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‘Best trumpet player in the galaxy’ returns

1 September 2014 - NZSO Media Release for immediate release

The ‘best trumpet player in the galaxy’ returns to perform with the NZSO

Famous for his virtuosic skill and ‘fabulously velvet tone’, Håkan Hardenberger can make the trumpet sing like a human voice. The Swedish trumpeter has been declared ‘the best trumpet player in the galaxy’ by The Times and has performed with some of the world’s most prestigious international orchestras.

His smooth, silvery tone remains matchless. The Telegraph, 2014

We are delighted to welcome Hardenberger back to New Zealand seven years since he last toured with the NZSO. This time, he performs Australian composer Brett Dean’sTrumpet Concerto Dramatis Personae. Commissioned for Hardenberger to perform, Dramatis Personae showcases the virtuosic star at his unrivalled best.

Featuring the trumpeter as a fallen superhero, Dean’s new work premiered in August 2013 at the Grafenegg Music Festival in Austria. Cast in three movements, the Concerto refers to different characters associated with the trumpet. It opens with a depiction of the Fall of a Superhero, drawing equally upon comic strip scenarios and classical tales of heroism. The third movement pays homage to a scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

Alongside his phenomenal performances of the classical repertory, Hardenberger has a flair for new music. He is a pioneer of significant and virtuosic new trumpet works and his crisp, clean sound is a must hear for classical brass fans.

Born in Malmö, Sweden, Hardenberger began studying the trumpet with Bo Nilsson when he was eight. He continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire, with Pierre Thibaud and in Los Angeles with Thomas Stevens. Now, he performs regularly with leading world orchestras such as the Vienna and New York Philharmonics and collaborates with famous conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen and David Zinman. He is currently a professor at the Malmö Conservatoire.

NZSO brass players will take the honours in our Bold Worlds concert opener - Leoš Janáček’s Sinfonietta. A true ‘original’, Janáček’s music is grand and vivid, with bold brass sonorities and quirky woodwind tunes full of humour and surprise. Sinfonietta is a visual feast with a line-up of 12 trumpeters, two euphoniums, two bass trumpets, four trombones, and a tuba.

“The brass sound in Janáček’s Sinfonietta is wide and rich - never engulfing or harsh,” says NZSO Section Principal Trombone, David Bremner. “It’s absolutely fantastic writing for brass.”

Completing the evening is Modest Mussorgsky’s popular Pictures at an Exhibition, a continuation of the evening’s exquisite writing for brass. A solo trumpet blasts out the great Russian composer’s instantly recognisable opening theme with grace and dignity before the full Orchestra joins in.

Composed in memory of Mussorsgky’s friend and painter Victor Hartmann, Pictures at an Exhibition takes us on a musical journey through a series of paintings by his late friend. Sadly, Hartmann died from an aneurysm in 1873. The sudden loss affected Mussorgsky immensely and prompted the influential critic Vladimir Stasov to organise an exhibition of Hartmann’s works in Saint Petersburg’s Academy of Fine Arts. Mussorgsky was so moved by the exhibition that he reportedly composed Pictures at an Exhibition in six weeks following the experience.

During the composition process, he wrote to Stasov:

…sounds and ideas hang in the air, I am gulping and overeating, and can barely manage to scribble them on paper. I am writing the 4thNo. - the transitions are good (on the 'promenade'). I want to work more quickly and reliably… So far I think it's well turned…

Originally composed for piano, Maurice Ravel expertly orchestrated the work and it is this arrangement that will be performed by the NZSO. A richly descriptive score, its bold musical language accentuates the sonorous harmonies of the Orchestra.

Renowned for his precise, elegant style, Maestro Dima Slobodeniouk is the ideal conductor to lead this bold programme. Currently the Music Director of Spain’s Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Slobodeniouk’s supreme musicianship will bring this deeply personal work alive in his debut performance with the NZSO.

Discover bold worlds of sound this October. Hear a living icon perform live with your national orchestra in Bold Worlds, in association with NZ Listener.

Håkan Hardenberger delivered a glowing UK premiere of Dean's new trumpet concerto. The Guardian, June 2014


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