News - 17 Aug 2023

Trumpet concerto a joy for conductor

There is a special feeling among members of an orchestra when one of their own steps into the limelight as a soloist during a performance.

Dunedin based conductor-composer Kenneth Young is especially looking forward to leading the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra as it supports principal trumpet Ralph Miller in performing Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in two matinee series concerts this weekend.

"I have worked with Ralph for a long time, and to have him up the front doing the concerto is wonderful for him, and cool for the orchestra," Young said.

"I’m really happy for Ralph, he is a great player and will no doubt do a fantastic job of the Haydn."

The popular Haydn Trumpet Concerto is the centrepiece of a programme featuring works by Dvorak, Mozart, Haydn, and Mendelssohn, to be performed this Saturday, August 19, at 5pm, and Sunday, August 20, at 3pm, at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre.

Young is pleased with the programme for the concerts, describing the Dvorak Wind Serenade as "an old favourite".

"It’s one of the most popular pieces for wind players — it’s a lovely, romantic piece, which is also substantial and gives the wind ensemble a chance to shine."

The Mozart Divertimento was one of three similar, light and entertaining pieces written by a young Mozart for string quartet and later arranged for orchestra.

Young said the Mendelssohn Symphony No.3, Scottish was the final symphony completed by the composer, and referenced landscape and a storm — although it had no specific Scottish folk elements.

"It is a gorgeous piece, brilliantly written — so it will be lovely to return to it."

The matinee concerts will be Young’s first outing for this year with the orchestra, which he describes as hard-working and dedicated.

"They always give their best effort — it is so satisfying to work with people who work as hard as they do," he said.

"As a conductor, you feel yourself to be a facilitator of the performance of good music."

In general, Young is focusing on writing and composing this year, including finishing a song cycle, working on piano pieces and an orchestral overture, and has begun sketches for a string quartet.

Young also does a lot of production work for New Zealand contemporary instrumental music label Rattle Records.

Last weekend, he enjoyed the opportunity to view the film of his opera The Strangest of Angels, as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival.

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