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A rare talent with a rare instrument to perform

A rare talent with a rare instrument to perform with the NZSO

Acclaimed French musician Antoine Tamestit will perform in October with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on one of the world’s rarest violas.

Tamestit, who is the guest soloist for the Orchestra’s Travels in Italy concert tour, plays a Stradivarius viola made in 1672 by the renowned Italian instrument maker Antonio Stradivari. It was the first viola built by Stradivari, and due to the wood used, is distinct from the other 15 viola Stradivari is known to have made.

“There was something incredible about it, but it needed patience,” says Tamestit on first playing the instrument. “Now I’m so happy to be saying that I can play everything on it … I feel really inspired and lucky … I feel like we are both in it together.”

Tamestit is a solo violist of rare distinction, in constant demand as a chamber musician and recitalist alongside his many orchestral concerto engagements. He has also been highly praised for his recordings, including five star reviews.

Travels in Italy will be conducted NZSO’s well-travelled Music Director Emeritus Maestro James Judd and celebrates works by three great composers influenced by Italian culture, literature and the Italian landscape.

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Tamestit will perform with the NZSO Hector Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, based on Lord Byron’s famous poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

Travels in Italy also features Englishman Edward Elgar’s In the South, inspired by the composer’s walks on ancient Roman roads, and Russian Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini, a salute to the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.

Judd was NZSO Music Director from 1999 to 2007 and led the Orchestra’s first-ever appearance at The Proms in Britain in 2005. He made several recordings with the NZSO and continues to conduct many of the world’s top orchestras. This year he became Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.

Judd said in a recent interview he sees himself as just one musician among many when he conducts. “It’s such an incredible thing when it works. We all come together [and] the audience are part of that.”

Judd and the NZSO take Travels in Italy to Wellington on 6 October, Christchurch on 11 October and Auckland on 13 October.


WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre| Friday 6 October| 6.30pm

CHRISTCHURCH | Air Force Museum| Wednesday 11 October| 7pm

AUCKLAND | Town Hall| Friday 13 October| 7.30pm

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