The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra is Dunedin’s only professional orchestra, and is funded by Creative New Zealand. We have established a reputation for the high calibre of our performances.

We present an annual five-concert subscription series, plus light music, schools and chamber concerts, and education programmes including masterclasses and workshops. We also regularly accompany productions by resident and touring opera, ballet, musical and choral companies.

Celebrity Artists

We have established a reputation for the high calibre of our performances, and for the conductors and soloists we attract both from overseas and from New Zealand.

Soloists have included: Conductors have included:
  • Violinists Shlomo Mintz, Nigel Kennedy, Bella Hristova , Jack Liebeck, Lara St John, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Natalia Lomeiko, Amalia Hall and Ilya Gringolts
  • Cellists Julian Lloyd Webber, Raphael Wallfisch, Ashley Brown, Umberto Clerici and Li-Wei Qin
  • Clarinetist Michael Collins
  • Pianists Michael Houstoun, Nikolai Demidenko, Piers Lane, Kristian Chong, Modi Deng and Jian Liu
  • Singers Dame Malvina Major, Sir Donald McIntyre, Dame Cleo Laine, Anna Leese, Emma Fraser, Jonathan Lemalu, Paul Whelan and Deborah Wai Kapohe
  • Guitarists Karin Schaupp, NZ Guitar Quartet
  • Music Director and Principal Guest Conductors Jack Speirs, Nicholas Braithwaite, Werner Andreas Albert, Simon Over
  • International conductors: Jessica Cottis, Roy Goodman, Vladimir Verbitsky, Edvard Tchivzhel, Brett Kelly, Dane Lam, Benjamin Northey, Daniel Kossov, Richard Davis and José Luis Gomez
  • New Zealanders: Tecwyn Evans, Holly Mathieson, Kenneth Young, Marc Taddei, Hamish McKeich, David Burchell and Peter Adams.
Holly Mathieson (Conductor), Amalia Hall (Violin) with the DSO in rehearsal, 2016
Violinist Bella Hristova rehearsing, with conductor Tecwyn Evans – May 2014
Conductor Hamish McKeich, Rehearsal for Romantic Masters, 2015
Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Concert Ode to Joy, 9 April 2016, Dunedin Town Hall


The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra is acknowledged for its innovative projects. Highlights have included four collaborations with NHNZ, which have resulted in production of the commercially available videos and DVD’s Southern Journeys (a millennium commission), Sinfonia AntarticaTimeless Land and Equator – Circle of Life, and our collaboration with Otago Heritage Books, which resulted in the commercially released CD for From the Southern Marches.

Other highlights have included:

2009 : Portrait of Frances Hodgkins, celebrating the 140th birthday of the internationally acclaimed painter

2012 : The Topp Twins

2013 : The orchestra’s tour to Japan

2014 : Tally Ho! Dunedin Sound Songs & Singers

2015 : Tour of Portrait of Frances Hodgkins to Wanaka’s Festival of Colour

2016 : Gallipoli to The Somme composed by Anthony Ritchie

2017: Tally Ho! 2 Dunedin Sound Songs & Singers

2018 : Songs of Moana by Te Vaka and the DSO

Dunedin Sound Songs and Singers, Dunedin Town Hall, Saturday 28 February 2015
DSO’s tour to Japan,2013
The Topp Twins with conductor Kenneth Young in 2012, Regent Theatre

Our Audiences

Annually the orchestra performs to approximately 20,000 people. Audience sizes have ranged from nearly 3,000 for Schools Concerts, 2,000 for light music concerts, 1,000 for the International Series concerts, to 400 (full house) for the Matinée Series concerts.