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Next WCO Concert - Gregory Squire, Deidre Irons

Arts Reporters, editors: For use as appropriate over the next 10 days (concert is Sunday 3rd December).

Press release starts:

Wellington audiences can look forward to being stirred (not shaken) in a programme of unashamedly evocative and exuberant music as Gregory Squire conducts the Wellington Chamber Orchestra in their performance on Sunday 3rd December in St-Andrew’s-on-the-Terrace.

This concert will also be an opportunity to hear one of New Zealand’s finest pianists playing a work of delightful effervescence as Deidre Irons takes the role of soloist with Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor. This is the work with which Canadian-born Irons made her stage debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the age of twelve. Irons emmigrated to New Zealand in 1977 and has since established herself as a solo and chamber music performer and teacher. The A Minor Concerto was written for and first performed by Robert Schumann’s wife Clara and it contains all the youthful romance and rhythmic playfulness that is so typical of the composer’s work.

Gregory Squire, originally from Waipukurau, has had a career in music that has taken him to the other side of the world as a violinist, conductor and teacher in England and Scotland before returning to a position with the first violins in the NZSO. In this concert he has brought the other side of the world to New Zealand with three works from Finnish composer Jean Sibelius: Finlandia, the Karelia Suite and The Swan of Tuonela. New Zealanders seem to empathise with the first two of these works in particular and the stirring tunes and dramatic orchestrations will be familiar to many here. In fact, the first movement from the Karelia Suite was used to introduce the 1970s film This Is New Zealand – its sweeping, climatic grandeur seemed to be particularly suitable for the camera’s swooping flight across the Southern Alps. Sibelius was regarded as a nationalistic hero in Finland and these three works cemented his reputation for writing works that married the legend and landscape of his homeland. Finlandia became something of an anthem, particularly at the turn into the twentieth century as Finland struggled to resist Russian influence and remain an autonomous country.

Audiences can look forward to some gutsy work from brass and percussion, delicate interweaving of woodwind melodies – including the famed cor anglais solos in the Swan of Tuonela – and richly harmonic ensemble playing from the strings in what promises to be a highly popular and enjoyable programme.


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