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NZSO celebrates 75th birthday with top Kiwi and international stars

News: 3 November 2021

NZSO media release.

Multi Grammy Award-winning American violinist Hilary Hahn, Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero, Australian organist Joseph Nolan, singer-songwriter Ria Hall, soul star Whirimako Black and rock icon Shayne Carter join with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022.

The NZSO’s 2022 Season features 75 concerts in 18 centres, including Jubilee, a special 75th anniversary gala concert in the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, featuring music chosen by the Orchestra’s fans.

Among other top artists in 2022 are violinist Amalia Hall, sopranos Anna Leese and Madeleine Pierard, and leading international conductors Alexander Shelley, Asher Fisch, Fabian Russell, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, NZSO Music Director Emeritus James Judd and New Zealand’s Gemma New.

NZSO partnerships and collaborations in 2022 also include the Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival, Taranaki Arts Festival, Lexus Song Quest, CubaDupa, Classical on Cuba, National Band of New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Hahn, one of the world’s best violinists, last performed with the NZSO in 2010. For her return she performs three violin works over three performances in Wellington and Auckland. Montero, a Latin Grammy winner and Grammy nominee who performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration, makes her New Zealand debut performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24.

Black, a multi award-winning singer, is vocalist for the New Zealand premiere of Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 12 Lodger, based on David Bowie’s seminal 1979 album.

JS Bach’s organ masterpiece Toccata and Fugue, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 Titan, and John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony – from his opera on atomic bomb scientist Robert Oppenheimer – are just a few of the works the NZSO performs throughout the year.

The NZSO in 2022 brings its popular Setting Up Camp tour to Manawatū, and for the first time, Whanganui and Taranaki, in association with the Taranaki Arts Festival. The full programme will be announced in March.

Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin host the Orchestra’s innovative 2022 Immerse festival, with concerts and special events, including Open Doors, over three days in each city.

A key focus of the NZSO’s 75th anniversary will be celebrating Aotearoa New Zealand composers. The 2022 Season includes works by Dorothy Buchanan, Edwin Carr, Claire Cowan, David Farquhar, Douglas Lilburn, John Psathas, Larry Pruden, Kirsten Strom, Ronald Tremain and Anthony Watson. New commissions include music by David Mason, Gillian Whitehead and Trinity Roots’ Riki Gooch.

Ria Hall, a New Zealand Music Award winner, will perform a special collaboration with the NZSO during the Immerse festival in Tauranga and Napier.

Amalia Hall features in two programmes, including performances of John Corigliano’s Oscar-winning The Red Violin.

Carter, best known for bands Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer, performs with the Orchestra in Christchurch and Dunedin. The concert features a mix of Carter’s own songs and works by classical composers which have inspired him as a musician.

The Orchestra’s hit Baroque Series returns, directed by NZSO Concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen with performances from Kerikeri to Invercargill featuring works by JS Bach, Rameau, Paganini and other baroque greats. Soloists include NZSO Assistant Concertmaster Yuka Eguchi and Section Principal Oboe Robert Orr.

In addition to the Baroque Series, the NZSO performs Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and tango legend Astor Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, featuring NZSO violinists Anna van der Zee, Malavika Gopal, Simeon Broom and Alan Molina.

Section Principal Trombonist David Bremner is soloist for Italian composer Nino Rota’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra. The same concert features the National Band of New Zealand performing Verdi’s unforgettable Triumphal March and Ballet from his opera Aida,  and joining with the NZSO for Respighi’s majestic Pines of Rome.

The NZSO opens 2022 as part of the groundbreaking and multifaceted live experience HIHĪ – a song of place at Gisborne’s Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival and the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington.

NZSO Chief Executive Peter Biggs says the 75th anniversary year is a celebration of what the Orchestra means to New Zealanders today and in the future, as well as past triumphs.

“More than ever, all of us appreciate that it’s essential for our wellbeing to experience live performances.

“Despite the pandemic, the NZSO has pulled out all stops to present a diverse selection of music in 2022 with some of the most talented artists from around the world and Aotearoa New Zealand. We’ve expanded the variety of performances to reach more communities from Kerikeri to Invercargill and introduce more people to their national orchestra. We’ll also continue to digitally stream concerts for our growing online audience here and overseas.

“We know audiences will be excited to see us play with musicians of the calibre of Hilary Hahn, Gabriela Montero and Joseph Nolan, along with some of New Zealand’s finest artists and a dream team of international conducting talent in our 75th anniversary year. This is a celebration for all New Zealanders.”

The NZSO has an exciting new Membership programme for 2022. Supporters can choose between a Full or Lite Membership for special benefits, discounts and flexible booking options. The new programme replaces the Orchestra’s existing Subscription packages.

All NZSO concerts, including entry conditions, strictly follow Ministry of Health guidelines for live events as understood by each venue. If the guidelines change, the NZSO will update information about the concert and contact ticket holders.

Tickets to all NZSO performances can be booked with the assurance that, should any concert be cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions, ticket holders are eligible for a full refund – including booking fees. Ticket holders experiencing Covid-19 symptoms on the day of a concert can exchange their ticket for another NZSO performance.

NZSO Members have priority booking for 2022 Season tickets from 2 November. General tickets go on sale from 9 November.

More information on the 2022 Season is at from 9 November.


Updated on 4th November 2021