Charmian Keay is a New Zealand born violinist from Auckland. Born to musician parents Miranda Adams (Assistant Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra) and Nigel Keay (Paris-based composer), she has freelanced with all of the major orchestras in New Zealand and in 2021 won a permanent violin position in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Taught first mainly by her mother, other teachers included Justine Cormack (NZ Trio Founder), Kevin Lefohn (director of the Queenstown Violin Summer School) and Tessa Petersen (Concertmaster of Dunedin Symphony Orchestra).
Charmian studied a Postgraduate Diploma in violin performance in 2012 as a Trinity Laban Scholar studying with acclaimed soloist Matthew Trusler, at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Prior to this she graduated from the University of Otago with First Class Honours in Performance Violin in 2008, after which she was invited to be 2009 Elman Poole Fellow of the prestigious graduate orchestra, the Southbank Sinfonia, based in Waterloo, London.
European performances included a solo recital in Oxford of Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 in A Major, as well as various chamber music recitals in venues such as the Royal Opera House and Wigmore Hall, and in festivals including the 2010 Paris Oboe Festival, and the Anghiari Festival, Italy.
Since coming back to Auckland she has performed regularly as a soloist with the Blackbird Ensemble, which did a national tour of their ‘Bjork’ show in 2019. She has led Auckland-based chamber music ensembles Moonshine Quartet, Korutet (which toured to Paris in 2014), and is currently leader of Auckland String Group. She is also violinist for the historically-costumed Wellington-based string trio, Quantum Femmes.
Charmian plays on a violin by Dimitri Atanassov, Cremona and bow by Doriane Bodart of Paris.