APO Raises the Baton again on 2020 Season

After nearly three months, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) will return to the concert hall in July as it resumes its 2020 season. As to be expected, some concerts have changed slightly, some have been rescheduled, and some postponed until further notice, but as early as 9 July, audiences will be welcomed back by the orchestra with much celebration and an actual fanfare.

During the lockdown and through Level 2, the orchestra shared a wide variety of online performances and activities to help people stay connected to the orchestra and each other. Over 2.8 million people across the globe viewed the Thursday night Encore Livestreams, at-home performances and special video content made for kids and families.

The APO’s new Director of Artistic Planning Gale Mahood, who coincidentally moved to New Zealand for the role in March, just as the country was going into lockdown, says, “We believe we may be the first orchestra in the world to re-launch its planned subscription season with an ‘undistanced’ orchestra on stage and a full audience in the Hall. Our first concert was almost sold out pre-COVID, so we’re very excited to welcome back our beloved audience.

“I have been very fortunate to have a team of creative and spontaneous colleagues who have contributed some fantastic ideas to our revamped 2020 programme. Redialling our season due to Covid-19 has also given me an opportunity to include a few personal favourites within the first few live concerts. I know audiences will love these selections as much as we do,” Mahood says.

The first concert with an audience – a Welcome Back event with celebrated New Zealand pianist Michael Houston – takes place at Auckland Town Hall on Thursday 9 July. The orchestra will also perform the world premiere of a new fanfare by New Zealand composer John Psathas, in celebration of the immense collective effort of our ‘Team of Five Million’.

The subsequent concerts take place on 16 and 30 July respectively and more information is below.

As long as the border restrictions remain in place, the APO will use the opportunity to collaborate with local musicians and artists on particular concerts.

“The APO has a strong pool of New Zealand-based talent who are eager to resume performing to live audiences,” Mahood says. “We are thrilled that we are able to feature audience favourite Michael Houstoun, soloists from within the orchestra and a short musical ‘welcome back’ from New Zealand composer John Psathas to celebrate our nation’s achievement, all within the first weeks. The possibility of a trans-Tasman bubble will bring further opportunities and scope for talent sharing.”

The artistic team also hope to be able to welcome Music Director Giordano Bellincampi back to New Zealand from Denmark as soon as restrictions allow.

In the immediate future – to tide audiences over until 9 July – the APO has recorded some brand-new performances that will be streamed on the upcoming two Thursdays (11 and 18 June).

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