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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Tenants
History
Trustees
Our patron
Staff
FAQs

Our Tenants

We're lucky to have some beautiful office spaces available for hire, and a wonderful bunch of current tenants.

Meet the people and teams who currently call The Piano their second home!
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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.

Our Trustees and Patron

Andrew Hunter - Chair
Andrew holds an Engineering degree from the University of Canterbury and has worked across various technical, marketing and commercial domains. Over the course of his diverse career, he has gained a depth of strategic experience and developed an aptitude for working with people from all walks of life. A highly capable leader, Andrew ensures all voices are heard and all opinions are valued and considered.

“Music has a way of connecting with people’s physical senses and heart emotions – it’s like a window into an artist’s soul. I feel privileged to play a part in continuing the important legacy of encouraging music and the arts in a world class facility like The Piano.”
Steven Marshall JP
With a formidable career in real estate behind him, Steven brings significant expertise in brand, sales and marketing to The Piano board. Appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2015, Steven enjoys helping others in the community. His innate curiosity makes him willing to ask common sense questions and he carefully considers all points of view in the decision-making process.

“It’s a wonderful feeling being part of an organisation that provides plentiful opportunities to young performers. Artists and musicians add so much colour and interest to our lives. The Piano is an exceptionally well-appointed and equipped venue that really helps them shine.”
Rebecca Stewart - Deputy Chair
Rebecca is a Christchurch-born qualified lawyer, with a wealth of international experience in trust management and governance. She specialises in the establishment and administration of trusts, companies and asset protection strategies, and is currently a director of Touchstone Trustees Limited. Her keen interest in music and sharp legal mind make her an immensely valuable asset to the board.

“It’s a pleasure to be part of the team that provides this wonderful facility. Creativity is what enables us to connect with a diverse range of people. I see it in my own children as they grow to love and experience music.”
Nicki Wood
As the mother of six musical children, Nicki proudly champions the impact The Piano makes on the renewed cultural life of our central city. Along with her own experience in the music industry – including being a vocalist for a Christchurch produced television Pop music show – she is now the director and owner of several companies and is well-versed in finance and staff management.

“One of my favourite sayings is ‘where words fail, music speaks.’ It’s very fulfilling to see The Piano provide our city with a legacy of excellence where future generations can learn, perform and entertain.”
Tracey Tyler
Tracey is chair of the Finance Committee, bringing with her skills earned from over thirty years working as an accountant for both public practice and private companies. Her expertise in stakeholder management and investment are a welcome addition to the board, along with her eye for detail. In a private capacity, Tracey is involved in commercial property investment and has served as treasurer on a number of voluntary committees.

“My passion for the arts largely stemmed from nurturing a (now grown up) son who learned violin from age 5 to gain his Associate of the Royal Schools of Music diploma. I’m proud to contribute to a venue where local and overseas musicians can perform at the highest levels.”

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.

Staff

Bronwyn Bijl
Director
Georgia Marchand
Associate Venue Manager
Nicci Best
Front of House
Hannah Everingham
Front of House & House Tech
Tom Hunter
House Tech

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.

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.

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, Front of House Manager and Ushers.

*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 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Are there any other restrictions?

Bicycles and animals are not permitted.