The New Zealand String Quartet was formed in 1987. In this section you can find out more about the ensemble including some of its history, learn about the backgrounds of the individual musicians in the Quartet, read about our sponsors and funders, and find out how to contact us.
In this section you’ll find an up-to-date biography of the New Zealand String Quartet and individual biographies for each of the four musicians.
Born in Ithaca, New York to German parents, Helene Pohl spent her childhood on both sides of the Atlantic and began her musical studies at age four. At 17 she was accepted for tertiary study at the Musikhochschule Cologne.
A native of Kansas, USA, Douglas Beilman studied with Dorothy Delay and Hyo Kang at the Julliard School and the New England Conservatory of Music. He then completed his Master of Music degree with Isadore Tinkleman at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Gillian Ansell was born in Auckland, New Zealand and began violin and piano lessons at an early age. At 16 years she made her concerto debut with the Auckland Symphonia (now the Auckland Philharmonia).
Rolf Gjelsten began cello in his native city Victoria, Canada, with James Hunter and Janos Starker at the age of 15. At 21 he became the youngest member of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.
Some historical highlights of the Quartet’s career, from its beginning in 1987 till the present day.
The New Zealand String Quartet gratefully acknowledges its sponsors and funders.