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NZSO announces inaugural season with world-renowned conductor Edo de Waart

Great masterworks will feature in the NZSO’s 2016 season as the Orchestra launches an exciting partnership with Edo de Waart, one of the world’s most acclaimed conductors, the NZSO announced today.

Nicola Benedetti 220x204Edo de Waart will begin his tenure as the NZSO’s Music Director by presenting a Masterworks series, featuring concertos and nine major symphonies by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Elgar and Richard Strauss.

“These significant symphonies and concertos have been selected by Maestro de Waart for their brilliance and emotional power,” says NZSO Chief Executive Christopher Blake. “This music is at the core of the symphonic orchestral repertoire and hearing it in live performance under his baton will be an exhilarating and uplifting experience for concertgoers.”

Each of de Waart’s concerts will feature lauded international soloists, including Swedish mezzo-soprano Charlotte Hellekant, renowned Mozart pianist Ronald Brautigam, captivating Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti, German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, former NZSO Section Principal Horn Samuel Jacobs from the United Kingdom and German-born soprano Christiane Libor.

“The Orchestra is really excited about Edo de Waart’s arrival and the breadth of repertoire they’ll be playing throughout the whole season, from the finest contemporary classical music, exclusive world premieres and New Zealand works, to an evening of live accompaniment to two classic Hitchcock films, Psycho and Vertigo,” says Blake.

Another jewel of the season will be the début of the eminent BritiAndrew Davis2 220x204sh conductor Sir Andrew Davis directing 128 musicians in Olivier Messiaen’s epic work Éclairs sur l’au delà. This concert will bring the NZSO and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra together on stage for the first time and is set to be nothing short of spectacular.

A jazz band with rhythm section, saxophones and swinging brass will be added to the usual orchestral line-up in September, as the NZSO collaborates with the iconic Rodger Fox Big Band in the tour, Swing into Spring.  “The programme will feature the great American jazz trumpeter Allen Vizzutti and include specially written new arrangements,” says Blake. “We’ll be visiting 12 centres, from Kerikeri to Invercargill in our most extensive tour of the year.”

The NZSO will present its annual Anzac-inspired concert in April.  Titled ‘Voices from the Field’, it is a commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. The concert will feature New Zealand soprano Madeleine Pierard performing in Ross Harris’ Symphony No. 2.  Described as “often beautiful and sometimes frightening” (New Zealand Listener), this symphony is a setting of poems by Vincent O’Sullivan about New Zealand soldiers who were executed for desertion. In keeping with the poetic theme, the rest of the concert features works inspired by the English poets Rupert Brooke and A. E. Housman.

Two world premieres will feature in the NZSO’s next Aotearoa Plus concert.  Grammy-award winning British conductor and composer Bramwell Tovey will premiere his orchestral suite, Time Tracks, and will also conduct the premiere of Christopher Blake’s Symphony – Voices, which draws on the voices and imagery of T.S. Eliot’s poetic masterpiece The Waste Land.

Bramwell Tovey1 220x207Pianist Stephen Hough will return to delight concertgoers once again, this time with Brahms’ Concerto No. 2, in a concert conducted by Spanish conductor Gustavo Gimeno. “Stephen Hough is popular with New Zealand audiences and his performance of this monumental concerto will be eagerly anticipated,” says Blake.

The NZSO will also welcome back Peruvian maestro Miguel Harth-Bedoya to conduct a colourful programme, including Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Hailed as “astonishing” by Gramophone Magazine, German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser, a soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras, will make his debut with the NZSO in this concert playing Lalo’s exuberant Cello Concerto.

Next year’s Bold Worlds concert will explore American music, with United States conductor Fawzi Haimor at the helm. The Orchestra will play Steve Reich’s Three Movements in celebration of Anna Akiko Meyers 220x205Reich’s 80th birthday and virtuoso violinist Anne Akiko Meyers will debut with the Orchestra, playing a concerto composed especially for her by American composer Mason Bates. The concert will close with Dvorak’s quintessentially American work, Symphony No. 9 From the New World.

“We will conclude our remarkable 2016 season with Handel’s Messiah, which has become a popular Christmas tradition in Wellington,” says Blake.  “We will be welcoming back Australian Handel scholar and broadcaster Graham Abbott to conduct a work for which he has a special affection.”

Find our more about the 2016 Season.