NZSO Takes Audiences on an Adventure in Star-Studded 2024 Season

NZSO Takes Audiences on an Adventure in Star-Studded 2024 Season

Published: Friday 3 November, 2023


The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s 2024 season will excite and delight all New Zealanders with its variety of performances and a star-studded line-up of international artists.

“We’ve called our 2024 season Mātātoa Intrepid Adventures because it celebrates the intrinsically adventurous, open-hearted and all-embracing Kiwi spirit,” says NZSO Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor Gemma New, who leads the Orchestra in a thrilling selection of concerts in 2024.

“Each evening brings a deep dive journey into epic powerhouses, complimented by fascinating newer delights, complete with star soloists and conductors, to create the ultimate enthralling experience for our Aotearoa New Zealand audiences.”

In 2024 the NZSO will perform one of its largest number of works by New Zealanders and contemporary composers.

Global music stars to perform with the NZSO in 2024 include violinists Maxim Vengerov, Augustin Hadelich and Christian Tetzlaff, percussionist Jacob Nissly, and pianists Andrea Lam and Alexander Gavrylyuk.

Several of the world’s best conductors also join New, NZSO Music Director Emeritus James Judd and NZSO Principal Conductor-in-Residence Hamish McKeich in leading the Orchestra next year.

The stars include Dima Slobodeniouk, Stéphane Denève, Vasily Petrenko, Han-Na Chang, André de Ridder, Tianyi Lu and Thomas Blunt.

The 2024 Season also features a unique collaboration between the NZSO and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Muslim Community to mark the fifth anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks. Beyond Words, to be performed in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland in March, will premiere a new work Ahlan wa Sahlan by acclaimed New Zealand composer John Psathas.

New and the NZSO continue their relationship with Mahler by opening the 2024 season with Mahler's epic Fifth Symphony in a concert opening with New Zealand composer Salina Fisher's recent work Kintsugi and Emmy Award-winning American composer Adam Schoenberg’s Losing Earth with the percussionist for whom it was written, acclaimed San Francisco Symphony Principal Percussionist Jacob Nissly.

Schoenberg, twice named among the top 10 most-performed living composers by American orchestras, will be in New Zealand for the performances, and Nissly will collaborate with the New Zealand percussion community during his visit.

New returns for main stage concerts in September, performing revered New Zealand composer Lyell Cresswell's final major work Piano Concerto No. 3, alongside Copland's Appalachian Spring and Mozart's Jupiter Symphony. New’s 2024 season finale with Christian Tetzlaff and Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir in a programme of Kaija Saariaho, Elgar and Holst's Planets.

André de Ridder, who captivated NZSO audiences this year, returns to conduct three distinct concerts with Maxim Vengerov, Andrea Lam and a whānau-friendly concert featuring John Williams’ music from the Harry Potter films.

Dima Slobodeniouk leads the Orchestra for Beethoven’s glorious Sixth Symphony and Debussy’s magnificent La mer.

Virtuoso Maxim Vengerov makes his New Zealand debut with the NZSO in August. The 49-year-old Grammy Award winner has been hailed as “one of the greatest violinists in the world” by Classic FM.

Also in August, Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

Thomas Blunt leads the NZSO for Handel’s Messiah, featuring soprano Madison Nonoa, mezzo-soprano Bianca Andrew, tenor Filipe Manu and baritone Benson Wilson, along with renowned choir The Tudor Consort.

Celebrated pianist Stephen De Pledge, NZSO Section Principal Cello Andrew Joyce and NZSO Section Principal Cello Julia Joyce and NZSO Associate Principal Cello Ken Ichinose, are among the New Zealand artists to perform in 2024. Thirteen-year-old pianist Shan Liu will play with the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, conducted by Tianyi Lu.

NZSO Concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppänen directs an ensemble of NZSO string players for a programme of spiritual intensity, featuring works by Lilburn, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner and more. 

James Judd conducts Shostakovich's witty Ninth Symphony, and an equally humorous work Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, alongside two works by young Kiwi composers Henry Meng and Sai Natarajan, both 2022/2023 NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards finalists.

Hamish McKeich leads the Orchestra in 2024 for performances with the Royal New Zealand Ballet of Swan Lake in Wellington, and with renowned singer and comedienne Meow Meow in February as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

Beyond Words in March bridges Eastern and Western music traditions and features Kyriakos Tapakis, a master of the Middle Eastern stringed instrument the oud, and Moroccan vocalist and poet OUM. The NZSO will be led by Muslim conductor Fawzi Haimor.

“It is not often one has the opportunity to offer a message of solidarity, love, and compassion through one’s artistic work,” says composer John Psathas.

“This is a rare gift from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and I am even more fortunate to be able to share this creative journey with two fellow artists: OUM and one of Greece’s most celebrated oud performers, Kyriakos Tapakis. Together we are creating a musical message of welcoming – Ahlan wa Sahlan – a greeting used to tell someone that they’re where they belong, that they’re a part of this place and they are welcome here. It’s a way of saying ‘You’re with your people’.”

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