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AIDS Quilt Songbook to premiere in NZ

Internationally acclaimed AIDS Quilt Songbook to premiere in New Zealand

The AIDS Quilt Songbook, one of the most historically significant classical works to come from late twentieth century American music, will premiere in New Zealand on 16 November.

Performed by New Zealand School of Music Masters student Hadleigh Adams, the youngest ever male singer to occupy a place as a PWC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with the New Zealand Opera, and accompanied by renowned pianist Bruce Greenfield, the AIDS Quilt Songbook is a composition of 18 poems written by eminent American poets on the subject of AIDS, set to music by eighteen of America’s top composers.

Professor Elizabeth Hudson, Director of the School of Music said the resultant work is a monumental song cycle for baritone voice and piano, one of the most important musical responses to the AIDS epidemic.

“The range and depth of musical styles encompassed by the songs marks the set as one of the most significant representations of recent American composition,” she said.

“The work has been performed internationally by some of the world's top artists and has raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for AIDS research. In a time when new compositions often struggle to find an audience, the 1992 American premiere brought the audience to its feet. It has effectively provoked controversy, conflict, discussion and praise.”

Professor Hudson said that the opportunity to perform a premiere is a privilege that few singers are afforded, but Hadleigh has dedicated himself to achieving above and beyond the status quo.

“Hadleigh has worked hard to focus on dramatic interpretation in both the operatic and recital fields alike,” she said. “It is a bold and exciting move to bring this work to New Zealand audiences.”

The AIDS Quilt Songbook will premiere on 16 November at St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington with a full season to follow early in the New Year, including seasons in both Auckland and Christchurch. Entry is free with donations gratefully received at the conclusion of the performance.

Already confirmed to be in attendance are the Right Honourable Chris Carter, Her Worship the Mayor Kerry Prendergast, and Charles Chauval MP.

In lieu of a performance fee, Hadleigh will be donating all proceeds from this concert to the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.


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