About Us  


We are currently looking for some new players – particularly upper strings.  If you’d like to join the orchestra, please contact us to check availability of places – we’d love to hear from you.​


We are compiling a database of people interested in our future concerts, so please contact us if you'd like to have your name added.  

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Resonance Ensemble was formed in February 2012 by players, and is now firmly established as an integral part of the musical landscape of Christchurch and beyond.  Recognised as a high-quality, innovative and flexible orchestral ensemble, Resonance provides opportunities for musicians and audiences to experience both popular and novel repertoire beyond the more standard fare offered by Christchurch’s only fully professional orchestra.  Programmes range from music for chamber orchestra, works for larger ensemble, and New Zealand compositions, including new commissions.

The orchestra rehearses weekly, presenting three or four concerts per year, and works primarily with Christchurch-based conductors and soloists.  Conductors have included Tony Ryan, Helen Renaud, Anthony Ferner and Mark Hodgkinson.

Our first concert for 2022 will be 3pm Sunday 19 June at the Piano - so diary the date now. Other dates are 25 September and 4 December. We look forward to presenting wonderful and innovative programmes for our growing and appreciative audience. 

Thanks for your support.

Myths and Legends 
Conductor: Tony Ryan, Soloist: Helen Charlton 
3pm Sunday, 19 June at the Piano

 Dvořák’s Rusalka and Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé are two of music’s quintessential myths and legends.

Rusalka is Dvořák’s best-known opera and brings Slavic mythology vividly to life in the tale of a water nymph who longs to become human and does so with tragic results. The opera’s famous Song to the Moon is among the most loved of all operatic arias. Soprano Helen Charlton sings this wonderful piece, along with the equally well-known Songs My Mother Taught Me from Dvořák’s Gypsy Songs.

Dvořák’s popular Slavonic Dances reflect the pagan beliefs and superstitions of Czech folklore. These dances are full of vitality, colour and energy, and Resonance Ensemble has chosen three from each of the two sets as companions to the two vocal gems by Dvořák.  

Prokofiev’s music for the 1934 Soviet film Lieutenant Kijé is typical of the composer’s quirky, original and engaging style. The film, set in the early nineteenth century, tells the story of an army officer, Lieutenant Kijé, who is invented as a scapegoat by court officials of the Tsar in order to deflect blame for their own mistakes. Things get a little tricky for the officials when the Tsar insists on meeting Kijé, and so they finally have to invent the story of his heroic death in battle.

Later in 1934 Prokofiev rewrote his Lieutenant Kijé film score as a five-movement concert suite. Two of these movements feature an optional vocal part which is rarely performed, but Resonance Ensemble, always wanting to find something a bit different and unusual, is performing the version with singer, once again featuring the wonderful Helen Charlton as soloist.

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Conductor: Tony Ryan

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Tony Ryan is well-known to Christchurch audiences as a conductor, composer, educator, reviewer and adjudicator. As a teacher he led the performing arts at Linwood College for more than thirty years before spending several years working in Kenya and Singapore.

Since returning to New Zealand, Tony has worked as a regular conductor of Resonance Ensemble, conductor of the Christchurch School of Music Sinfonia and, from this year, conductor of the Christchurch Schools Music Festival Orchestra. In September he was due to conduct the massed forces of the Christchurch School of Music in a new commission by Gareth Farr - maybe next year.

Tony’s most recent compositions were performed in 2019, 2020 and 2021, by Resonance Ensemble, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and orchestras from the Christchurch School of Music.

Soprano Soloist: Helen Charlton


Helen Charlton is an experienced Christchurch-based singer, performing regularly as a soloist and choral director. Born and raised in Christchurch, she attended Linwood High School for her senior years, graduated from Canterbury University with a music degree majoring in Performance Singing and Massey University with a Graduate Diploma in Secondary School Teaching. Helen has been involved with performing in opera, oratorio, chamber opera, solo recitals, musical theatre, television, and radio.


Her time is divided between teaching voice, conducting school choirs and barbershop, teaching in her private studio and directing The Canterbury Westland Branch Law Choir.


She has a passion for education through singing and is on the Canterbury/West Coast Committee for the New Zealand Choral Federation as well as National Committee for the Association of Choral Directors. Helen is always delighted to be working with her former music teacher!

Leader: Cornelia Didenco 


Cornelia was born in Moldova, one of the ex-Soviet Union republics and is a graduate of the Moldavian State Conservatorium. She has more than 30 years’ experience teaching and for most of that time has also played in symphony orchestras in both Moldova and New Zealand. During her time in the Moldavian Symphony Orchestra she performed at the Sala Verdi in La Scala, and at other prestigious venues in Italy, Spain. Germany, Switzerland, and Romania.


After emigrating to New Zealand, she joined the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and has also appeared as a soloist and in chamber groups, and as the leader of the Resonance Ensemble. Since joining the CSO she has toured with them to Japan and has performed with celebrities such as Diana Krall, Cliff Richard, George Benson, Serj Tankian, and Andrea Bocelli.