Nikki Chooi
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The season brings nine concerts to centres around New Zealand and as well as the five string quartets, it features a piano/percussion concert with Bartok’s rarely performed masterpiece ‘Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion’; the return of the popular Eggner Trio with guest, Berlin Philhamonic principal viola Amihai Grosz; Michael Hill Violin Competition winner Nikki Chooi’s winner’s tour; and a very exciting project that brings together the New Zealand String Quartet with the world-famous Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra from China.

I was also pleased to catch up with two inordinately gifted young artists headed for fast-track careers, Canadian violinist Nikki Chooi and Chicago-born cellist Cabezas. Both were joined on Monday evening by violist Matthew Lipman and Lepauw for a program of chamber music by Beethoven, Schumann and Alfred Schnittke. Such was the finely honed unanimity the musicians brought to these scores that you could well have mistaken this ad hoc ensemble for a seasoned chamber group. Chooi, Lipman and Cabezas brought controlled intensity to the Schnittke, an unsettling if gripping essay in pain, bitterness and, at the end, numbed resignation.

- John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Violinist Nikki Chooi led the way, at times with excitable, even risky, abandon, always with a glowing tone.
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Semi Finals of the Queen Elisabeth Violin Competition Soloist : Nikki Chooi Pianist accompanist : Takashi Sato