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Wild At Heart - The NZSO opening season concert


Wild At Heart - The NZSO opening subscription season concert

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra opens its 2004 subscription season in Auckland on 23 April when Music Director James Judd joins forces with celebrated New Zealand Soprano, Margaret Medlyn in some of the most heart-rending music ever written - Richard Strauss' Four Last Songs, which are perfectly complemented by Mahler's large-scale and thrilling Seventh Symphony. As well as the premiere of leading NZ composer John Psathas' piano concerto as part of the second concert series in Wellington on April 24.

English-born Margaret Medlyn emigrated, to New Zealand as a child. She studied at the University of Auckland and made her operatic debut as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier with London's Opera Viva. Margaret has established herself as one of Australasia's finest singers and her roles in 2003 included Gutrune in a concert version of Götterdämmerung for the Perth International Arts Festival ; Sieglinde in Act 3 of Die Walküre with the Sydney Symphony under Edo de Waart; Tosca for New Zealand Opera; and most recently, an acclaimed Salome in Melbourne for Opera Australia.

Strauss's Four Last Songs rank among the most haunting music ever written, chronicling the natural transition from spring to autumn, before bowing to the inevitable approaching death, mirroring the composer's final years in exile. The expressive final song, 'Im Abendrot' (At Dusk) was also used in the David Lynch's 1990 film Wild at Heart.

In the second half of the concert, the orchestra will perform Mahler's colourful and exotic Seventh Symphony, where the composer incorporated new musical trends encompassing the mood of the time. This is one of the least heard of the Mahler symphonies but was the work that convinced Schoenberg of the composer's greatness.

The second concert in this opening series opens with Norway's popular and captivating 'folk tales in music' followed by the world premiere of John Psathas' piano concerto performed by English piano virtuoso, Stephen Gosling. There's a tempting brief encounter introduced by Maestro Judd before the night's highlight - Brahms' magnificent Third Symphony, filled with conflicts of turbulence and gentle sentiment.

One of the finest amongst the younger generation of composers in New Zealand, John Psathas is rapidly achieving prominence abroad and at home. In contrast to the music of many of his contemporaries, a vital energy and a unique feel for colour and line mark his music. His works are championed around the world by a growing number of top international artists, one of the most consistent of whom has been the Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie, whose association with Psathas dates back to 1992. John Psathas was named by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand as one of the 2003 Arts Laureates.

James Judd, Music Director of the NZSO, newly-appointed Music Director of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, maintains a busy schedule of international engagements. Maestro Judd's conducting of the NZSO in music by Bernstein for Naxos, released six weeks ago, is receiving international praise, which follows his acclaimed Lilburn Three Symphonies, and his conducting of the NZSO for the opening concert at the Asia International Performing Arts Festival: Asia Orchestra Week 2003 in Osaka last October.

Stephen Gosling is a ubiquitous presence on the New York new music scene, and has also performed throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia. In 1993 on graduation from the famed Juilliard School, he was awarded the Mennin Prize for Outstanding Leadership and Excellence in Music. He makes his NZSO debut in 2004. PROGRAMME

NZSO SUBSCRIPTION SEASON Series 1 Friday 23 April, 6.30pm
TOWN HALL AUCKLAND Music Director James Judd opens the 2004 Season with Soprano Margaret Medlyn and some of the most heart-rending music ever written. James Judd conductor Margaret Medlyn soloist RICHARD STRAUSS Four Last Songs MAHLER Symphony No 7

Series 2 Saturday 24 April, 8 pm
TOWN HALL AUCKLAND This series opens with Norway's popular and captivating 'folk tales in music' followed by the world premiere of leading NZ composer, John Psathas' piano concerto - featuring English pianist, Stephen Gosling, whose recording of Psathas' chamber music with the New Zealand String Quartet gained international acclaim when it was released in 2003.

James Judd conductor Stephen Gosling piano GRIEG Peer Gynt Suite No 1 PSATHAS Piano Concerto World premiere BRAHMS Symphony No 3

Tickets $20-$77 +concessions BOOK AT TICKETEK

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