About us

The Piano is a world class facility for music and the arts in Canterbury, New Zealand. The facility promotes and empowers participation in the arts by providing fit-for-purpose facilities for performances, tuition, creativity, collaboration and connection.
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Overview
History
Trustees
Our patron
FAQs
The Piano is expressed as two principal forms. The Concert Hall and associated front of house Atrium space is clad in curved copper elements with a facade of tall columns and a fine louvre screen reflecting the significance of the new Civic Music and Arts facility.
The Concert Hall adjoins a three story specialist music and arts administration building, contained within a more solid composition of charcoal concrete panels reflecting the nature of the acoustic isolation required for the practice and small performance spaces. Overall large area of the ground floor glazing connect with Armagh Street and the new performing arts precinct to the west.
- Alun Wilkie of Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects

The Piano history

1991-1992
The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions proposed to demolish their former Convent (built 1882) and Chapel (built 1908), which adjoined the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament at 140 Barbadoes St. The ensuing community uproar led to the Christchurch City Council seeking the imposition of a heritage order to prevent their demolition. Negotiations followed resulting in the Council taking out a 60-year lease of the properties. To find a use for the buildings the concept of a centre for music was born and turned into reality by the first Trust Board consisting of Mollie McGrade Clark, Margaret Austin, Sir Miles Warren, Cr David Cox, John Brandts-Giesen, and Christine Low. Restoration of the buildings was funded by; the NZ Lotteries Grants Board, the Trust Bank Community Trust, the Christchurch City Council, and a number of private benefactors.
1994-2010
The Music Centre of Christchurch was opened in April of 1994 and expanded into the adjoining Portery and Hostel in 2002. The Chapel, renamed the Maurice Till Concert Hall in 2009, was the ‘jewel’ in the facility. A wide variety of performances, rehearsals, master classes and competitions took place here. Original permanent tenants included; Canterbury Opera, the Christchurch City Choir, Christchurch Civic Music Council, Christchurch School of Music (CSM) and the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts (NASDA). For eighteen years the centre was a thriving hub for many of the city’s musical community activities.
2011-14
As a result of the 22 February 2011 earthquakes the majority of the the Music Centre buildings were rendered unsafe, the lease was terminated, and all rights in the land reverted to its owners, the Sisters of Our Lady of the Mission. The Music Centre of Christchurch ceased to have a physical presence. Using insurance payments and with valued assistance from the Earthquake Appeal, the Lotteries Community Facility Fund, the Christchurch City Council, the Government, the Rata Foundation together with the support of many others in the community, the Trust Board decided to proceed with a new music centre and engaged Alun Wilkie of Wilkie+Bruce Architects to draw up concept plans for a replacement building.
2014-2016
In an announcement by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Right Honourable John Key, on June 12, 2014, the Music Centre was offered land located in the performing arts precinct identified in the central city rebuild. In May of 2015 Leighs Construction was engaged to build a new music centre and the Trustees renamed the music centre ‘The Piano’ reflecting the curves, and architectural design details incorportated into the design inspired by a grand piano. These subtle references, with elements reconfigured, are there to be seen by a keen eye. The facilities are expressed as two principal forms. The Concert Hall and associated front of house Atrium space is clad in curved copper elements with a facade of tall columns and a fine louvre screen reflecting the significance of this new Civic Music and Arts facility. The loosely rectangular form of the concert hall mimics the classical “shoebox” ratios of the great European concert halls.
May 2016
The trustees invited Matapopore Charitable Trust to help them with an appropriate Maori name for The Piano. The pīpīwharauroa or the shining cuckoo is a bird of significance for Ngāi Tūāhuriri. Pīpīwharauroa are seen as a signal of spring and new beginnings. They are conveyors of messages, singers and entertainers.
September 2016
The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts was officially opened in September 2016.

Trustees

Steve Jones
(Chair) Steve works for Westpac as a Commercial Manager and has done so now for many years. In a voluntary capacity Steve is currently involved in the Leadership Team at the Emmett Street Community Church and has previously been involved as a School Trustee at Windsor Primary School and Shirley Intermediate School for 7 and 3 years respectively and 10 years as a trustee with Shirley District Music School.
Vivienne Davison
(Deputy Chair) Vivienne, until recently was the Manager of the Christchurch Community Arts Council and has a strong interest in Community Arts. Before retirement she was a Principal in primary Schools. Throughout her career she was heavily involved with Music and Drama and has continued this interest since retiring. She is currently also a member of, and secretary to the Risingholme Community Choir as well as a member of the Concerts for Christchurch Trust Board and Arts Canterbury.
Stephen Marshall JP
Steven has long been interested in wanting to better understand and appreciate music. He wants to support the involvement of music in Canterbury and can see that such is more easily achieved with excellent facilities. Having a long career in advertising, promotions and marketing, Steven has been selling real estate from the Fendalton office of Harcourts Holmwood Real Estate since 1989.
Rebecca Stewart
Rebecca grew up in Christchurch and qualified in law at the University of Canterbury. She worked abroad for 17 years, primarily in Guernsey, Channel Islands and the Bay Area of California specialising in the establishment and administration of trusts, companies and asset protection strategies utilising various jurisdictions. Having returned to New Zealand, Rebecca is focussing on trust services and is currently a director of Touchstone Trustees Limited which provides professional trustee services. A keen follower of music, Rebecca especially enjoys choral music and is actively involved in the Christchurch Arts Festival.
Nicki Wood
Nicki has worked within the music industry and is the mother of six musical children. She is the director of several companies and has worked on various committees. Nicki is excited to see the progress of ‘The Piano’ build, and is looking forward to it contributing renewed cultural life to the central city.
Tracey Tyler
Tracey holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Canterbury, and has worked as an accountant since 1987, both in public practice and for private companies. Through her work she is experienced in working with property owning companies, and is a director of two, as well as having served as a treasurer on a number of voluntary committees. Tracey has a keen interest in supporting performing arts particularly orchestral music and live theatre.
Clare Murray
With a Masters in Music from Oxford University, a career as a capital markets lawyer in London followed by an integral role in establishing and growing Murray & Co, a merchant bank in Christchurch, Clare has supported the arts throughout her professional life including as trustee and chair of the Christchurch Arts Festival for 8 years and currently as a board member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. She is passionate about enabling community enrichment particularly through music and the visual arts.

Our Patron

Martin Riseley

New Zealand violinist Martin Riseley studied at Juilliard with Dorothy DeLay, where he completed Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees. He subsequently became Concertmaster of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for fifteen years, where he performed and premiered a large number of concertos. He has played chamber music with some of the leading musicians of our time, including Pinchas Zukerman, Yo Yo Ma and John Kimura Parker, and has held other concertmaster positions, including Interim Associate Concertmaster of the National Arts Center Orchestra, under music director Pinchas Zukerman.
Since returning to New Zealand to be Head of Strings at the New Zealand School of Music he has premiered John Corigliano’s Red Violin Chaconne, given performances throughout the country of the complete Paganini caprices, and teamed up with Diedre Irons for regular recitals, including for Chamber Music New Zealand. He has also made the first CD recordings of some important chamber works of Douglas Lilburn and recorded ‘Meditations on Michelangelo’ by Jack Body with the NZSO and Ken Young, as violin soloist. This recording won a Vodafone New Zealand Music Award for Best Classical CD in 2015. Recently he has recorded works by David Farquhar and toured as a member of the Te Koki Trio. In 2015 he was also appointed Concertmaster of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

FAQs

Where can I park?
Can anyone host an event at The Piano?

Yes, the facilities at The Piano are suitable for a range of events and activities – concerts, workshops, lectures, dance, drama, tuition, art house films, receptions, product and media launches.

When are the facilities available for hire?

The facilities are available for hire throughout the year.

What is the hire rate?

Venue hire cost depends on your requirements.

What does the concert hall rental include?
Hire charges for the Concert Hall include the use of the stage, auditorium, foyer for entrance, full use of the dressing rooms relevant to your performance, house lighting*, cleaning of public foyers, toilets and auditorium and front of House Manager.

*The Concert Hall has fully dimmable house lighting and flexible performance lighting installations. Hirers are required to use The Piano’s preferred technical suppliers and caterers.

If I want to contact you, when are you open?

The office is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 – 5pm.

Can we bring in our own refreshments?

Through our in-house caterers we can provide drinks, snacks and cold food. Hirers and their attendees should not bring in food or drink excluding water bottles.

In regard to the room set-up, is this something we do ourselves or can you do this for us?

We can set the room up for you to your specifications. There is a cost for this service. Otherwise you are welcome to set the room up, as you would like.

Is there somewhere to leave rubbish after an event?

Any rubbish accumulated during an event we would ask you to take with you. There is a cost for our staff to do this if you would prefer.

Are there any other restrictions?

Bicycles and animals are not permitted. Attachments to walls or any part of the building is not permitted.