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Orchestra Wellington Launches 2013 Season

Orchestra Wellington Launches 2013 Season

Orchestra Wellington’s 2013 season celebrates the energy and confidence of popular music transformed by the creative genius of the great composers. The orchestra also makes a feature of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, and gives some exciting New Zealand voices a turn in the spotlight.

Each concert explores how popular music styles have influenced and inspired classical music composers in the past century, musical director Marc Taddei says.

“I'm delighted to be able to present some of the best known and loved works in this genre, in addition to lesser known works that take as their starting point a deep and abiding affection for popular music,” Taddei says.

In that vein, 20th century American masterpieces by Bernstein, Gershwin and Ellington feature strongly, as well as the multicultural folk songs of Berio.

From the 21st century, the orchestra presents John Psathas’ folk-roots collaboration Pounamu, and Solid Gold, a fond glance at modern pop music from Orchestra Wellington Composer in Residence Juliet Palmer.

Solid Gold will be premiered by soprano Madeleine Pierard. Palmer calls it, “an acoustic remix of unshakeable pop songs”.

Pierard is “blessed with a voice of glittering, secure virtuosity” according to the Classical Source magazine, and she comes to us fresh from resounding successes during her residency with the Royal Opera.

Composer John Psathas has also explored ways to blend popular and orchestral music, and Orchestra Wellington is proud to welcome Warren Maxwell as soloist in Psathas’ Pounamu. Maxwell is firmly established in the pantheon of legendary New Zealand musicians through his involvement with Trinity Roots, Little Bushman and Fat Freddy’s Drop. He will sing and play acoustic and bass guitars in Psathas’ folk-roots concerto that takes as its subject ‘invisible people': the homeless, the elderly, the impoverished.

Orchestra Wellington’s 2013 season also chronicles Beethoven’s imaginative process: the four strikingly original overtures he created as he sought the perfect introduction to his opera Fidelio, along with his canny and lightfooted Eighth Symphony.

Another season highlight is a performance by Grammy-award winning bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu, who joins the orchestra to sing Mussorgsky’s powerful and seductive Songs and Dances of Death.

Lemalu is globally acclaimed as an opera singer, concert performer, recitalist and recording artist. He has performed with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Glyndebourne and Salzburg Festivals. He has worked with conductors Valery Gergiev, Antonio Pappano, Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Colin Davis among others.

Classical instrumental soloists for 2013 are Andrew Joyce, the young star principal cellist of the NZSO, and violinist Natalia Lomeiko, who won the Michael Hill and Premio Paganini International Violin Competitions.

Joyce, who hails from Norwich, comes to New Zealand fresh from a busy and successful career in the highly competitive London orchestral scene. Orchestra Wellington is delighted to welcome him for a performance of Bernstein’s Three Meditations from his Mass.

Russian-born Lomeiko will join the orchestra to play Bernstein’s Serenade for solo violin and orchestra, a breathtakingly difficult work. Bernstein once likened it to Plato’s Dialogue, “a series of related statements in praise of love”.

Taddei, a Julliard alumnus, always delights in presenting works by fellow Americans. In 2013, Orchestra Wellington will perform An American in Paris by George Gershwin, and one of Duke Ellington’s more serious essays, Night Creature, which is a kind of concerto grosso for saxophone quartet and orchestra. Bernstein’s lively ballet score, Fancy Free, provides a counterweight to the more serious Serenade in the orchestra’s final programme.

In addition to its composer in residence, Orchestra Wellington also supports an Emerging Composer in Residence. Karlo Margetic has been in that role and the orchestra looks forward to playing his commission Music for Wind, Brass and Percussion for its first subscription concert.

On March 9, the orchestra will perform its popular annual outdoor concert, the Dominion Post Summer Concert at Government House. Also outdoors, the orchestra will play for Nelson’s Opera in the Park on February 16.

The ever-popular Baby Pops will return on April 14, taking young listeners on safari “Back to the Jungle”.

As always, the orchestra maintains a busy schedule in supporting roles, accompanying the NBR NZ Opera’s season of Madame Butterfly, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Tutus on Tour and Made to Move, Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir’s performance of Handel’s Messiah, and the Orpheus choir’s Mozart Mass in c-minor.


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