Notes October – November 2018:1

Rach 2- Russian Romantics conductor and the soloist share some thoughts about their lives and also about the concert with us in October.

Simon Over – Principal GuestSimon Over Conductor 

Over the years in Dunedin I’ve met many great artists and enjoyed working with them; I’m sure Jian Liu will be no exception”

This programme features three giants of the repertoire, hugely popular across the world; Glinka’s Overture Ruslan and Ludmilla very well received when we toured Japan a few years ago, Rachmaninoff’s second Piano Concerto, much requested by DSO supporters, and Tchaikovsky’s monumental fourth symphony.

Over the years in Dunedin I’ve met many great artists and enjoyed working with them; I’m sure Jian Liu will be no exception. I’ve seen him described as ‘passionate, articulate, deeply expressive, and wholly musical’, suggesting he is perfect for this concerto. People approach this work in very different ways; some are completely indulgent and others more focussed on the overall shape of the work, keeping it in proportion. I tend towards one end of that particular spectrum and when I meet Jian the day before the concert, our fascinating process will be for me to understand his interpretation and blend it with my own effectively and efficiently. As far as the Tchaikovsky is concerned, I’m so happy that we have Hanover Hall to rehearse in. The blazing trumpets would be shattering anywhere less spacious!

It will have been over a year since I was in Dunedin but I have felt connected through performances of Anthony Ritchie’s Gallipoli to the Somme in the UK back in June; the fulfilment of a rewarding five-year project, commissioned by DSO with funding from Creative New Zealand. Around 30 members of City Choir Dunedin together with Anthony Ritchie (composer), Philippa Harris (DSO General Manager), Anna Leese (Soprano soloist), Tessa Petersen (DSO Concertmaster), and David Burchell (City Choir Dunedin Music Director) joined us for the performances, one in the Sheldonian Theatre (Oxford University’s Wrendesigned hall for degree ceremonies) and the other in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s Southbank, the busiest classical music hub in the world. Both performances also included The Lark Ascending (Vaughan Williams) played by Dunedin violinist (a former DSO member and current member of Southbank Sinfonia) Annabel Drummond.

Both concerts were enthusiastically received:

…a most moving and inventive combination of words and music…Absolutely incredible and no wonder it got a standing ovation. 

Congratulations to all who conceived and then realised such an aurally, textually and metaphorically even monumentally perfect event. 

I will not be the only one to have been profoundly affected by last night, and not least by the UK-NZ co-operation with all its symbolism.

Long may that co-operation continue.

Notes October – November 2018:2

Rach 2- Russian Romantics soloist Jian Liu share some thoughts about his life and also about the concert with us in October.

Jian Liu – Piano

It was definitely one of the performances that solidified my belief and personal conviction that music is a unique force of nature that can be extremely powerful and beautiful, yet private and personal at the same time.”

Aside from its beautiful melodies and virtuosic technical displays that give the concerto its well-deserved popularity, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 has always been a special and personal piece for me. It was the work I played when I performed a complete piano concerto with an orchestra for the first time, and I can still recall the experience quite vividly. The performance was in Kiev, Ukraine, when I competed at the final round of Horowitz International Piano Competition as an 18-year-old. I was completely immersed in the music, and I remember how emotionally satisfying it was to perform it with the National Philharmonic of Ukraine. The sense of music was so strong that I forgot that I was there, and I was completely embraced and submerged by the combined sound of piano and orchestra. It was definitely one of the performances that solidified my belief and personal conviction that music is a unique force of nature that can be extremely powerful and beautiful, yet private and personal at the same time. So I am really looking forward to playing it again after almost two decades, especially for my first time working with DSO! I have heard many wonderful things about the orchestra and Simon, so I am certain it will be another very beautiful experience for me.

This is a year of concertos for me, for some reason. I have performed concertos by Alfred Hill, Tchaikovsky, Benjamin Britten, and also Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and now Rachmaninov’s. In terms of future performances, I am going to China to play a few concerts there in November this year. I will be back to play Beethoven 4th piano concerto with Hawkes Bay Orchestra in December. Then in January 2019 I am going to Graz, Austria, to play a piano duet concert with Hamish Robb, before performing in Nelson at the Adam Music Festival in February.

Notes October – November 2018:3

Meet cellist Tessa Dalgety-Evans the recipient of Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s Scholarship for University Orchestral Instrumental Performance for 2018 

“Music has taught me skills that anchor me as a person: patience, resilience, motivation and listening”

When did you start playing the cello?
I started playing the cello at 9 years old. I remember we had a power cut at home when mum asked me whether I would like to learn the cello. I guess that made the moment very memorable!

I took a gap year in 2017 to the UK where I continued cello lessons and attended Summer Schools. For me, cello gives me access to great chamber ensemble and orchestral music connecting and playing with other musicians.

What are the challenges of making a cello/musician career?
From what I have seen so far, a musician’s life is as hard as it is great. My mother is a violinist in the NZSO, so I know how demanding that career can be. You have to be completely committed to that kind of life if you want to make it. I definitely want to have the cello and orchestral playing as part of my life, but it won’t be the only thing I do. I am also interested in music education. In an era that is dominated by believe to remain rounded and connected to one’s self and to others. Music has taught me skills that anchor me as a person: patience, resilience, motivation and listening.

What do you like about playing in the DSO and when was your first performance?
I am exposed to great orchestral repertoire in the DSO, which is a great opportunity for a first-year student. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know other members of the orchestra.

My first performance with the DSO was with the violinist Shlomo Mintz in April this year. Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto is an epic piece of music. It was awesome! I love to play rich orchestral repertoire from the romantic period. When the celli get the tune, it’s so much fun! I also like to invite friends to concerts who might not otherwise go. Experiencing the orchestra live is unlike anything else!

What does the DSO University of Otago Performance Scholarship mean for you?

I am so grateful, for this is a very valuable opportunity. It is a way for me to give back to my family who have supported me all these years. It’s an incentive to keep aiming high and a reminder to keep being the best I can be.

With thanks to the Friends of the DSO and the Orchestra’s Foundation for their support of the scholarship.

Notes October – November 2018:4

From Philippa Harris, General Manager

Dear Music-lovers

The end of our concert year looms, and there is plenty on offer. We’re delighted to present Wellington pianist Jian Liu. Since arriving here in 2011 from China via the USA, he’s been impressing audiences around the country. He’s to play one of New Zealanders’ favourite works: Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2. A highlight will be Principal Guest Conductor Simon Over guiding the orchestra through the swirl of Russian Romantic music, including works by Glinka and Tchaikovsky. This will be a grand finale to our concert year!

Our education projects continue to engage with many of the community’s players. The DSO Academy, for young players between Grades 3 and 6, has had a bumper year, including performances at both Summerset at Bishopscourt and Redroofs retirement villages. In September we had a large group of players from around Dunedin and Otago join DSO players at Hanover Hall for Play with the Orchestra directed by Marc Taddei. Finally, at the end of November a group of players will be touring around Otago’s primary and intermediate schools performing to literally thousands of children.

Also in November is the Royal NZ Ballet’s The Nutcracker season. So there’s plenty to keep devotees of orchestral music busy.

As you’ll see, we’ve launched a Virtual Café: for just a donation equivalent to the price of a weekly coffee, you can help the orchestra continue to present musical masterpieces with top-class conductors and soloists for your enjoyment.

Wanted – a volunteer with good woodcraft skills! We have five original Baptist Church pews that need extensive TLC to restore them to their former beauty. If this sounds like you, please contact me (manager@dso.org.nz) for further details.

Thanks to all of you who support the orchestra so generously and in so many different ways, helping us to present 2018’s outstanding performances, and we hope you enjoy our end-of-year offerings.