Guitarist performs one of the great Spanish guitar compositions

Alexander Shelley Returns
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Shelley, conductor; Pablo Sainz Villegas, guitarist
Leonie Holmes' Frond, from Three Landscapes for Orchestra; Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez; Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra 
Auckland, Town Hall, July 22; Kerikeri, The Turner Centre, July 23; Tauranga, Baycourt Theatre, July 26; Napier, Municipal Theatre, July 27; Wellington, Michael Fowler Centre, July 29

One of the most talented conductors of his generation will be joined by an impressive Spanish guitarist for concerts with the NZ Symphony Orchestra next month.

Britain’s Alexander Shelley, praised by the Daily Telegraph as “a natural communicator both on and off the podium,” returns to conduct the NZSO after mesmerising New Zealand audiences three years ago.

The touring programme, Alexander Shelley Returns, which is supported by Craggy Range, begins in Auckland on July 22, and includes concerts in Kerikeri, Tauranga, Napier and Wellington.

“I am so excited to be returning to the NZSO and to New Zealand. I have many fond and rich memories of performing with this exceptional orchestra in many warm, welcoming and fascinating communities,” Mr Shelley says.

Lauded for his achievements as music director of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and principal associate conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the 37-year-old’s conducting prowess sees him in demand by many of the world’s best orchestras.

Shelley will be joined by renowned Spanish guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas, whose many achievements include the world premiere of the first guitar piece written by John Williams, the Oscar-winning Star Wars composer.

With the NZSO Sáinz Villegas will perform Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez, which has become synonymous with Spanish music.

The concerts will open with New Zealand composer Leonie Holmes’ delicate and melodic Frond from Three Landscapes for Orchestra and concludes with one of Béla Bartok’s most popular works, Concerto for Orchestra, which was written as a work of gratitude on recovering from serious illness. It combines elements of lightness and humour as well as a reflection on mortality.