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NZSO To Livestream Free Performance To All Of New Zealand

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will livestream a free performance from Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre to all of New Zealand next week on 25 March.

The NZSO’s decision to livestream an on-stage performance follows the ban this week on public events of more than 100 people due to COVID-19.

The Orchestra has suspended its scheduled concerts around the country until May. In their place, the NZSO will perform at the Michael Fowler Centre and livestream performances for free so that anyone can see the Orchestra live via their smart TV, phone, tablet or computer.

People who can’t watch the live performance from 7.30pm on 25 March will be able to watch a recording of the performance later on YouTube.

RNZ is the NZSO’s project partner for the livestream and has been working with the Orchestra on making the event possible.

For the 25 March livestream the NZSO will perform the great composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, one of the finest works from music’s baroque period.

The NZSO performed Goldberg Variations, directed by NZSO Concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen and featuring acclaimed pianist Stephen De Pledge, earlier this month to packed venues in the Greater Wellington region, Palmerston North, Tauranga and Hamilton.

The Manawatu Standard said the NZSO’s Goldberg Variations concert was superb. “The Orchestra succeeded in providing a rare and immensely satisfying concert performance of this monumental opus.”

NZSO Interim Chief Executive Peter Biggs says the ban on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic was crucial for the health and safety of all New Zealanders.

“We also know that in extraordinary times like this music becomes even more important in bringing people together and in lifting our spirits. Immediately once the ban was announced, our players, staff, RNZ and our other performing partners swung into action. We were determined to livestream a performance this month.”

Mr Biggs says the Orchestra was also buoyed by the many messages of support from New Zealanders after suspending concert activity. “We knew we had to bring music to them in another way.”

He says Bach’s Goldberg Variations was a beautiful work for the first livestreamed performance and it would appeal to all New Zealanders. “Bach has influenced and inspired countless musicians over the past 300 years, including some of the biggest names in popular music today. Goldberg Variations is one of his best works. It’s both uplifting and deeply moving - and just what we all need in our lives right now.”

The livestream performance of Goldberg Variations can be viewed from 7.30pm on 25 March at

A recording of the performance will be available to view later at


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