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A night of colour and fantasy

Media Release

for immediate release

27 August 2006

A night of colour and fantasy

Australasian premiere of View from Olympus with the Christchurch Symphony, 2005:
“Leonard Sakofsky was simply outstanding… and it was great to hear Michael Houstoun on the piano as a pivotal element in the synthesis of sound.” [Christchurch Star]
“The standing ovation was well deserved.” [The Press]

A night of colour and fantasy is promised for the 11th concert in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s APN News & Media Premier Series concert on Thursday 21 September.

Conductor Marc Taddei, whose interpretive flair always impresses, opens the concert with the APO displaying the exotic sounds of Stravinsky’s Song of the Nightingale, a piece drawn from a Chinese fable. Another thrilling colour is then introduced by the eagerly-awaited Auckland premiere of New Zealand composer John Psathas’ View from Olympus, fresh from successful performances in the United States and described in The Press in 2005 as “an exciting, momentous work”. This double concerto for percussion, piano and orchestra features the superb talents of Leonard Sakofsky, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s principal percussionist, and audience favourite, Michael Houstoun.

Very few fail to be seduced by the insistent rhythms of Ravel’s most famous showpiece Bolero, and it is preceded by De Falla’s delicate and fragrant Nights in the Gardens of Spain, once more featuring the skilful hands of Michael Houstoun.

Since his teens, Michael Houstoun has been a household name in New Zealand. Throughout the last 30 years he has performed regularly with orchestras, as a recitalist, and as a chamber music partner. He draws from a large and ever-expanding repertoire which includes the most recent compositions by New Zealand composers alongside the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. These 32 sonatas Michael Houstoun played in a series of cycles in the 1990s, and the recording of them led to the establishment of Trust Records in 1995.

Leonard Sakofsky has been Principal Percussionist of the APO since 1997 and has already gained a reputation as an outstanding player both as a soloist and in ensembles. At only 17, he was a finalist in the New York Philharmonic Concerto Competition for Young Artists, and appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra in the Kraft Concerto for Four Percussion and Orchestra aged 19. Since coming to New Zealand, he has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras and festivals and was a member of 175 East Contemporary Ensemble for six years.

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra APN News & Media Premier Series

Thursday 21 September – 8pm, Auckland Town Hall THE EDGE®

Bookings: phone Ticketek Orchestra Hotline on (09) 307 5139 or visit

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra receives major funding from Creative New Zealand and major grants from Auckland City and the ASB Community Trust.


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