Beyond Words

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in association with Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts Festival and Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts presents an expression of peace and unity through music.

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Christchurch Town Hall
Live events
Michael Fowler Centre
Live events
Auckland Town Hall


Approx. 1 hour 35 minutes, with interval.

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Valerie Coleman Umoja - Anthem of Unity
Traditional arr. Hamish Oliver Hasbi Rabbi / Molla Mamad Jan
OUM arr. Tom McLeod Daba
Reza Vali Funèbre for Solo Violin and String Orchestra
Kyriakos Tapakis arr. Tom McLeod Mantilatos
Arvo Pärt Silouan's Song
John Psathas Ahlan wa Sahlan (World Premiere)

Haere mai and ahlan wa sahlan to a very special concert to open the NZSO 2024 Season. To mark the 5th anniversary of the Christchurch terror attacks, we present a unique collaboration promoting peace and unity through music.

Conducted by Fawzi Haimor, featuring powerful Moroccan vocalist OUM and oud virtuoso Kyriakos Tapakis, the NZSO performs works from Valerie Coleman, Reza Val, Arvo Pärt, traditional song and the world premiere of a new work from Aotearoa New Zealand composer John Psathas.

Psathas’ Ahlan wa Sahlan, composed in collaboration with OUM and Tapakis, uses the Arabic welcome to let people know they are in a place where they belong. Finding inspiration in a quote promoting peace, love and forgiveness from Mosque attack survivor Farid Ahmed’s memoir Husna's Story, Psathas, OUM and Tapakis have fused together musical styles from Eastern and Western cultures in Ahlan wa Sahlan.

This work has been created with guidance from The Central Iqra Trust and Muslim communities from across Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Orchestra also plays the NZ premiere of a work by Reza Vali, whose artistry combines Western orchestration with Persian style, as well as African-American composer Valerie Coleman’s work Umoja, the Swahili word for ‘unity’ and Arvo Pärt’s spiritual and meditative work Silouan’s Song.

Vocalist Abdelilah Rharrabti, vocalist and daf musician Esmail Fathi and saz player Liam Oliver from Ōtautahi Christchurch’s Simurgh Music School perform Traditional songs of the Middle East.

Beyond Words is a symphonic expression of peace and unity performed as a prelude to Unity Week and other activities across Aotearoa New Zealand – let the NZSO take you on this journey beyond borders, beyond words. 

This project is supported by the Ministry for Ethnic Communities.

Prayer rooms will be available at each concert venue.

Find more about Beyond Words Community Engagement activities in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

Please note, Beyond Words concerts and community engagement events are alcohol-free.

This event is proudly supported by

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