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Young musicians all fired up to perform Stravinsky classic

13 June 2018 - NZSO media release for immediate release

Our best young musicians all fired up to perform Stravinsky classic

Acclaimed Spanish conductor Jaime Martín will lead the NZSO National Youth Orchestra next month in concerts which include the mesmerising Suite from The Firebird by the great Igor Stravinsky.

NYO The Firebird in Wellington and Auckland will also feature former National Youth Orchestra bassoonist Todd Gibson-Cornish. The New Zealander is the youngest principal player in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, having been appointed Principal Bassoon in 2016 at age 21.

Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird, written for fellow Russian and Ballets Russes founder Sergei Diaghilev, made the composer a household name after it premiered in 1910. His further collaborations with Ballets Russes included the ground-breaking The Rite of Spring, which Martín conducted with the NZSO in 2015.

For NYO The Firebird, the National Youth Orchestra will perform Stravinsky’s 1945 version, which was the final time he revised the Suite.

Formerly Principal Flautist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Martín became a full-time conductor after enjoying a stint conducting the Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra. “I've always been curious about the conductor, what it is that makes a difference for an orchestra,” he said when conducting the NZSO in 2015.

Gibson-Cornish will perform French composer André Jolivet’s Bassoon Concerto, one of the most difficult in the bassoon repertoire.

“I have known the piece for quite some time, but have never performed it,” Gibson-Cornish says. “It’s a piece which pushes the limits of what a bassoon can do and certainly shows off the instrument in a way you would not hear within the orchestral context. It’s very challenging but also extremely fun, so I am really looking forward to performing it.”

Gibson-Cornish joined the NZSO National Youth Orchestra in 2011 and became its Principal Bassoonist. “I was quite young to be Principal, taking on the responsibility of leading the section when others around me were much older – it was a musical challenge.”

Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s Suites No. 1 and No. 2, written for another Diaghilev ballet The Three-Cornered Hat, are also included in NYO The Firebird. De Falla’s infectious rhythms and dance-style melodies, influenced by Spanish folk traditions, caused a sensation when the ballet was performed in London in 1919.

NYO The Firebird will also present the world premiere of Redwood, a new work by the 2018 NYO Composer-in-Residence, Josiah Carr.

The NZSO National Youth Orchestra, founded in 1959, has played a vital role in nurturing and offering unique opportunities to young musicians and composers. Many have gone on to forge careers in music. About half of the NZSO’s current players are former members of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.


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