The warm sonorities of their instruments inspired Heleen and Yoshiko to explore further the repertoire possible on their combination of instruments, after forming their duo in 2014 to perform the NZ premiere of Peter Klatzow’s A Sense of Place, which Heleen had commissioned for her project “Cello for Africa” exploring the notion of music, people, belonging and place. On this tour they share a diverse programme that brings together Tchaikovsky, Arvo Pärt, traditional Japanese songs and the infectious rhythms of Atanas Ourkouzounov. They have also commissioned Wellington based Gareth Farr to write a new worth for marimba and cello that will be performed on this tour.
Yoshiko Tsuruta began playing the marimba as a primary school student growing up in Japan. After relocating to New Zealand, she graduated from the New Zealand School of Music before studying music in Europe. Since returning home to Aotearoa she has won several competitions and played concertos with many regional orchestras.
Originally from South Africa, Heleen lectured in cello in Pretoria for 15 years before taking up a position at Otago University. Dunedin is now her base from which she has a busy career performing concertos, as part of various chamber ensembles and with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.