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Samuel Jacobs, French Horn soloist for the 'Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss' concert

Ask any horn player who their favourite composer is and it is likely Richard Strauss’s name would come up more often than not. The beautiful, dramatic and lyrical lines Strauss writes for the horn are an absolute joy to play (and a devil to master), and he undoubtedly sits alongside other great composers such as Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms and Richard Wagner as someone who really understands what the horn can do. And luckily for us, Strauss went above and beyond those other three greats and wrote not one but two concertos for the horn.

Matthias Bamert, the conductor for the 'Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss' concert

I am very much looking forward to returning to Dunedin. During my five years as Principal Guest Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, I visited Dunedin regularly and I have fond memories of a very attractive town in a beautiful surrounding.

Newsletter April/May 2024 - Message From Philippa Harris, General Manager

Welcome to the DSO’s 2024! Drama. Lyrical beauty. Melodies that sweep you away. Our first 2024 series concert programme has all these, and we’re delighted that the series starts with two outstanding guest artists: soloist Samuel Jacobs and conductor Matthias Bamert, both with the DSO for the first time.

DSO performs to an estimated 20,000 people!

2024 started with a bang for the DSO!

DSO's performance as part of Synthony at Electric Avenue Festival 2024

The DSO performed as part of Synthony in the 2024 Electric Avenue Festival at Hagley Park, Christchurch

Packed year for DSO

National and international stars combine with the best in local musicianship in the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s 2024 season, announced this week. - Brenda Harwood, The Star

DSO appoints Principal Guest Conductor

The DSO has secured New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Music Director Emeritus James Judd as Principal Guest Conductor for 2024-26. We greatly look forward to the two DSO concerts he will be conducting this year.

A taste of the arts in 2024

Dunedin’s arts calendar for 2024 is starting to fill up. Rebecca Fox of the Otago Daily Times takes a look at some of what has been programmed so far. From Shakespeare to ABBA and everything in between, Dunedin audiences will again be spoilt for choice as local arts practitioners get set to do the hard graft to entertain people this year.

REVIEW: Wonderful end to a fulfilling year

A large audience came together at Dunedin Town Hall to hear the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in its final concert for the year and were treated to a musical feast.

Contrast admirably achieved throughout

Conductor Umberto Clerici (now based in Australia) guided the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra through three popular classical works last Saturday evening, in a very well-filled Dunedin Town Hall.

Pianist goes with the flow

It has been more than 20 years since the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra performed 'Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1' so its coming concert with Australian-based Russian pianist Konstantin Shamray, who is on his first visit to Dunedin, will be a special one. He tells Rebecca Fox of the Otago Daily Times about his love for the piano.

Introducing the phwealth concert ‘Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto’ Conductor Umberto Clerici

I’m very happy to be returning to the DSO after playing 'Elgar's Cello Concerto' almost 10 years ago and conducting a wonderful programme last year. What I love about DSO is the huge range of different experiences within the musicians of the orchestra: this produces a special fabric of social and musical interactions. There might be some players who have never played a Schumann symphony and others who have played the 1st 'Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto' many times in their career.

Introducing the phwealth concert ‘Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto’ soloist Konstantin Shamray

One of the most majestic moments in music is the very opening of Tchaikovsky's B-flat minor piano concerto. No matter how many times I hear a performance of this work, as soon as the horns play their first notes, my soul soars, nothing else matters in the world. What a monument to the music!

DSO School Tour 2023

We’re looking forward to kicking off our annual Schools Tour in mid-November. This year, we’ll be visiting primary schools around Dunedin, Port Chalmers, Mosgiel, and the Oamaru area to play fun educational concerts to introduce the kids to our instruments and to classical music in general. We’ll be visiting 15 schools in five days, which means our music will reach approximately 1800 kids!

All Together Appeal 2023 - Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our ALL TOGETHER APPEAL 2023. The strength of our DSO community keeps the orchestra flourishing and the music alive season after season. Musicians, music lovers, concert-goers, donors, funders, sponsors, dedicated volunteers - you are the heart of our musical village.

Newsletter November/December 2023 - Message From Philippa Harris, General Manager

What a wonderful year we’ve had so far: A Beatles music concert, Mahler’s 'Das Lied von der Erde' with soloists Wendy Dawn Thompson and Simon O’Neill, 'Celebrating Matariki' with a special commission from Dame Gillian Whitehead, and 'Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto' featuring our own Principal Trumpeter Ralph Miller.

Two beautiful symphonies conducted for final show

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra bade farewell to principal guest conductor Simon Over with a superb performance of two wonderful symphonies on Saturday night.

Conductor returns to city

The last time London-based visiting conductor Simon Over led the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) in concert was in August, 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Article by Brenda Harwood - The Star

Saxophone in Anthony Ritchie's 'Symphony No.6'

A sneak peek from Tessa Frazer playing the saxophone part in Anthony Ritchie's new composition 'Symphony No.6'.

Introducing Simon Over the Conductor for the Dvořák’s New World concert

At the time of my last concert in Dunedin in August 2019, none of us could have imagined that by the following April, the whole world would be in Lockdown. Returning to the country I love so much is always a great pleasure; this year, post- pandemic, returning takes on a much greater significance, and to be conducting another Anthony Ritchie première as well as another symphony that I’ve known and loved since childhood intensifies the anticipation.

Show a chance for every talent to shine

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s concert, featuring Franz Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, gave a thoroughly satisfying performance at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre on Saturday.

Introducing the Composer Anthony Ritchie for the Dvořák’s New World concert

'Symphony No.6' was begun during the first lockdown in New Zealand March-April 2020, and to some extent informed by the crisis enveloping the country and the world. However, the work is also inspired by personal experiences, beginning in 2019 and book-ended by the composer’s serious illness in 2021.

Chance to play concerto ‘a big deal’

For 30 years, Ralph Miller has been playing the trumpet and this weekend he gets to celebrate the anniversary by playing the ultimate piece for the trumpet, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. He tells Rebecca Fox of the Otago Daily Times about the significance of the piece.

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.

Introducing the Forsyth Barr concert 'Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto' Conductor Kenneth Young

I just love programmes like this, which allow winds, brass and strings to separately demonstrate their musicianship and passion. There is a particular energy and enthusiasm which is evident, especially when one of their own is playing a concerto.

Introducing the Forsyth Barr concert 'Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto' Soloist Ralph Miller

Joseph Haydn's Trumpet Concerto was written in 1796 to show off the brand- new keyed trumpet, designed by his friend Anton Weidinger. The baroque trumpet had been limited to the notes in its harmonic series and could only play melodies in the upper register; by the classical era this was considered unsustainable and unfashionable.

Newsletter August/September 2023 - Message From Philippa Harris, General Manager

Time to banish the winter blues and enjoy some heart-warming music at DSO’s concerts! And we have some real treats lined up. In the spotlight will be three talented Dunedin-based musicians: DSO’s Principal Trumpet player Ralph Miller as soloist, acclaimed conductor Kenneth Young, and internationally respected composer Anthony Ritchie.

Spirited Matariki performance

The gentle, haunting sounds of taonga pūoro were highlighted in a fascinating Matariki programme presented by Dunedin Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Brent Stewart at the weekend.

NZ composers, traditional Māori instruments to fore

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra conducted by Brent Stewart celebrated Matariki with two weekend matinee concerts at the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre.

Introducing the Forsyth Barr concert Celebrating Matariki – Whakanuia Matariki : Conductor Brent Stewart

I’m thrilled to be conducting such a palpable and exciting programme with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.

Introducing the Forsyth Barr concert Celebrating Matariki – Whakanuia Matariki : Ariana Tikao

Ariana Tikao – Taonga Pūoro. 'Manaaki' relates to the concept of manaakitaka, the responsibility of hosts to look after guests, and make them feel well and acknowledged. It is also a reminder for us all to care for our community's most vulnerable members.

Remarkable night of music making

A stunning new talent and music legends combined in a remarkable night of music making on Saturday, as Dunedin Symphony Orchestra presented its "Song of the Earth" concert.

Thank you for your support

The DSO is very grateful for the assistance from all our family of supporters, donors, sponsors, grant giving organisations and core funders.

Introducing the conductor and soloists for Song of the Earth : Simon O'Neill

I have had the joy of performing Mahler's 'Das Lied von der Erde' at Carnegie Hall with the Met Orchestra and Levine, the Barbican with Rattle and LSO, Paris with Gergiev, Berlin, San Francisco, Rome and Prague.

Introducing the conductor and soloists for Song of the Earth : James Judd

Mahler famously said, ‘A Symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything’. Surely we can say the same about Mozart, whose 'Piano Concerto No. 21' opens this evening’s concert.

From Philippa Harris, General Manager

The wait is finally over – our 2023 concert series is about to begin – and what a spectacular start is in store for us.

Introducing the conductor and soloists for Song of the Earth : Wendy Dawn Thompson

Performances of 'Das Lied von der Erde' don’t come around very often – likely owing to both the large forces and the virtuosity required of vocal soloists and the orchestra.

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.

Top-notch team celebrated Beatles with passion, flair

The musical genius of the Fab Four was celebrated and enhanced in a fabulous performance by Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and a topnotch team of musicians and singers in Saturday’s ‘‘All You Need is Love’’ show.

Beatles symphony has heart

Dunedin Town Hall was packed on Saturday evening when the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, guest artists and conductor/arranger Tom Rainey, of Christchurch, poured heart and soul into interpreting the Beatles repertoire.

DSO 2023 Concerts

Season's Greetings

Meri Kirihimete! Our best wishes for Christmas and the Festive season!

Hooked on the classics

The six-person DSO band was travelling around schools in Dunedin and Queenstown to share their love of music with the pupils, she said.

Review: 'Amalia Plays Mendelssohn'

A well-balanced programme, superbly performed, kept a large town hall audience spellbound during Saturday’s Dunedin Symphony Orchestra concert, featuring fabulous New Zealand violinist Amalia Hall.

Hall brings the romance of Mendelssohn alive

Auckland-based violinist Amalia Hall arrives in Dunedin today for final rehearsals with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra ahead of its "Amalia Plays Mendelssohn" concert on Saturday night.

Returning ‘home’

Conductor James Judd will perform with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra for the first time next month after Covid-19 scuttled his last attempt to come to the southern city, he tells Rebecca Fox.

Newsletter October/November: James Judd - Conductor

Think back to what you were doing on 28 August, and then scroll forward in your mind to your plans for 8 November, a few days after our concert.

Newsletter October/November: Amalia Hall - Violin Soloist

I’m so thrilled to be performing Mendelssohn’s beautiful violin concerto with Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and maestro James Judd.

Newsletter October/November - From Philippa Harris, General Manager

Early summer greetings! As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to say ‘thank you’ to all our audiences, our sponsors and our donors for their very generous support, and also our funders who have demonstrated that they too are in for the long haul with us.

DSO Otago Schools Tour 2022

DSO’s schools tour is a highlight of every year, as six of our players visit primary and intermediate schools to introduce kids to classical music and the instruments of the orchestra. This year, we will visit not only schools based in Dunedin, but also schools in Oamaru, Queenstown, Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexandra, over a two week period in mid-November.

Strangest of Angels: Bold and successful production

A near-capacity house gave full-hearted applause for a truly memorable performance of Ken Young’s opera The Strangest of Angels at the Mayfair last night, with the composer also conducting the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra Players.

Insightful opera and classical music

Excitement is building for Dunedin-based soprano Anna Leese, who is at the centre of two major projects during the Dunedin Arts Festival — an opera and the St Paul’s at One series.

Review : 'Rhapsody', The Star

Spectacular piano fireworks combined with lyricism and nostalgia in Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s spellbinding 'Rhapsody' concert on Saturday night.

Virtuoso piano performance admired by all

A near-capacity audience was dazzled by a stellar performance of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini Op 4 at the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday.

Following her dreams

Pianist Sara Lee is looking forward to competing overseas again after Covid-19 drove competitions online. She talks to Rebecca Fox about her favourite composers.

A ‘Rhapsody’ of drama, nostalgia and magic

Dunedin-based conductor Kenneth Young is looking forward to a "rewarding musical time" when he takes the podium for Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s "Rhapsody" concert on Saturday.

DSO and conductor deliver a triumph

A stunning programme of adventurous music, from the Baroque era to the modern day, enthralled a large audience at Saturday’s Dunedin Symphony Orchestra matinee series concert Crouching Tiger.

Spellbinding orchestral show

The packed house was spellbound from the opening chord. They were exultant in their prolonged cheering and stamping at the close of the technically challenging and aesthetically electrifying performance of Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger by cellist Ashley Brown and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Umberto Clerici.

Bow to baton a ‘good show of how life can change’

They say every cloud has a silver lining and for Australian-based Umberto Clerici, Covid’s silver lining has been a change in career direction. He tells Rebecca Fox about taking up the baton. Seven years ago Umberto Clerici took to the Dunedin Town Hall stage to perform a cello concerto.

A golden opportunity

Working alongside conductor Umberto Clerici this week, as the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra prepares for this weekend’s Crouching Tiger matinee concerts, is a thrill for assistant conductor Leonard Weiss.

Monster Mash’ a grand success!

The stage at Dunedin Town Hall was bursting at the seams on Saturday night, as experienced and emerging performers from across the region came together for joyous community concert Mozart’s Monster Mash. Photo credit : DSO/Pieter du Plessis

August 2022 message from Philippa Harris, General Manager

After many months of inactivity it’s been a real joy to be back in the concert hall with ‘Bach and Beyond’, ‘Celebrating Matariki – Whakanuia Matariki’ (part of the Puaka Matariki Festival), the Ukraine Benefit Concert and ‘Mozart’s Monster Mash’.

Kenneth Young, conductor for 'Rhapsody'

The DSO and I are going to have the most rewarding musical time bringing you this programme. The nostalgia of Douglas Lilburn’s 'Drysdale Overture', combined with the evocative nature of Vaughan Williams London Symphony is a magical combination.

Sara Lee, piano soloist for 'Rhapsody'

Rachmaninoff is a special composer for me. Not only is he one of my favourite composers, but he was born in Moscow, Russia, a city where I studied for a long time.

Introducing 'Crouching Tiger' soloist, Ashley Brown

The first movie I ever bought and first DVD I ever owned was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Ang Lee. It’s a truly beautiful and movingly-told story. If you haven’t seen it recently, I recommend experiencing it in the original Mandarin (with subtitles) rather than overdubbed, as there’s a musicality to the language, with rhythm and pitch.

Introducing 'Crouching Tiger' conductor, Umberto Clerici

I’m very excited I’m coming back to the DSO, this time in the role of conductor (in 2015 I was the soloist for Elgar’s Cello Concerto). Covid changed a lot in everyone’s lives, and for me it was a time of deep reflection and development.

Youth performers entertain crowd

The Dunedin Town Hall was filled to almost capacity with family and friends of the over one hundred youthful performers assembled under the most generous conductor Peter Adams for an evening of Mozart’s most popular works on Saturday evening.

Monster moment for three soloists

Three of Dunedin’s upcoming musical stars will have the rare opportunity to perform solos with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra at the Dunedin Town Hall in Mozart’s Monster Mash. Rebecca Fox discovers the nerves are tingling.

Young musicians join Mozart concert

A remarkable 26 pupils of Dunedin music teacher Ella George will perform on stage with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra this Saturday night in its giant community concert Mozart’s Monster Mash.

Talented performers support Ukraine

A capacity audience gave generously to the Benefit Concert for Ukraine staged in the Dunedin Town Hall yesterday afternoon - to the tune of more than $15,000

DSO on top form with sparkling accompaniments

From the first spine-tingling notes sung by soprano Rebecca Ryan, it was clear that the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s Celebrating Matariki concert was going to be something special.

A return to the takiwa

The world’s first taonga pūoro concerto will be performed in Dunedin on Saturday as part of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s celebration of Matariki. Rebecca Fox talks to conductor Marc Taddei and vocalist and taonga pūoro player Ariana Tikao about the importance of the occasion.

Collaborative DSO Matariki concert breaks new ground

The world’s first taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments) concerto and a world premiere by a Dunedin composer will make the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s contribution to the city’s Puaka Matariki festival a very special celebration.

Concert joyful, energetic

The joy of coming together was palpable among the large audience at Sunday's Bach & Beyond matinee concert.

Percussionist takes baton

The last time Brent Stewart performed with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra he was the fill-in percussionist. This time he will step on to the stage as the orchestra’s conductor. He tells Rebecca Fox about his many passions.

Thrill of live music returns for DSO

DSO principal flute Luca Manghi will feature in the "Bach and Beyond" concerts on Saturday and Sunday, performing as soloist in the centrepiece work, Bach’s Flute Concerto.

Notes June/July 2022 - Philippa Harris General Manager

Exciting times – concerts are back! Subscription bookings are rolling in, tickets are on sale, musicians are practising, and the conductor and soloist will be flying in soon to start rehearsals. And there are plenty of musical treats lined up for us.

'Celebrating Matariki - Whakanuia Matariki' soloists Ariana Tikao and Alistair Fraser

Ariana Tikao describes the background to the two items she and Alistair Fraser will perform in the 'Celebrating Matariki - Whakanuia Matariki' concert with the DSO on Saturday 2 July, 7.30 pm in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Introducing 'Bach and Beyond' flute soloist, Luca Manghi

I have very fond memories of the Bach Concerto for flute. It was on one of the first flute cassette tapes I ever bought when I was 10 years old.

Introducing 'Bach and Beyond' conductor, Brent Stewart

I am thrilled to conduct and celebrate Dunedin Symphony Orchestra's return to the shared joy of live music-making with a programme of uplifting and unmissable works.

'Celebrating Matariki - Whakanuia Matariki' conductor Marc Taddei

Working with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra is always a joy for me.

DSO welcoming new conductors for the season

The power of live orchestral music to entertain and bring people together in uncertain times is at the heart of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s 2022 season, announced recently.

Symphony orchestra’s return a triumph!

The complete and utter joy of making and experiencing music was palpable at Dunedin Town Hall on Friday night as a Covidlimited audience were treated to a superb performance by Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.

Music finds a way in a pandemic

Covid-19 has come with a silver lining for pianist Diedre Irons — she is in demand and has had her work heard internationally online. She tells Rebecca Fox about windfalls and keeping work fresh.

Appeal aims to help DSO deal with challenges

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra will launch its inaugural Keep Making Music Appeal on Monday.

DSO Schools Tour: sharing classical music with kids

Q: What do the theme from James Bond, Fauré’s Pavane and Paul Desmond’s Take Five have in common? A: They’re all being performed by a small ensemble from the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra who are touring primary and intermediate schools in the Otago Region at the moment. Upbeat caught up with one of the musicians, flutist Feby Idrus, to find out how things were going so far.

Orchestra given years of backing

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra has been granted $270,000 in the first multi-year grant issued by the Otago Community Trust to an organisation in the arts and culture sector

DSO November 2021 Newsletter

Read all about our upcoming concerts and activities in our Newsletter for November 2021.

Sunshine on a damp Dunedin day

A programme of sunny, pastoral music was the perfect antidote to Sunday’s damp, chilly weather, as the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra concluded its matinee series concerts.

Interview with Conductor Marc Taddei

Conductor Marc Taddei has been waiting for a chance to perform Knecht’s Grand Symphonie — Pastorale. He tells Rebecca Fox of the ODT about the unusual pairing with Beethoven’s Symphony No 6.

Orchestra brings beautiful melodies to the fore

Strings, woodwind and voice all had their time to shine in the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s Songs and Serenades matinee series concerts at the weekend

Performance truly momentous occasion!

A large audience was treated to a wonderful evening of opera excerpts in the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday when New Zealand international singers Anna Leese and Simon O’Neill delivered thrilling performances from operas they have sung in prestigious venues such as Covent Garden and New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

Rach 2 - Russian Romantics Concert Review

A near-capacity house was thunderous in its applause for an evening with pianist Jian Liu and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Over.

Russian Romantics soloist Jian Liu share his thoughts.

A near-capacity house was thunderous in its applause for an evening with pianist Jian Liu and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Over.

Guest Pianist shines as conductor lifts DSO.

A near-capacity house was thunderous in its applause for an evening with pianist Jian Liu and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Over.

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s 50 years a joy!

For a city of this size, Dunedin's symphony orchestra is a real triumph. Since its formation 50 years ago, the orchestra has gone from strength to strength, and on Saturday evening a packed town hall (including the "Gods'') was treated to a momentous Gala 50th Anniversary Concert.

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