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4 Events

About New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Love Eternal

Thomas Søndergård Conductor

Denis Kozhukhin Piano

Beethoven Coriolan Overture, Op. 62

Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Sibelius Symphony No. 6 in D minor, Op. 104

Sibelius Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105

Sample some Scandinavian delight as Danish maestro Thomas Søndergård, returns to take the NZSO on tour.

Although Beethoven was familiar with Shakespeare’s tragedy Corialanus, this solemn concert overture is thought to be inspired by Austrian writer Heinrich Joseph von Collin’s drama Coriolan.

Schumann’s Piano Concerto premiered in 1845 with his wife Clara Schumann as soloist. This is not a showy virtuoso concerto, rather a strong musical partnership between soloist and orchestra. Soloist Denis Kozhukhin, winner of First Prize in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, aged just 23, joins the NZSO to perform this popular piano concerto.

Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' Sixth and Seventh symphonies are well known for depicting the rugged Scandinavian landscape. Sibelius said his Sixth Symphony “always reminds me of the scent of the first snow.” English composer Benjamin Britten was less kind, saying “he must have been drunk when he wrote it.” Sibelius’ Seventh Symphony is in just one movement and is considered by some as one of the most original and remarkable pieces he composed. It was also one of the last. 

Winter Daydreams

Dima Slobodeniouk Conductor
Carolin Widmann Violin

Christopher Blake Angel at Ahipara
Stravinsky Violin Concerto in D major
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13 Winter Daydreams

Your winter daydreams may not be as full of snow as Tchaikovsky’s, but this concert will still warm your heart.

Russian conductor Dima Slobodeniouk opens the concert with Angel at Ahipara from Northland Panels, Christopher Blake’s award-winning work for string orchestra. Based on New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison’s iconic image of an angel at the head of a grave in a churchyard at Ahipara in Northland, the music is a beautiful evocation of desolation and hope.

Stravinsky was reluctant to accept the commission for his 1931 Violin Concerto as he believed he knew too little about the instrument. An early musical idea he developed, a chord spanning over two and a half octaves, was thought to be technically unplayable by the soloist. However, upon experimenting with the chord he found it easy to play. This gave Stravinsky the confidence to continue with the composition. German violinist Carolin Widmann joins the NZSO to perform Stravinsky’s only violin concerto.

Tchaikovsky titled his First Symphony Winter Daydreams. Despite working enormously hard, the symphony caused him much suffering. The work did not impress musicians he showed it to and individual movements were played to little enthusiasm. However, when the entire symphony was first performed, it was a great success. 

NYO Celebrates

James Judd Conductor
New Zealand Youth Choir

In 2019 we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our National Youth Orchestra.

Over this time it has proved itself pivotal in shaping New Zealand’s musical future through bringing together many of New Zealand’s most gifted young orchestral players. The high percentage of players in the NZSO – around 50% - who at one stage or another were members of the NYO, demonstrates the lasting effect this establishment leaves on our young generations.

Of the thousands of former NYO members, many can be found in New Zealand and all over the world with successful careers as orchestral players, soloists, chamber musicians, music teachers and just about every other career you can think of.

The dramatic events and passionate performances of the 2018 National Youth Orchestra confirmed yet again that the NYO is an experience not to be missed.

In 2019, the NYO will work with another performance partner celebrating a significant anniversary – New Zealand Youth Choir celebrates 40 years of energetic music making.

See these two take to the stage to premiere a work by the 2019 NZSO National Youth Orchestra Composer-in-Residence, as well as present Elgar’s The Music Makers.

We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams...


Carlos Kalmar Conductor
Steven Osborne

Michael Norris Mātauranga
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K. 414
Osvaldo Golijov
Last Round
Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 The Inextinguishable

Mātauranga, by Wellington-based Michael Norris, was commissioned as part of the NZSO Cook’s Landfall Series to mark 250 years since the first encounters between Māori and Europeans at Captain Cook’s first landfall. Featuring taonga pūoro –Māori musical instruments, it conveys Cook’s journey to study the stars, flora, fauna and chart continents and islands. 

Renowned Scottish pianist Steven Osborne returns to New Zealand to perform two great concertos. Piano Concerto No. 12 is a standout early work of Mozart’s. Beethoven’s revolutionary Piano Concerto No. 4 starts with just the piano – a first. A beautiful slow second movement contrasts loud spiky strings with a soft, smooth piano melody that segues into a scintillating finale. 

Last Round, by Argentinian Osvaldo Golijov, was written following the death of Astor Piazzolla, the great tango composer. Golijov wrote “The piece is conceived as an idealised bandoneon. The first movement represents the act of a violent compression of the instrument and the second a final, seemingly endless opening sigh.” 

Written during the First World War, Carl Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, The Inextinguishable, features a “battle” between two sets of timpani. Nielsen explained that the name refers to ”the elemental will to live” as “that is inextinguishable.”      

Shed Series - Sinfonietta

Hamish McKeich Conductor

Orchestras come in all shapes and sizes. Sinfonietta presents an evening of rhythmic and adventurous music written for smaller chamber orchestras, ideally suited for the intimate space of Shed 6.

Live performance is key to bringing music to life, so some 20th-century composers wrote music for chamber orchestras to ensure their new and inventive works were performed.

The concert opens with Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla’s Sinfonietta. Piazzolla is considered the greatest tango composer and Sinfonietta captures his exquisite earthiness in all its glory.

Eve de Castro-Robinson’s Cyprian’s Dance, an exciting work for strings, was commissioned by the NZ Chamber Orchestra and first performed in 1995.

Lauded American composer John Adams’ virtuosic Chamber Symphony was inspired by Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1. The work’s third movement, Roadrunner, alludes to the music of the Roadrunner cartoons, which can be felt in the unbridled energy of the piece.

Anton Webern features twice, with his Symphony Op. 21 and the composer’s arrangement for chamber orchestra of the Ricercare from Bach’s A Musical Offering.