From violin to Undie 500

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Not many festivals offer both a captivating classical musical recital and a run through the streets in your undies. 

Queenstown Winter Fest­ival has a reputation as 10 days of at times debauched revelry, which can be hard on the liver. 

But the programme features a host of more refined events which attract a far more discerning and discreet audience. 

First among equals is the Michael Hill International Violin Recital at the Queens­town Memorial Hall. 

It will see Russian violinist Sergey Malov, winner of the 2011 Michael Hill International Violin Com­petition, perform with highly-regarded New Zealand pianist Michael Houstoun. 

Malov will also perform a medley of compositions during a brunch at The Hills golf course Clubhouse, one of several posh brunches on the calendar. 

Wakatipu Grill at Hilton Queens­town hosts two jazz brunches during the festival, with chef Peter Thornley and his team preparing delectable dishes backed by tunes from the Richard Adams Quartet. 

‘The Life of Pinot’ with Peter Thornley will be another high-brow event, again at the Hilton, on the closing Sunday of the festival. 

Festival director Simon Green says: “We design a programme of events that has something for everyone in the local community. 

“And we have such an eclectic local community that it means we have something for all the visitors as well. 

“The brunches and recitals tend to be sell-outs, they’re really well patronised.” 

Research shows 90 per cent of tickets for the festival’s ticketed events sell to locals, and more than 90 per cent of locals take part in the festival in some way. 

“Our more refined locals might bring the family out to Mardi Gras, but then they’ll choose to brunch at the Hilton as 
their ticketed event – that’ll be their get-together with friends.”