DSO Concert Series 2020 – Concerts Cancelled

Dear DSO Supporters,

Because of the uncertainties and restrictions resulting from COVID-19, it has become clear that the DSO is no longer able to present its 2020 International and Matinee Series concerts as advertised.  So, after much deliberation, the DSO has reluctantly decided that the Matinee Series concerts, scheduled for June and July, and the International Series concerts, originally scheduled for April, May and August, must now be cancelled.

It remains uncertain when public concerts will be allowed to occur again, and what the physical distancing requirements will be. Furthermore, the restrictions for overseas artists entering New Zealand mean that it is unlikely our scheduled guest conductors and soloists will be able to perform with us in the foreseeable future.  A change of conductors and soloists in turn will probably also result in a change of repertoire from that advertised for our 2020 season.

While it is very disappointing that we are unable to present the series concerts as we had hoped, we are busy planning a variety of ‘virtual’ events.  We are also drafting plans for our return to our usual concert venues, including our own Hanover Hall, so we can present live concerts as soon as possible.  This could happen in a matter of months, but any concerts will undoubtedly be quite different from what was originally scheduled.  So, the DSO is taking this step now in order that all those involved have some certainty.

In reaching this decision, the DSO is reminded of just how many different people and organisations support the orchestra. The most obvious are the players, guest conductors and soloists, and audiences, but crucial too are our funders, sponsors and donors, those who help with production aspects, publicity (such as the Otago Daily Times and The Star), all the behind-the-scenes volunteers (such as the DSO Friends), music libraries, NZ composers – the list goes on and on.  The DSO really does appreciate the support it receives from so many people and sectors of the community, and we are also thankful for your understanding in these very different and difficult times.

For those who purchased tickets to the concerts, thank you for your support.  
–    Subscribers:  We offer our International, Matinee, and Flexi-Ticket subscription holders the following options:
o    A full refund of the subscription ticket value;
o    A partial refund (donate part of the subscription ticket value to the DSO and the rest is refunded);
o    A full donation of the subscription ticket value.
As we will be contacting each subscriber to find out what your preferred option is, this process will be time-consuming.  While we work through this process, we encourage subscribers to wait until you hear from us before getting in touch – unless your request is urgent.

–    If you purchased your tickets through a ticketing agency, they will be in touch with you soon to confirm their particular refund process.  For Town Hall concerts the agency is Ticketmaster, and for King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre concerts it is Ticket Rocket (previously TicketDirect).  Even if you bought your ticket at the Regent Theatre, it will be these two agencies that will be in contact with you.

In the meantime, as we negotiate the Alert Levels and manage our bubbles, please do keep an eye on the DSO’s Facebook page and website for our ‘virtual’ events.  Hopefully in the not-too-distant future we’ll be able to update you about forthcoming concerts.

Once again, very many thanks for your support of the DSO, and we look forward to seeing you at a concert soon!

Megan Bartlett    

Philippa Harris 


Postponement of AGMs

The AGMs of the Dunedin Civic Orchestra Incorporated (the DSO’s legal entity) and of the Friends of the Sinfonia Inc. (the Friends of the DSO’s legal entity) were due to be held on Tuesday 31 March.  However, because of the government’s restrictions resulting from Covid-19, these meetings cannot proceed as planned.  Unfortunately we now do not have sufficient time to organise ‘virtual’ meetings, and as well as that ‘virtual’ meetings would depend on all members having the required technology and connectivity so as to be able to take part in the meetings, and there isn’t sufficient time to ascertain that and/or make alternative arrangements.

The Board of the Orchestra has decided that the AGM should be postponed until further notice, and the Friends of the DSO are following suit.  Once the government allows meetings to occur, we will then send out the Notices of Meeting to all the Members, as required by the Orchestra’s and Friends’ Constitution.

Thank you for your understanding in these unusual and challenging times, and thank you too for your support of the orchestra and the Friends.

The Board of the DSO and the Committee of the Friends of the DSO

DSO Concert Series 2020 – First two concerts postponed

Following the Government’s directive banning all public events and out of concern for the health of those involved, the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra has decided to postpone its 4 April and 2 May concerts until September and October this year. These concerts will replace the ‘Beethoven’s Big Birthday Bash’ on 19 September and the Halloween Concert on 31 October, and the DSO will be looking into how to present those projects on other dates instead, possibly in different formats.

The DSO intends to keep the 4 April and 2 May artists and repertoire intact as far as is possible, but its ability to do that will depend on the availability of these artists and the circumstances at that time. Once conductors and soloists are finalised, we will be able to advise who the artists are and what the repertoire will be for the 19 September and 31 October dates.

At that point, the DSO will be in touch with International Series and Flexi-Ticket subscribers and sponsors to discuss the next steps.

Regarding future concerts, the DSO will be monitoring developments as they occur. In particular, regarding the first Matinee Series performances on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June, a decision as to whether or not these can proceed as planned will be announced on or before Friday 8 May.

We will be communicating any updates or changes with our audiences, artists and stakeholders appropriately as changes occur, and will be posting updates on the DSO website and DSO Facebook page.

The DSO appreciates your understanding and support in these unprecedented times.

Update regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) –  Tuesday 17 March 2020

Yesterday the government announced that events where 500 or more people are together in one place should be cancelled. The DSO is currently considering its options, and tomorrow it will be making an announcement regarding its forthcoming concerts.

 Update regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Monday 16 March 2020

This page will be updated as required depending on developments.

DSO would like to re-assure patrons that the DSO takes the health of our audience, musicians and staff very seriously. We are monitoring the situation and following the advice of the Ministry of Health regarding public events and mass gatherings. This is the link to their webpage about this:

For the time being, our concerts are happening as scheduled.

A reminder to our audiences about their health and safety
The Ministry of Health asks event organisers to remind audiences of the following:
– Do not attend concerts if you are feeling unwell.
– Do not attend the concerts if you have been overseas in the past 14 days, except for the Pacific Islands (as listed on the Ministry of Health’s website).
– Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, or cough/sneeze into your elbow.
– Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and dry them thoroughly or use hand sanitiser, especially after coughing or sneezing.

Guest Artists
In the event that a guest artist is unable to perform due to restricted air travel or illness, the DSO will do its best to replace the artist.

What happens if the DSO needs to cancel a concert
If the Ministry of Health recommendation regarding public and mass gatherings means we need to cancel a concert, we will notify all ticket holders by email, phone or letter as soon as it is possible for us to do so. The latest updates will be posted on the DSO website and the DSO Facebook page.

What is the DSO doing to keep patrons safe?
The DSO is in contact with the Town Hall management and they have advised that they are following New Zealand Ministry of Health guidelines and ensuring that their cleaning practices are appropriate.




A season of celebration

Welcome to the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s 2020 season – a season of classics by favourite composers as well as some new and exciting pieces.


BTHVN 2020
This is the international registered trademark for Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The logo dates back to Beethoven himself, who used to sign some of his scores using his name without vowels: Bthvn

2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the birthday of one of the most important composers of all time, Beethoven.  The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is celebrating this anniversary through its performances of three of his masterpieces, as well as through Beethoven’s Big Birthday Bash, a community concert which will involve players and singers from Dunedin and surrounding regions performing some of his Symphony No. 9 (well known for the ‘Ode to Joy’ in the final movement).  In 2020, we are also thrilled to celebrate a significant birthday of Dunedin-based composer Anthony Ritchie.

Heading the DSO’s 2020 artists is conductor Simon Over, now in his sixth year as the DSO’s Principal Guest Conductor. He will be conducting the orchestra’s performance of the most famous of all Beethoven’s symphonies, Symphony No. 9, Choral.

The DSO is also delighted to welcome back:

  • several ex-Dunedinites who have gone on to outstanding careers: conductor Tecwyn Evans, singers Anna Leese and Jonathan Lemalu, bassoonist Todd Gibson-Cornish.
  • Celebrated conductors Kenneth Young and Tianyi Lu, and mezzo soprano Kate Webber.

During the 2020 concert series, audiences will be introduced to several highly-acclaimed international soloists:

  • pianist John Chen.
  • the 2019 Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner Anna Im.
  • Australian violinist Glenn Christensen.
  • Australian oboeist Thomas Hutchinson.

City Choir Dunedin, which has been a regular performing partner with the DSO since the orchestra’s inception, will be to the fore in the performance of ‘Ode to Joy’ in Beethoven’s ninth symphony.

Something new is ‘Unwrap the Music’, a talk by Anthony Ritchie in which he will introduce the works in the 2020 series concerts.  This is designed to be an informative and entertaining guide and a tempting taste of what audiences can expect to hear in the up-coming concert series.

If these don’t capture the attention of all of the family, we are also presenting a Halloween concert at the end of October, Halloween Spooktacular.

As well as these, the orchestra will continue its comprehensive range of education projects, its community events, and much more.  There’s something for everyone!

The DSO thanks its core funders (Creative NZ, Dunedin City Council, Otago Community Trust), sponsors (especially our Matinee Series sponsors Forsyth Barr and concert sponsors Webb Farry), donors, and its treasured audiences for such invaluable continuing support over its 54 years.  It looks forward to sharing the inspiration and excitement of the DSO’s 2020 concerts.