Exciting season of music from Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Photo: Adrian Malloch)

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
2013 season

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra programme for next year featrues some of the most-loved orchestral pieces, plus some more challenging and innovative works.

Along with major works by Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, there are contemporary pieces from British composers Mark-Anthony Turnage and Thomas Ades

During the Auckland Arts Festival the orchestra will present the world premiere of Songs and Dances of Desire, a major new work by the current composer-in-residence Jack Body.

It examines issues of identity by celebrating the life and personality of one of our great cultural icons, Trevor Rupe – known to all as Carmen. Described by Body as “a total entertainment” featuring a guitarist, three singers (including countertenor) and dancer, it promises to be as flamboyant and captivating as its subject.

Also being performed at the festival will be a closing night performance of Benjamin Britten’s immense War Requiem in the centenary year of the composer’s birth.

Monumental in scope, the bold and inspired work is composed for two orchestras, a massed choir, a children’s choir, three soloists (soprano Orla Boylan, tenor Timothy Robinson and baritone Ivan Ludlow) and organ.

It is interwoven with powerful recitations from Missa pro defunctis (Mass for the Dead) and nine magnificent poems by the Great War poet Wilfred Owen.

The requiem was originally commissioned to mark the re-consecration of Coventry Cathedral rebuilt after being destroyed by German bombers in World War II. It responds sensitively yet determinedly to the horrors and devastation of war and to the futility of man’s inhumanity to man – a message which still resonates now as strongly as it did when Britten wrote it.

“The Auckland Arts Festival is central to the city’s cultural life,” APO chief executive Barbara Glaser says.

“It’s both a responsibility and a pleasure for the APO to play a key role in the festival, and by presenting one of the great 20th century choral works and a major new piece by our own composer-in-residence we hope to honour that responsibility – and bring pleasure to audiences, too.”

Fans will also experience a host of internationally renowned names throughout the APO’s 2013 season.

Major stars returning to Auckland next year include violinist James Ehnes, performing the Elgar Violin Concerto, and Nikolai Demidenko, who follows his sellout 2011 concert of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the same composer’s second piano concerto.

“The fact that musicians of this calibre return time and time again underlines the reputation the APO has worked hard to develop,” Ms Glaser says.

“James Ehnes and Nikolai Demidenko play all over the world with the finest orchestras, and their eagerness to come back to Auckland affirms the direction the APO has taken in recent years under APO music director Eckehard Stier.”

Both concerts fall within the APO’s flagship New Zealand Herald Premier Series (formerly the APN News & Media Premier Series). Other works in the series include Schubert’s Symphony No 9, Mahler’s Symphony No 4 and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

The 2013 Great Classic Series has a new sponsor, Bayleys Real Estate. Included in this series are Beethoven Symphony No 3, Dvorak’s Symphony No 8 and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 2 with soloist Ingrid Fliter.

The Trusts Community Foundation is sponsoring the Opera in Concert with Igor Stravinsky’s neo-classical masterpiece The Rake’s Progress, with New Zealander Paul Whelan taking the role of Nick Shadow. It is the first time the opera has been performed in this country since its 1969 Australasian premiere.

The Rake’s Progress is just one of several rarely performed masterworks presented by the orchestra, with New Zealand premieres of works by Martinu, Dukas and Korngold, among others, as well as Hindemith’s Cello Concerto, with star cellist Johannes Moser.

Playing its customary role in discovering the new musicians of the future, the APO is the orchestra for the final round of the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in June.

The APO continues its tradition of supporting New Zealand composers. As well as debuting the new Jack Body work, it will hold the world premiere of a new symphony by former APO composer-in-residence Ross Harris. His Symphony No 5 features a mezzo-soprano role taken by Sally-Anne Russell.

Other major works in the orchestra's programme are Kurt Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny Suite, Mozart’s Requiem and Strauss’s Four Last Songs

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