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Kiwi picked as future classical music superstar

Kiwi picked as future classical music superstar

The venerable Gramophone magazine, founded way back in 1923, has announced Dunedin-born Bass-Baritone, Jonathan Lemalu as one of its 20 'Classical Music Superstars of the Future'.

The August 2006 Gramophone has a special cover feature spotlighting the stars that are quickly ascending the operatic and concert ladders, naming Lemalu with compatriots countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and violinist Julia Fischer. Lemalu is the only young performer named from the Asia-Pacific region among artists that predominately come from Europe, America and the United Kingdom.

The highly anticipated return to New Zealand of Dunedin-born Lemalu, following extremely successful debuts in New York, and Chicago's Lyric Opera, sees him performing concerts in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington over the next week, with a concert in his home town tonight.

Thomas Allen from the Gramophone magazine writes, "It's not every month that a student's debut disc finds itself Gramophone Record of the Month but Jonathan Lemalu's debut disc did just that in 2002 - taking a Gramophone Award later that year. He continues to enjoy the poetry of songs with a simple no-nonsense approach. This is a mark of a fine artist who, God willing, will be with us for many years to come and in whom the future of song is safe."

Jonathan Lemalu was born and brought up in Dunedin, his Samoan background first nurturing his love of music as he sang in choirs and at church. A normal childhood meant that he "loved singing Bach, but I also loved running riot with my friends."

Jonathan has since gone on to be one of the brightest lights of the current young generation of singers. With the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra he represented New Zealand at the 2005 BBC Proms performing songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, the same repertoire he will showcase in these upcoming performances.


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