Ministry for Culture & Heritage of New Zealand

11/16/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/15/2020 17:14

NZSO opens its doors with a day of free events in Wellington

News: 16 November 2020

If you've ever wondered what it's like to conduct musicians, you'll have the opportunity to pick up a baton and have a go in a day of free events by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington on Friday.

A new NZSO initiative Open Doors will be held at the Renouf Foyer in the Michael Fowler Centre on 2O November from 10.30am. The series of family-friendly free events will be held throughout the day, ahead of the NZSO concert Spectacularat 6.30pm.

The concert's internationally renowned New Zealand conductor Gemma New will be part of Open Doors. She will talk about conducting and give the audience the opportunity to conduct a string ensemble from 5pm.

Open Doors kicks off with an interactive version of the NZSO's online Storytimeseries, where families can enjoy reading along to charming New Zealand children's stories featured in the series. A special display will celebrate the NZSO's hit 2020 Setting Up Camp tour, which included community concerts, and what Setting Up Camp will present next year.

NZSO Section Principal Harp Carolyn Mills will perform a live version of her popular online video, which is part of the Orchestra's Music Room series for children about music, at 10.45am, 11.15am and 11.45am.

Throughout the afternoon the public can also watch two masterclasses for young musicians hosted by acclaimed pianist Stephen De Pledge, who performs in Spectacular, and NZSO Section Principal Cello Andrew Joyce.

During the interval for Spectacular, young musicians Ravelation, who recently won the 2020 winners of the Wallace Foundation Platinum Award, will delight audiences with a short performance.

More details on each Open Doors event can be viewed at

Gemma New made her online NZSO debut in August, conducting the Orchestra in Wellington under Covid-19 restrictions. The concert Passion was live-streamed to the nation. New also conducted the NZSO Shed Series concert Cadence, which was streamed in three parts.

Spectacular features English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, Finnish giant Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 5 and New Zealand composer Anthony Ritchie's Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring De Pledge.

'I'm so pleased to be able to return to the NZSO and look forward to sharing our music-making with live audiences,' says New.

'Our performance of Anthony Ritchie's Piano Concerto with pianist Stephen de Pledge comes at a special time in Anthony's life, and gives us an opportunity to celebrate the significant contributions Anthony has made to New Zealand music.

'Vaughan Williams and Sibelius also showed a love for their homelands in their music, by bringing to life the character, environment and culture of the people. Yet while the Fantasia evokes a misty memory, Symphony No. 5 is determined to realise a bright future.'

Tickets for Spectacular are available from The Wellington Spectacular concert will also be live-streamed at

Open Doors

WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre Renouf Foyer|Friday 20 November| 10.30am-5.45pm


GEMMA NEW Conductor


VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
ANTHONY RITCHIE Piano Concerto No. 3
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 82

WELLINGTON | Michael Fowler Centre|Friday 20 November| 6.30pm and online at

AUCKLAND | Town Hall|Saturday 21 November| 7.30pm