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Fiery & Rhapsodic Opening To Apo’s 2008 Season

Fiery & Rhapsodic Opening To Apo’s 2008 Season

Playing With Fire – APN News & Media Premier Series, Concert 1

8pm, Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE

Rhapsody In Blue – Vero Aotea Series, Concert 1

8pm, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE

January 21, 2008 – Auckland audiences are offered a feast of classical music in February when the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra launches its 2008 Season with two diverse concerts featuring two acclaimed pianists.

Both the APO’s APN News & Media Premier Series and Vero Aotea Series will have their opening concerts in February just one week apart.

Lithuanian pianist M�za Rubackyt� will be the guest soloist at the first APN News & Media Premier Series concert, Playing With Fire, in the Auckland Town Hall, THE EDGE on Thursday 21st March. Under the baton of conductor Christian Knapp, Ms. Rubackyt� will open the concert and the series with Chopin’s first piano concerto, a stunning showpiece written in 1830 by the composer to show off his piano skills and establish his reputation as a composer.

Lauded throughout Europe, this concert will be M�za Rubackyt�’s New Zealand concert debut. Her visit is much-anticipated by the local Lithuanian community, to whom she is considered a national treasure. In 1998 Lithuania honoured Ms. Rubackyt� and the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin with the country’s highest cultural award, the Legion of Merit, for their extraordinary international music accomplishments. In 2006 the nation presented her with its National Award and named her the country’s ‘muse’.

Playing With Fire also features orchestrated waltzes by Ravel and will conclude with Stravinsky’s electrifying Firebird Suite from his groundbreaking 1910 ballet score.

A week later, the orchestra will travel to America, musically speaking, with Rhapsody in Blue, the first concert in its Vero Aotea Series on Thursday 28th February in the Aotea Centre, THE EDGE.

US-based conductor Christian Knapp will once again take the podium for an American-themed programme with George Gershwin’s brilliant and much-loved combination of jazz and piano, Rhapsody In Blue, at its core. Guest soloist is Wellington-based pianist, Diedre Irons, whose performance of this piece in Christchurch last year was described as “exemplary” and “outstanding”.

The concert also features Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Three Hudson River Pieces by Ponsonby-based, New York-born Jonathan Besser and will conclude with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 ‘From the new world’.

Three Hudson River Pieces was originally written for Besser’s group Bravura. The Jade String Quartet (made up of four APO musicians) then requested an arrangement of the work. The Auckland Chamber Orchestra followed suit, performing it in concert last year, and now the piece will have its most expansive arrangement yet, for a full symphony orchestra.

“The APO enjoys a reputation for presenting innovative and interesting concert programmes and having the first concerts in the Vero Aotea Series and APN News & Media Premier Series so close together means audiences are treated to two diverse concerts that showcase the variety and versatility of the orchestra,” says APO Chief Executive, Barbara Glaser. “Both promise to be very special occasions and we look forward to welcoming Aucklanders back into the concert hall for 2008.”

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is a fulltime professional orchestra that performs around 100 concerts a year, attracting audiences from throughout the region. In addition to its own series of concerts, it accompanies Auckland productions presented by the NBR New Zealand Opera, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and visiting international productions as well as performing at large-scale community events such as Aquatica and the SkyCity Starlight Symphony.

Subscriptions to the 12-concert APN News & Media Premier Series and three-concert Vero Aotea Series are still available. Subscribing to a full series guarantees you the best seats and also saves you money. Mix ’n’ Match and Flexi Pass subscription options (minimum of four concerts) are also available from the APO Ticket Office, Ph 09 623 1052 or visit

Single tickets to Playing with Fire (from $20-$110) and Rhapsody in Blue (from $20 to $65) are available from January 22 from Ticketek, Ph 09 307 5139,


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