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NZSO "astonishes" Europe as tour ends on a high

Hamburg, Germany - 2330hrs Tuesday 16 November (Central European Time)

NZSO Media Release for immediate release

NZSO "astonishes" Europe as tour ends on a high

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has ended the biggest and most successful international tour of its history tonight with a standing ovation in Hamburg.

The orchestra received multiple standing ovations and an admiring critical reception across Europe, with Swiss newspaper Neue Luzerner Zeitung reporting "The orchestra from New Zealand was ... a sensation" and its performance in Lucerne had "astonished the audience".

Frankfurt's Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper wrote that the NZSO "showed their claws ... the geographically isolated New Zealand orchestra can play with heads held high."

Earlier the Badische Zeitung newspaper in the German city of Freiberg reported the NZSO "demonstrated that they can, without fear, allow themselves to be compared with leading European ensembles". It described the orchestra's style as "pepper with chilli on top".

The three-week NZSO tour of five countries included concerts in China, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia and Austria, including a performance at one of the world's most famous concert halls, Vienna's Musikverein.

NZSO Chief Executive Peter Walls said it was without doubt the orchestra's most significant international tour ever.

"We've proved beyond doubt that we can take our place among the world's finest orchestras in the most prestigious halls in musical history."

NZSO Music Director Pietari Inkinen said the orchestra was on a high. "We're playing with renewed passion and inspiration, as this was an emotional tour for many players who dreamed of playing in these halls. We'll now bring that added sparkle home to New Zealand audiences, so everyone can take pleasure in our overseas success."

Arts Minister Chris Finlayson attended the Vienna concert and described it as hugely important for New Zealand's reputation.

The NZSO tour party included 94 musicians, a support crew and, for the first time, a physiotherapist specialising in music-related injuries.

The orchestra arrives home to Wellington Airport at 6pm on Friday 19 November (NZ time).


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