The Adam Chamber Music Festival prides itself in bringing the best in classical and contemporary chamber music to one of the prettiest corners of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Opening with a Gala Dinner featuring music from Festival guests including the Takács Quartet, the New Zealand String Quartet, clarinet star James Campbell, Hungarian pianist Dénes Várjon and contrabass virtuoso Hiroshi Ikematsu, the biennial Festival celebrates its 17th edition in 2024, from 1 February.

The Nelson School of Musical Arts. Photo supplied

The South Island city of Nelson, 1992. A beautiful tourist spot known for its idiosyncratic crafts, the southern hemisphere’s oldest wooden theatre (the Theatre Royal, built in 1878) and some astonishingly fine scenery.

But it was not, in those days, much of a magnet for the classical music fraternity. All that began to change, however, when a group of musician friends came together to create the Nelson’s first Chamber Music Festival in 1992.

It was a modest affair, says one of that group, violinist Gillian Ansell. She is co-Artistic Director of the Adam Chamber Music Festival with...