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NZSO Playing Up A Storm - Announcing Season 2004

Media Release

12 September 2003

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Plays Up A Storm in 2004

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) plays up a storm with celebrity, individuality, flamboyance and intrigue as the orchestra launches The 2004 Season with a mix of music from the 18th to the 21st century, plus a new look. It embraces some of the world's best including, fast-rising New Zealand singer Jonathan Lemalu, one of the most exciting pianists of our time, Lang Lang, and 'America's Best Young Classical Musician', Hilary Hahn.

The national orchestra's 2004 format is built around two subscription series which feature in their entirety in Auckland and Wellington, with Hamilton, Napier, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and Tauranga, getting a selection from the two series.

Highlights of The 2004 Season

Highlights include the opening season concert led by Music Director James Judd in some of the most heart-rending music ever written with Strauss's Four Last Songs and Mahler's thrilling, large-scale Seventh Symphony; Stravinsky's astonishing and hypnotic Rite of Spring, conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier, who was last here in 1994; and Yoel Levi, who made such an impression here in 2001 with Schumann's romantic First Symphony and Shostakovich's intensely dramatic, Eleventh Symphony.

The conductor line-up will be joined by Austrian Christian Gansch; Japanese conductor Sachio Fujioka a first-time visitor, as is Finnish conductor Tuomas Ollila, one of the products of Finland's highly esteemed musical culture; American Edwin Outwater; and Australian conductor/pianist Geoffrey Lancaster. An extra dimension in some concerts is brief encounter where the conductor introduces a short surprise work to complement the night's programme.

There are welcome return visits from some of the world's most celebrated musicians including British cellist Steven Isserlis who was last with the NZSO in 1994, Stephen Kovacevich, who took New Zealand by storm in 2002, performing an eagerly awaited performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, as well as 2002 Gramophone Award winner Stephen Hough performing Saint-Saëns lively Fourth Piano Concerto.

The NZSO welcomes the return of Michael Houstoun performing the Britten Diversions for the Left Hand and Orchestra; Stephen Gosling, who premieres John Psathas' Piano Concerto; and welcomes Russian-born Valentina Lisitsa making her first appearances in New Zealand with both the Bartok Third Piano Concerto and the Ravel Piano Concerto in G.

The eagerly anticipated New Zealand debut of young American sensation, Grammy Award nominee, Hilary Hahn will see her perform both the spectacular Paganini Violin Concerto No.1 and the sweepingly romantic Violin Concerto by the American composer Samuel Barber.

Celebrity Series

Another new innovation is the Celebrity Series programmed for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin with brilliant, young Chinese pianist, Lang Lang, who has been described by European media as "Brilliant by name, brilliant by nature", and New Zealand's own Jonathan Lemalu, who was described recently by Gramophone magazine as "a rival to Terfel in the making". Lang Lang will perform in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and Lemalu in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

Other tours

The 2004 Season will see the orchestra travel to Tauranga, Gisborne, Whakatane, New Plymouth, Hastings, Martinborough, Nelson, Westport, Oamaru, Timaru, Gore and Queenstown as part of the Lion Foundation Heartland and Mainland tours, and the NZSO Chamber Orchestra tours. Performing as soloists, Philip Green, co-principal clarinet, will play the Second Weber Clarinet Concerto; principal flute Bridget Douglas will premiere a commission by John Elmsly; and harpist Carolyn Mills will solo in Zabaletta's arrangement for harp of the popular Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez

CD Sampler

The NZSO also provides subscribers and recent ticket-buyers with a free CD sampler of archive recordings of live NZSO performances recorded by Concert FM. Introduced by NZSO players, these encapsulate the electrifying, spectacular, inspirational and popular works to be performed in The 2004 Season.

NZSO Chamber Orchestra

The NZSO Chamber Orchestra will tour in both February and October, and feature respectively the music of Haydn and Mozart under Geoffrey Lancaster, and a programme entitled 'Bold as Brass' with soprano/comedienne Judy Glen that ranges from Handel to Lennon & McCartney.

NZSO National Youth Orchestra

The NZSO National Youth Orchestra will give its annual concerts in Wellington and Auckland and, for the first time in many years, will perform in Christchurch under youth orchestra specialist, conductor American Alasdair Neale.

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