Biography

Violinist and composer Fiona Pears started performing as a soloist with orchestras at the age of twelve. Now based in both New Zealand and London, she has forged a career as an international soloist and recording artist.

Fiona started the violin at the age of five after hearing a performance by Carl Pini where she fell in love with the sound of the instrument. In an interview with the Otago Daily Times she said, “Apparently I stamped my feet and cried ‘I want a violin’, and I got one in my Santa stocking that year!”

By the age of twelve, Fiona was performing concertos with local orchestras on both piano and violin. In the same year she went on to lead the Christchurch Youth Orchestra and co-lead the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra where she won two national music competitions, one in piano and the other in violin. Fiona then joined the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra at the age of fourteen.

"Banish from your minds all preconceptions of orthodoxy in the world of the violin. Fiona Pears has largely rewritten the script"
 The New Zealand Herald 2012

By the time she was eighteen, Fiona had formed an interest of many different kinds of music and started to explore Jazz, Gypsy, Latin and Celtic styles.  She spent several years playing in a swing jazz group which recorded for Radio New Zealand and appeared at festivals nationwide. 

In her early twenties, Fiona started to write her own music. She wanted to create something fresh and to fuse together the styles of music she loved to play. Since then Fiona hasn’t looked back. She has gone on to release six CDs and two DVDs of her own music. Her 2008 release Fire and Light saw the realisation of a long held dream. Fiona wrote twelve of the fourteen tracks and arranged them for band and full orchestra. She took the compositions to the Czech Republic and recorded them with the City of Prague Philharmonic.

Her 2012 CD Feeling features some of Fiona’s most beautiful compositions to date. As with all of her pieces, people and places have influenced their creation. On the liner notes of the new album Fiona says, “All of my compositions have stories. I don’t think I would be able to write if it was not for the stunning people in my life and also the wonderful opportunities I have had to travel to so many interesting places around the world.”

The brand new CD Swing Driven Thing is released worldwide in April 2014 to coincide with her NZ tour of the same name.

“This CD is a little different to my other releases. People have been asking me for years about recording a swing album. I’ve always loved the music of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, and although I often play this music live, I haven’t recorded much of it until now. As always with my CDs, I like to have a mixture of styles to keep it interesting for the listener. So there’s everything from the beautiful Django piece, ‘Nuages’, my own arrangement of Duke Ellington’s famous, ‘Caravan’, right through to a few of my own compositions, including the more classical, ‘More Than a Memory’.

This album is intended to be fun! I had a great time recording it and I hope the listener will hear this in the performances…”

Since being in the UK, Fiona has composed and arranged the music for her performance with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra and has gone on to write and arrange music for recording artists such as Hayley Westenra, Libera, Aled Jones and Lee Mead. She was also asked to arrange and perform her own version of Schindler’s List for BBC television and her music videos have been played on Classic FM TV in the UK and Europe.

In recent years Fiona has toured extensively and has performed and recorded with artists such as Dave Dobbyn, Hayley Westenra, Bic Runga, Heather Nova and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She has also opened for artists such as Tony Bennett, Ottmar Liebert and the late Victor Bourge.

Download Fiona's Media Kit

Press quotes

Feeling, is easily one of the most exquisite pieces of music I've heard in a long time - it pours through you and enters your body at a cellular level, so achingly poignant you'd have to be inhuman not to feel its effect.
Feeling review, The Christchurch Press 2012

'Pears passion for music impossible to resist'
The Christchurch Press 2011

‘Electrifying’ – ‘extraordinarily animated’–‘featuring rare and natural charisma’….
Quecumber, London 2010

‘The audience couldn’t help but smile as we recognised that here was a musician who not only has an amazingly accomplished technique, but she’s also up on stage having a ball’.
The Nelson Mail 2009

‘That Pears' playing is outstanding throughout goes without saying, outrageously brilliant and dazzling in her technique, Pears' love of what she is doing shines through every note’.
Fire and Light review, The Christchurch Press 2009

‘She produced some of the most fantastic, beautiful music I have heard played’.
Marlborough Express 2008

‘It left audience and performers breathless and will be remembered by all as a truly splendid night’.
The Christchurch Press 2007

‘Fiona Pears looked as delicious as her surname as she wowed another packed venue, consolidating her international reputation as a highly-acclaimed violinist’.
The Nelson Mail 2007

‘Nothing short of brilliant’
The Christchurch Press 2006