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NZSO presents a pop and rock-influenced masterpiece


For its first 2020 concert the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performs a work inspired by pop and minimalist rock from lauded American composer John Adams this Friday, 31 January.

Adams’ Fearful Symmetries features in the Shed Series concert Symmetries at Wellington’s Shed 6.

“The music is more closely allied to pop and minimalist rock. It’s clearly an example of what I call my ‘travelling music’, music that gives the impression of continuous movement over a shifting landscape,” Adams says of Fearful Symmetries.

Six other exceptional works also feature in the Symmetries concert: Mozart’s irresistable and perfectly structured Divertimento No. 11 Rondo, Brahms’ exhilirating Hungarian Dance Nos. 1 and 3, American composer Russell Peck’s soul and blues-influenced Drastic Measures, and British composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Bach Measures – his acclaimed arrangements of eight of Bach’s Choral Preludes.

New Zealand composer Lissa Meridan’s numerous compositions have included works for orchestras and chamber orchestras, vocalists, films and gallery installations. Her 2002 work Tuning the head of a pin, which the NZSO will perform, is a mesmerising example of how she explores and manipulates exotic textures of sound.

A Spotify playlist of some of the Symmetries works can be heard here.

NZSO Principal Conductor in Residence and Shed Series director Hamish McKeich says Symmetries has something for everyone in launching the Shed Series in 2020.

“The audience will enjoy a fantastic selection of music spanning four centuries from 1776 to 2002. The intimate space of Shed 6 on Wellington’s waterfront is perfect for performing these superb works,” he says.

“As with our previous Shed Series concerts in 2018 and 2019, it’s an informal and fun way to experience the NZSO and enjoy five distinctive works.”

The hit Shed Series series is designed to appeal to audiences new to the NZSO and for those keen to see the Orchestra perform outside a traditional concert hall. Previous concerts have included works by Frank Zappa and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, as well as giants Beethoven and Mozart.

The Shed Series audience can sit or stand during the performances and buy a drink or a bite to eat throughout the evening. In 2020 for the first time the Shed Series will also be performed in Auckland in April and September.

Tickets to Symmetries are just $35 or $15 for students via ticketmaster.co.nz.

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