News - 14 Apr 2023

International performers return

Overseas artists will return to the stage alongside Dunedin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in this year’s season, a welcome change from the past three Covid-impacted years.

Overseas artists will return to the stage alongside Dunedin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in this year’s season, a welcome change from the past three Covid-impacted years.

DSO general manager Philippa Harris said the orchestra’s approach of focusing on New Zealand artists during Covid restrictions had "worked very well".

"It’s lovely that we were able to keep our concert series going with the incredible New Zealand artists available, but it’s nice to now be able to bring in a mix of local and overseas performers."

Ms Harris said the ability of live music to connect people had underpinned the selection of an outstanding group of conductors and soloists for this year.

The DSO’s year began with last month’s hugely successful "All You Need is Love" concert, featuring the music of the Beatles performed by local singers.

Next weekend, about 20 DSO players will support City Choir Dunedin in its "Alleluia! Music for Eastertide" concert at Knox Church, and the full orchestra will play in the final concert of the Dunedin Concerto Competition late next month.

The heart of this year’s DSO concert season is its International and Matinee Series concerts, which are set to begin in June and run until December.

Among the highlights will be the return of eminent conductors James Judd, Brent Stewart, Kenneth Young and Umberto Clerici, as well as London-based conductor Simon Over, who was last in Dunedin in 2019.

Over will conduct the International Series concert on September 23, which will feature the world premiere of Dunedin-based conductor Anthony Ritchie’s Symphony No. 6, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World.

The orchestra will also welcome top soloists including internationally acclaimed tenor Simon O’Neill, mezzo-soprano Wendy Dawn Thompson, and Australian pianist Konstantin Shamray, as well as New Zealand’s own taonga pūoro specialist Ariana Tikao and up-and-coming pianist Benjamin Carter.

"Simon O’Neill is back to doing what he does so well — singing in the major opera houses of the world, so we are thrilled to have him back on stage with us," Ms Harris said.

O’Neill will feature alonside Thompson, Carter and conductor James Judd in the International Series concert on June 24, featuring the six songs that make up Mahler’s Song of the Earth and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21.

Other featured works will be the sweeping romanticism of Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn, as well as New Zealand works by Ritchie, Gillian Whitehead, Brigid Bisley, Ariana Tikao, Philip Brownlee and Larry Pruden.

The orchestra will present a Celebrating Matariki concert in its Matinee Series this year. Concerts on July 22 and 23 featuring Tikao and conductor Brent Stewart. The concerts’ music will depict aspects of the sky by some of this country’s leading composers and performers.

Dunedin artists will feature in the second Matinee Series concerts on August 19 and 20, conducted by Kenneth Young with principal trumpet Ralph Miller as soloist in Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto.

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