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 Jul-Sept 2018:4

Carmina Burana’s  conductor Marc Taddei  share some thoughts about his life and also about the concert with us in September

“Audiences come out of the woodwork to enjoy the extravagance and excitement of the work”

Carmina Burana – it is one of those works that is as exciting to play as it is to listen to. Audiences come out of the woodwork to enjoy the extravagance and excitement of the work. I love the fact that this work demands a sense of collaboration between vast numbers of musicians – in fact, performing this work seems to

unite communities, as our performance will be uniting four local choirs, including two children’s choirs! Add the huge forces required from the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, and three tremendous soloists (Natasha Wilson, Henry Choo and James Clayton), and we have the recipe for a most memorable evening!

Notes Jul – Sept 2018 : 1

Introducing Voila Viola! Conductor, soloist and the composer of Viola Concerto No. 2

Richard Davis – Conductor

“we will end this concert with Tchaikovsky’s mighty Serenade for Strings although we might be offering you a gift of our own – a surprise encore”

I am thrilled to be returning to Dunedin and to work with your wonderful symphony orchestra again. I was so impressed with the musicians last year and have created another rich, varied and exciting programme for you. Although we will be focussing on the excellent string section of the DSO – beginning and ending the concert with two very well-known string works – there will also be the opportunity for a few additional instrumentalists to shine in between.

We open the performance with Benjamin Britten’s enduringly popular Simple Symphony with its charming ‘Playful Pizzicato’ movement and passionate ‘Sarabande’. Although this piece was completed at the age of 20, Britten wrote the core of the music between the ages of 9 and 12.

Aaron Copland wrote his ‘Ballet for Martha’ in 1944 and then the dancer, to whom it was dedicated, Martha Graham chose the iconic name – Appalachian Spring. Copland found it amusing how people would come up to him and tell him that he’d perfectly captured the essence of the Appalachian Mountains in spring and yet neither the music nor the story is about Appalachia…or spring! This very popular work is not often heard in its original chamber-orchestra format and you’ll be surprised, because of Copland’s unique compositional style, at how rich it sounds with so few players on stage. This piece ends with the Shaker melody: ‘Simple Gifts’ which you may know as the tune for ‘Lord of the Dance’.

After the interval we welcome the viola virtuoso, Tim Deighton, to perform the world première of New Zealand composer Anthony Ritchie’s Viola Concerto No. 2, written especially for Tim and the DSO. And we will end this concert with Tchaikovsky’s mighty Serenade for Strings although we might be offering you a gift of our own – a surprise encore

Notes Apr-Jun 2018:1

Introducing Shlomo Mintz plays Tchaikovsky conductor

José Luis Gomez – Conductor

“The work displays a great deal of beautiful melodies always charged with intensity”. 

It is indeed always exciting to conduct a fantastic composition of one of my favourite Slavic composers. Dvorak’s  Symphony No. 7 displays a great deal of beautiful melodies always charged with the intensity of popular folk music from his native Czech Republic. It has one of the most beautiful second movements ever written, with a beautiful dialogue between the orchestra and the melody played by the solo flute and oboe. It is a piece that allows the orchestra to display its capacity to sing. Opening the concert I’ll have the great joy to conduct the well-known Aotearoa Overture composed by the New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn. I’m also looking forward to sharing the stage with a world famous violinist Shlomo Mintz, playing the exciting and beautiful violin concerto by Tchaikovsky – making this concert unique and for sure not to miss!

I love New Zealand from my first visit back in 2015 where I had the chance to work with the talented young people of the NZSO Youth Orchestra. New Zealand has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world! As I kid I grew up with the enormous advantage of being part of El Sistema in my country Venezuela. This gave me the opportunity to experience orchestral playing at a very early age, the love of its repertoire and passion for the result of joining all of us together to make music at the highest level!

I am looking forward to going to new places such as my first visit to Melbourne, Australia and return visit to South Korea, Spain and South America this season.

Notes Apr-Jun 2018:3

Guitar Extravaganza’s conductor Kenneth Young shares some thoughts about his life and his concert with us in June

“The orchestra is always a pleasure to work with”

I love visiting Dunedin. The orchestra is always a pleasure to work with, and the superfriendly management team do such a great job. Then, after having enjoyed the music-making, people, atmosphere and sights in this wonderful city, my wife and I will do what we usually do, and that is drive off into my favourite part of New Zealand, Central Otago, for a few days R and R.

I am very keen to work with the New Zealand Guitar Quartet. Jane Curry and I are colleagues at the New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University and have shared a concert platform previously. Owen and John I also know.However, they have a most accomplished new 4th member in Vladimir Gorbach whom I am looking forward to meeting and collaborating with.

I met Jack Speirs a couple of times; once when I was a member of the NZSO and he conducted a recording session of some of his works. I have always admired his compositional craft and sense of colour so am very pleased to have the opportunity to conduct his Night Music.

I adore Fauré, so consequently take any opportunity I can to programme his works. There is such a sweet sadness to his incidental music for Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande, so in keeping with the play itself.

Bookending the programme are Beethoven’s thrilling overture to his incidental music for Goethe’s play Egmont and my favourite Mozart symphony, the brilliant Haffner.