Past Events


The Symphonies

Principal Partner NEWSTALK ZB

Please Note: DAY FOUR Auckland concert SOLD OUT

Over four days we embark on a thrilling exploration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s nine symphonies, each offering a different portrait of the composer, from his classical beginnings to the heroism of his middle period to the complexity of his last works. With this extraordinary life journey we also celebrate the remarkable talents of our music director Pietari Inkinen.


Symphonies No. 1, 2 & 3

Arguably the greatest symphonist, Beethoven began his revolutionary career by looking back to past masters Mozart and Haydn. His Symphony No. 1, first performed in 1800, is filled with the beautiful grace and balance of the 18th Century. His second symphony, first performed three years later, is a step forward – self-assured and confident, with an infectious energy. By this stage, and only in his early 30s, Beethoven was facing the reality of his increasing deafness. Devoting his life to art, he carved out a new, heroic path that inspired one of the most magnificent symphonies in the repertoire. The triumphant Symphony No. 3 – known as the Eroica – is a revolutionary work that set forth a new credo for instrumental music. Nothing would ever be the same again.

concert duration: 2h20 (including interval)

Thu 12 June | WGTN Michael Fowler Centre | 6.30pm Thu 19 June | AKLD Town Hall | 7pm

More Information


Symphonies No. 4 & 5

Beethoven’s fourth and fifth symphonies were composed simultaneously, and they are ideal companions. After a long and serious introduction, Symphony No. 4 then transforms into a work that is light, languorous and filled with singing phrases that soothe the spirit. Such breezy joyfulness only heightens the drama of Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No. 5. Opening with four of the most famous notes in music history – the fateful ta-ta-ta-TUM – this work occupies a special place in the orchestral repertoire. Wild, uncompromising, bold, and with a vast expressiveness and mastery of structure, it is little wonder that the fifth symphony is perhaps Beethoven’s most famous work. And certainly, nothing beats hearing such an iconic piece performed live in concert!

concert duration: 1h35 (including interval)

Fri 13 June | WGTN Michael Fowler Centre | 6.30pm Fri 20 June | AKLD Town Hall | 7pm


Symphonies No. 6 & 7

Beethoven described his glorious Symphony No. 6 as ‘more an expression of feeling than painting’. In this Pastorale, with chattering birdcalls and awe-inspiring storms, Beethoven’s music recreates the comfort and calm we feel when immersed in nature. With music that is restful, his capacity to capture the restorative power of nature makes this symphony one of the most wonderfully replenishing of symphonic experiences. Completed four years afterwards, Beethoven’s seventh symphony is something different again. Described by Wagner as an ‘Apotheosis of Dance’, this symphony is quietly complex, making startling harmonic and rhythmic gestures that sound perfectly conventional. Featuring Beethoven’s beloved ‘Allegretto’ second movement, Symphony No. 7 is filled with lingering lyricisms that steal into your very soul.

concert duration: 1h50 (including interval)

Sat 14 June | WGTN Michael Fowler Centre | 7.30pm Sat 21 June | AKLD Town Hall | 7.30pm


Symphonies No. 8 & 9


ANNELY PEEBO mezzo-soprano
AUCKLAND CHORAL (Auckland only)

Beethoven’s eighth is a sophisticated work that takes us on a dazzling journey from elegant dances to a witty, laughing finale. Nothing, however, prepares us for the audacity and genius of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Featuring Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy, the work emerges from darkness to light and brings the orchestra and vocalists together in a stupendous chorale finale that influenced every composer who has followed in his wake. Featuring the prowess of soprano Tiffany Speight, exquisite mezzo-soprano Annely Peebo, electrifying bass Peter Coleman-Wright and our own tenor superstar Simon O’Neill, this finale to our Beethoven cycle will be an unmissable event.

concert duration: 2h (including interval)

Sun 15 June | WGTN | Michael Fowler Centre | 3pm Sun 22 June | AKLD | Town Hall | 3pm

 Free pre-concert talks start 45 minutes prior
– Read more about this concert’s guest artists here

Concerts you might also be interested in:
The Creation

"Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes." Beethoven
"Conductor Pietari Inkinen led with calm precision, allowing each phrase to breathe unrushed, and each orchestral texture to glow." Sydney Morning Herald
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