01 Mar 2011
Victoria University of Wellington has conferred an honorary degree on one of New Zealand's finest musicians, Michael Houstoun.
Michael Houstoun is an acclaimed musician, with an unmatched record in international competition by a New Zealand pianist. After winning every significant prize for pianists in New Zealand by the age of 18, he went on to place at three of the world's most distinguished piano competitions: Van Cliburn (1973), Leeds Piano (1975), and the Tchaikovsky Competition (1982).
In 1981 Houstoun made the decision to return to New Zealand and devote his life to music here. He has performed regularly with every professional ensemble in New Zealand, and frequently appears with smaller ensembles around the country.
His repertoire includes many world premieres of New Zealand composers alongside the traditional piano repertoire. Composers who have written for him include Jack Body, John Psathas, Christopher Blake, Kenneth Young and Gareth Farr.
In 2008 his solo CD of New Zealand music Inland was named the Best Classical Album at the New Zealand Music Awards and he was awarded a Lilburn Trust Award for his services to New Zealand music.
Professor Pat Walsh says Michael Houstoun's services to New Zealand music have enriched our musical culture, and provide a source of inspiration for the New Zealand School of Music, a joint venture between Victoria and Massey universities, based in Wellington.
"Through his commitment to live and work in New Zealand he has contributed substantially to raising the standard of expectations for classical performance, and helped to establish an international standard of musical excellence in New Zealand, which is being built on by the New Zealand School of Music."