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Kiwis Conquer Oz

Kiwis Conquer Oz

Marc Taddei, Wilma Smith, and John Chen (seated) in the Melbourne Town Hall, 2 June 2006


6 June 2006 (Auckland) Conductor Marc Taddei made his debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra last Friday night [2 June] in a programme that featured two other prominent New Zealand musicians: Concertmaster Emeritus of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Wilma Smith, and New Zealand piano virtuoso John Chen, who was soloist on the programme. The photograph was taken at a break in the general rehearsal on the morning of 2 June.

Marc Taddei is Music Director of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Designate of the Vector Wellington Orchestra. He has a long association with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia and the Southern Sinfonia as well. He made his Australian debut with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra last September, and will debut with two orchestras in the United States in November.

New Zealand pianist John Chen, at 18 the youngest ever winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition, and winner at age 16 of the Lev Vlassenko competition in Brisbane before that, played the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1. Chen had made his debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra only two weeks before, on 19 May, playing the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 25. He makes further debuts this year with the Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and will appear with The Queensland Orchestra in 2007.

Wilma Smith, born in Suva and raised in Auckland, a graduate of Auckland University and founding member of the New Zealand String Quartet, is Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since resigning her position with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2001.

The 7:30 pm concert was the opening night in the KPMG Melbourne Town Hall Proms Series. The other works featured were Douglas Lilburn’s Aotearoa Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 Pastoral. As an encore, Maestro Taddei led the orchestra in the Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 6.


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