Reviews, News and Commentary

APO and NZSO Concerts

After a few months of no live concerts both the Auckland Philharmonia and the NZSO start their new concert seasons next week.

Last week the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was the first full-sized orchestra in the world to perform to a live audience in a concert hall since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In that  concert “Ngū Kīoro… Harikoa Ake – celebrating togetherness” at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre the orchestra joined with Maisey Rika and Horomona Horo to performed music from their successful 2019 “An Instrumental Voyage Pae Tawhiti, Pae Tata” tour. They also played the first movement from Gareth Farr’s “From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs”, John Psathas’ “Tarantismo” and Richard Strauss’ “Suite from Der Rosenkavalier”.

Simon O’Neill and Eliza Bloom performed arias from Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s La Bohème and Verdi’s Otello.

The concert finale featured the  soloists and members of Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir and more than 100 school children  singing “Pōkarekare Ana”.

On July 8   the Orchestra plays a  Beethoven concert featuring “The Emperor Concerto” with pianist Diedre Irons and his Pastoral Symphony. Two weeks later on July 22 they will be performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s baroque masterpiece “Goldberg Variations”.

Both these concerts will be livestreamed at

Next week (July 9) the Auckland Philharmonia will return to presenting live performances with Michael Houston performing Beethoven’s “First Piano Concerto”.

Opening the programme will be the world premiere of John Psathas’ “The Five Million”, a work intended as a celebration of the country’s team of five million. Also on the programme will be Richard Strauss’ “Wind Serenade” for 13 wind instruments, written when he was only 17 and. Dvořák’s “Serenade for Strings”, one of the composer’s more popular orchestral works.

Then on July 16 the orchestra will be playing Haydn’s “The Creation: The Representation of Chaos”. This replaces the scheduled performance of the entire Haydn work.  “The Creation: The Representation of Chaos” is the first of the oratorio’s three parts an orchestral prelude  that portrays the formlessness and disorder that preceded the Creation.

Also on the programme is Ives’s “The Unanswered Question”, Mozart’s “Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat” featuring Bassoonist Ingrid Hagan , and Dvořák “Symphony No.6”  inspired by Czech folk music.

The “New Horizons” concert on, July 30 will feature Lilburn’s “A Song of Islands”,  Szymanowski “Violin Concerto No.2” with Violinist   Andrew Beer  along with Sibelius’s  “Symphony No.2”>

Michael Houstoun and Diedre Irons

By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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