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Renowned Scottish pianist Steven Osborne tours with NZSO


Acclaimed Scottish pianist Steven Osborne will tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in July in concerts featuring the world premiere of a new work by Kiwi composer Michael Norris.

Mātauranga will have Osborne, hailed as “one of the UK’s most gifted pianists”, performing Mozart’s enchanting Piano Concerto No. 12 in Wellington and Auckland, and Beethoven’s boundary-pushing Piano Concerto No. 4 in Napier, Tauranga and Hamilton.

“With Mozart everything’s always so exposed. You’ve got nothing to hide behind. Every tiny, little gesture ... you need to make it work in a very precise kind of way,” says Osborne.

“There’s an incredible thing with Beethoven, this ability to not go through the motions but to fundamentally create something each time.”

Osborne last played with the NZSO in 2009, where he was praised for his performances of Mozart and Shostakovich. “Osborne may cut a slight, modest figure, but he can deliver thunderbolts,” declared The New Zealand Herald.

Michael Norris’ new work Mātauranga (Rerenga) is inspired by Captain James Cook’s first encounters with Māori in 1769. It was commissioned as part of the NZSO’s Landfall Series to mark the 250th anniversary of the encounters this year. Norris’ evocative piece will include the sounds of taonga puoro, (traditional Māori instruments) and live electronics to represent indigenous flora and fauna, as well as mātauranga – Māori knowledge and wisdom.

The tour will also be the NZSO debut of Grammy-nominated Uruguayan conductor Carlos Kalmar.

Maestro Kalmar has conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras and is Music Director of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. He was nominated for Grammy Awards in 2012 and 2015. “I dedicate myself with all my energy and talent to the great language of music. The important thing is to find the kernels of deepest truth in one’s art form and commit oneself to conveying those truths,” he’s said.

In Wellington and Auckland Mātauranga will also feature Argentinian Osvaldo Gojijov’s mesmerising Last Round, inspired by the great tango composers Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazzolla, and Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s life-affirming Symphony No. 4 The Inextinguishable.

Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony expresses what the composer described as “what we understand by the spirit of life or manifestations of life”. The work premiered in 1916 during the First World War, when Nielsen felt “It’s as if the world is disintegrating”.

For performances in Napier, Tauranga and Hamilton, Mātauranga will also feature Felix Mendelssohn’s famous The Hebrides Overture, inspired by a visit to Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa, and Mozart’s inventive Symphony No.38.

Nicknamed the Prague Symphony for where it premiered, Mozart’s Symphony No.38 is one of his most adventurous works, written during an intense period of creativity for the prolific composer.

Tickets to Mātauranga are available via ticketmaster.co.nz (Wellington and Auckland) and ticketek.co.nz (Napier, Tauranga, Hamilton).

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