...

"It doesn't automatically mean you'll gel, but we know our playing styles and approach to music.

"It's hard to imagine the rapport we have wouldn't transfer into our playing. There is a real sense of comfort and understanding. It certainly feels lovely to us," she says.

Vieux Amis are playing at The Piano in Christchurch tonight, with a programme that ranges from Bach to Shostakovich, before heading to Warkworth north of Auckland.