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New Album By Olympics Composer Under Way

New Album By Olympics Composer Under Way

Three major John Psathas concertos are being recorded for a new album to be produced early next year by art music label Rattle.

Best known as the composer of the key ceremonial music for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, John Psathas is acknowledged as one of New Zealand’s brightest musical talents.

Hailed as New Zealand’s most ambitious classical recording project yet, Rattle will record the three concertos with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra together with featured soloists including renowned pianist Michael Houstoun, percussionist Pedro Carneiro from Portugal, and a yet to be announced saxophonist.

The recording includes the Piano Concerto commissioned by the NZSO in 2004, together with his Saxophone Concerto and View From Olympus, a double concerto for percussion, piano and orchestra which was commissioned by Evelyn Glennie and premiered during the XVII Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

“This is the definitive recording of John Psathas’ work,” says Rattle label manager Tim Gummer. “Previous Psathas recordings have been for small ensembles, trios, duos or solo performers. In contrast, this latest recording consists of three major orchestral works that flesh out Psathas’ musical vision on a much larger scale.”

John Psathas’ compositions are the most performed New Zealand works internationally. “John’s profile has increased enormously since his work was performed at the Olympics and we are thrilled to be once again working with John to record these three concertos and provide a platform to enable more people to experience his talent.”

John has won numerous awards and accolades over the years and was this year awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).

Rattle, an art music label known for releasing contemporary composers, jazz and ‘world’ music, has worked with John for a number of years and produced his album Rhythm Spike which went on to win Best Classical Album of the Year in 2000.


critic’s comments on john psathas’ rhythm spike:

“The music is fascinating and varied hectic and yet beautiful, exciting yet always with a sense of innate taut structure, noisy and yet also involving a world of contemplation.” Gillian Bibby MUSIC IN NZ

“There is no excuse for not treating yourself ... Get spiked!” William Dart The Listener

“… exceptional album... ” Graham Reid NZ HERALD

“It’s a gas!” Gary Steel METRO

“… a must for anyone interested in the best of our own creative talent.” Dr Leek NZ MUSICIAN

“The freshness of the challenging ideas in John Psathas' music, coupled with superb musicianship and excellent engineering, make this a recording no enthusiast for contemporary music can afford to miss.” Bryan James OTAGO DAILY TIMES

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