The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have announced their 2021 Season with a wide range of exciting performances throughout Aotearoa with an innovative Festival series and star performers.
Festival conductors include Holly Mathieson, making her NZSO debut with Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique in Association with Ryman Healthcare, Takemitsu’s Dreamtime, and New Zealand composer Dorothy Ker’s The Third Dream in Hamilton and Christchurch in May. (Image above clockwise from top left: Hamish McKeich, Vasily Petrenko, Marin Alsop, Asher Fisch, Holly Mathieson, James Judd, Gemma New.)
Acclaimed New Zealand pianists Stephen De Pledge and Diedre Irons, soprano Madeleine Pierard, mezzo-soprano Kristin Darragh, tenor Simon O’Neill and bass Paul Whelan are among the soloists confirmed. NZSO Concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen directs a programme which includes Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
Hamish McKeich will conduct Festival performances in Tauranga and Napier, featuring Stravinsky’s The Firebird, along with New Zealand composer Juliet Palmer’s Buzzard and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 with pianist Irons.
A Winter Festival in Auckland and Wellington will comprise the world premiere of New Zealand composer Gareth Farr’s Ngā Hihi O Matariki conducted by New, Stravinsky’s legendary Rite of Spring and, with the NZSO and National Youth Orchestra performing together, Shostakovich’s colossal Symphony No. 7.
In March revered Israeli conductor Asher Fisch will lead the Orchestra for Ravel’s La Valse, Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1947) and London-born composer Anna Clyne’s Masquerade. De Pledge will perform Ravel’s Piano Concerto. In November superstar Russian conductor Vasily Petroneko joins the Orchestra for Beethoven’s magnificent Missa Solemnis with Pierard, Darragh, O’Neill, Whelan, and the Voices New Zealand Choir.
The NZSO will also expand its popular and accessible Setting Up Camp tour to more communities in 2021. One of the highlights of the tour will be Kia Kotahi, a unique participatory performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with a new text of the famous ‘Ode to Joy’ sung in te reo Māori by a chorus of high school students. The concert will also include new works by New Zealand artists to complement the symphony. American Marin Alsop, one of the world’s top conductors, will make her New Zealand debut with Kia Kotahi.
The NZSO will also join forces with the Royal New Zealand Ballet for two productions. With 2021 the 50th anniversary of the death of the great composer Igor Stravinsky, the NZSO, in association with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, will tour The Soldier’s Tale. They will also join forces and tour with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.