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, 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.  Recent conductors have included Tony Ryan, Helen Renaud and Anthony Ferner.

The 2020 concert programme has been disrupted (as have performances worldwide) by the covid-19 pandemic. 


However, as well as the forthcoming Liberation concert on 23 July, there will be a further concert in September - more details to come. 

Book now for our next concert:
Thursday 23 July, 7.30pm, at The Piano

At last we’re able to return to live public performances now that we’re liberated from lockdown. So please join us for this special out-of-lockdown concert.  Tony Ryan conducts a programme with a strong liberation theme, including his own most recent composition The Lockdown March written in May this year during Alert Level 4.

Beethoven’s Incidental Music to Goethe’s play Egmont is also very much about liberation; in this case the liberation of the Flemish people from Spanish invaders. Soprano Helen Charlton joins us for the two vocal numbers from Beethoven’s Egmont music.  The Barber of Seville tells the story of Rosina’s liberation from the scheming clutches of her elderly guardian Doctor Bartolo; the famous overture from Rossini’s opera opens our programme.  Two of the orchestra’s string principals, Cornelia Didenco (violin) and Janet Cubey (cello) feature in short concertante pieces by Massenet which are also closely linked to our concert theme – the popular Méditation from the opera Thaïs and the strikingly beautiful string orchestra prelude The Last Sleep of the Virgin.

The major works on our programme are both by Schubert. His Symphony No. 6 (The Little C Major Symphony) is a sunny, optimistic piece, while the Great Ninth Symphony lay buried among the composer’s manuscripts, only to be liberated from obscurity in its first performance eleven years after his death. Our concert will end with the glorious third movement from Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C Major (The Great).


Conductor: Tony Ryan

Tony is well-known to Christchurch audiences for his work with various professional organisations, but also particularly for his leadership of performing arts at Linwood College for more than 30 years, including as conductor of the Linwood College Orchestra culminating in an exhilarating European tour in 2011.  

Now returned after five years living and working in Kenya and Singapore, Tony is again fully involved in the Christchurch music scene, composing , conducting and reviewing.  As well as Resonance, he conducts the CSM Sinfonia and ISO, and regularly contributes reviews of  concerts, opera and music theatre to The Press, RNZ Concert and Theatreview.  During the  recent lockdown due to covid-19, he has composed new works, including the Lockdown March, which will feature in Liberation, on 23 July. 

He is greatly enjoying music-making of the highest level with this outstanding ensemble.

Soprano Soloist: Helen Charlton

Helen 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 currently preparing for a Lunchtime Recital on 10 August in the Great Hall of the Arts Centre but will always make time to work with her former music teacher!

Violin Soloist: 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 performed with celebrities such as Diana Krall, Cliff Richard, George Benson, Serj Tankian, and Andrea Bocelli.

Cello Soloist: Janet Cubey

Janet has played the cello since she was seven, and it has always been an important part of her life. Orchestras have always featured prominently, including leading the cello section of Woking Symphony Orchestra for 15 years and spending 10 summer holidays in the Minehead & Exmoor Music Festival Orchestra. However, her work in the UK was as a professional horticultural botanist and it was only with moving to Christchurch in 2018 that she took the opportunity to adjust the balance and develop a dual career in botany and music, both performing and teaching.


Joining Resonance Ensemble almost as soon as she arrived in New Zealand, a highlight of 2019 was performing Bloch’s Prayer from Jewish Life in Akaroa. As well as supporting the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Orchestra when needed, Janet also had the joy of joining Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for their Compassion concert shortly before lockdown began. Lockdown was spent trying out new solo repertoire, joining Suzuki teacher training workshops and playing as part of the international Covid Cello Project. But nothing replaces the experience of playing in an orchestra and Janet can’t wait for the forthcoming Liberation concert.

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© 2020 Resonance Ensemble

Christchurch, New Zealand

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