Reviews, News and Commentary

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra 2023 Season

John Daly-Peoples

Sir Donald Runnicle

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Season 2023

Paul Lewis who this year performed all the Beethoven Piano Concertos with the NZSO over a one week will be repeating the task again in three concerts Orpheus Reverence and Emperor conducted by conducted by Brazilian Eduardo Strausser. In reviewing his playing earlier this year I noted that Lewis “fully captured the textures, scope and power of the work and the heroic spirit as conceived by Beethoven is revealed to be both physically robust and spiritually refined”. The orchestra will also be playing other works by the composer the including his popular Symphony No 5.

Other symphonic works in the season include Shostakovich Symphony No 10, Schumann Symphony No 3, Copland  Symphony No 3, Bernstein Symphony No 2 and Brahms Symphony No 4.

There will also be Mahler’s monumental, six movement Third Symphony which is  the longest  symphony he wrote  will feature Voices New Zealand, multiple children’s choirs more than 100 musicians and  Grammy Award-winning alto Sasha Cooke.

One of the programmes which focusses on the American composers Copland  and Bernstein also includes a work about another US /NZ artist – Len Lye. This will be “Len Dances” a work by Eve de Castro-Robinson and Roger Horrocks from 2012 from the opera Len Lye which had  short season. Had “incisive  The work was an impressive work bringing together the life of the artist and his ideas in way that showed how “the personal, the social and the aesthetic intersect”

Anne- Sophie Mutter and John Williams Image David Acosta

The music of cinema legend John Williams will be celebrated in two special concert programmes by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2023. The tribute concerts feature Williams’ music from more than 15 films, including Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter.

In Wellington and Auckland, the NZSO will be joined by one of the world’s greatest violinists Anne- Sophie Mutter, a long-time Williams collaborator, including three albums with the Oscar-winning composer since 2019.

Mutter’s performances, led by NZSO Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor Gemma New, include Williams’ Violin Concerto No. 2, written especially for the Grammy Award-winning virtuoso. She will also perform several of Williams’ movie themes, arranged by Williams for Mutter and orchestra.

Andre de Ridder conductor Photo: Marco Borggreve

Also in 2023, the NZSO will be led for the first time by esteemed German conductor André de Ridder. De Ridder is known for his work across music genres,  ranging from classical and opera, to electronicand pop. He has featured on albums by Gorillaz, electronic duo Mouse on Mars, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Max Richter’s hit 2012 interpretation of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

With the NZSO, de Ridder’s three concert programmes include a work by Bryce Dessner of American band The National, jazz great Wynton Marsalis’ Blues Symphony and the outstanding contemporary work Become Ocean by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner John Luther Adams.

Joyce Yang

Celebrated American pianist Joyce Yang returns for concerts in Wellington and Auckland with the NZSO conducted for the first time by six-time Grammy Award-winning conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. The conductor will also lead the NZSO National Youth Orchestra for two concerts. Another legendary conductor to make his NZSO debut is the renowned Sir Donald Runnicles in concerts with sought-after German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt in Wellington and Auckland

Large-scale productions and special collaborations also feature. In Auckland Mana Moana and the NZSO collaborate with a Pasifika choir in performances of traditional songs from across the Pacific.

Innovative composer Alexander Scriabin’s mystical-like “The Poem of Ecstasy” is included in concerts in Dunedin and Hamilton conducted by New and featuring soprano Madeleine Pierard and NZSO Section

 In 2023 the NZSO will perform in Kerikeri, Gisborne, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Taupō, Napier, Hastings, Havelock North, Palmerston North, Carterton, Paraparaumu, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Greymouth, Westport, Christchurch, Dunedin, Oamaru and Invercargill.

By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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