Meet The NZSO

Don’t know your timpanist from your cellist? Get to know your national orchestra.

Pietari Inkinen with OrchestraMusic Director

Edo de Waart commenced his tenure as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2016.

Renowned as an ‘orchestral builder’ with the enviable ability to transform orchestras into world-class ensembles, he is also Chief Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra…

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Vesa-Matti Leppänen, Concertmaster of the NZSO was born and raised in Turku, Finland. After completing his studies at the Turku Conservatory and Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Vesa-Matti Leppänen joined the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the oldest symphony orchestras in Europe…

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NZSO stringsStrings


NZSO woodwindWoodwind

NZSO OrchestraBrass


NZSO percussionPercussion



PREFERREDJames Judd - photocredit Miguel Alonso HiRes 113cropped

British-born conductor James Judd began his tenure as Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1999 with a gala concert on 3 February, succeeding his predecessor Franz-Paul Decker. During his eight-year tenure at the NZSO’s artistic helm he embarked on an unprecedented number of recordings with the orchestra for the Naxos label, including works by Copland, Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, Gershwin and many others…

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Conductor Laureate

The late Dr Franz-Paul Decker was appointed the NZSO’s first Conductor Laureate in 1995, a position he held until his death in 2014. This unique honour recognised his 40 year association as Guest Conductor, Principal Conductor, and Chief Conductor, and his significant influence on orchestral performance in New Zealand.

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