Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra 2023 season on sale now

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra has officially launched its 2023 season showcasing an array of international and local musical excellence.

With more than 50 performances on the cards and over 70 different works spanning several centuries, repertoire highlights will be many and varied – there is definitely something to suit every taste.


Performances worthy of special note include the long-awaited conclusion to the APO’s 2020 Beethoven symphonic cycle. Disrupted, postponed but not cancelled – In March, Music Director Giordano Bellincampi will conduct the APO in a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.8 and Symphony No.9 featuring the triumphant choral setting of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy in its final movement

Earmarked already as his favourite work of the season, Maestro Bellincampi and an internationally celebrated cast of opera stars will treat audiences to Korngold’s operatic masterpiece Die tote Stadt in July. A remarkable prodigy with a gift for melody, Korngold was fondly known as the “Mozart of Hollywood” during his heyday in the early decades of the 20th century. Giordano is convinced that this opera, while possibly new to many, will be a revelation for opera and music lovers alike.

150 years since Rachmaninov’s birth will be marked by the APO in 2023, with key works by the composer scheduled throughout the season.

November’s epic presentation of Wagner’s Rienzi: Overture and Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod, followed by Mahler’s Symphony No.5 will be a visual and musical spectacle not to be missed.

Mahler’s score requires an orchestra of around 100 players and to achieve this number the APO looks forward to welcoming musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) to its ranks.


The APO’S 2023 season is significant for the number of Australasian and New Zealand debuts amongst its guest artists. Auckland audiences will enjoy acclaimed soloists from Europe, Asia, North America and Australia as well as from New Zealand. Particular highlights will include Geneva Lewis (violin – also daughter of NZ tennis champion Chris Lewis), Lise de la Salle (piano), Jaemin Han (cello), Sergey Khachatryan (violin), Annelien Van Wauwe (basset clarinet) and French-Georgian superstar Khatia Buniatishvili (piano).

Sir Andrew Davis 2000x1300


2023 will be a significant year for the APO with the appointment of South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung to the role of Principal Guest Conductor. Sung will be familiar to audiences following her debut and subsequent appearances with the APO in 2022.

Shiyeon brings a formidable reputation to the Town Hall stage, having won both the Solti and Mahler Competitions and she assumes this role with the APO following titled positions with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

According to APO Chief Executive Barbara Glaser “…with Giordano Bellincampi, our Music Director, firmly at the helm and now Shiyeon Sung on board, working in complement, our orchestra will be well supported to develop even further over the next three seasons.

“Shiyeon’s three-year appointment will provide our musicians with extended periods of rehearsal and performance time together, allowing them space to dive deeper into the repertoire and build an even greater rapport as an ensemble.”

Sir Andrew Davis 2000x1300


The APO has always led the way in championing New Zealand musicians, composers and performers across its full programme of activities. 2023 delivers more rich offerings on this front.

Works by Lyell Cresswell, Ruby Solly, Ross Harris, Salina Fisher, Victoria Kelly and Leonie Holmes all feature prominently on the APO’s mainstage and Festival appearances.

New Zealand-born soloists of international acclaim will also appear. Simon O’Neill, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Kirstin Sharpin, Manase Latu, Benson Wilson, Frederick Jones and others, represent the prowess of opera in Aotearoa.

The return of Christchurch-born violinist Benjamin Morrison in April, taking a break from his work with the Vienna Philharmonic, will be a special treat for audiences. Benjamin will be working closely with the APO’s own Liu-Yi Retallick and Bede Hanley in a programme of chamber orchestra repertoire by Bach and Stravinsky.

A particular highlight for the year will be the appearance of Grammy award-winning Māori musician and taonga puoro exponent Jerome Kavanagh in August. Jerome will premiere a new APO commission, Concerto for Taonga Puoro and Orchestra by Salina Fisher.


In addition to its traditional mainstage repertoire, the APO continues to demonstrate the universal appeal of live symphonic music with stand-alone concert events.

In 2023 these initiatives include a tribute concert to late, great Broadway icon Stephen Sondheim and a family-friendly romp through Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, featuring the comedic talents of Dynamotion which includes dactors (dancing actors) Chris Parker, Alice Canton, Lara Fischel-Chisholm and Tom Sainsbury.

Matariki celebrations, launched in 2022 working with Rob Ruha, will return again in 2023 and will see the APO joined by the multi-award-winning artist Troy Kingi.

The hugely popular big-screen film in concert adventures return, with two of Disney’s modern classics scheduled, a Halloween film-in-concert performance of the 1993 film Hocus Pocus and in September, the APO heads to ‘infinity and beyond’ with the Pixar classic Toy Story.

More than just performances

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2023 Season speaks to a full and vibrant year ahead. The orchestra’s weekly presence draws thousands to Auckland’s CBD and to venues across the wider city. National broadcasts of APO performances by RNZ Concert are treasured by music lovers throughout the country and an active schedule of live-streamed performances has grown the APO’s global fan base into the millions.

Live music, particularly by organisations of the APO’s standing and scale, plays a critical role in shaping Tāmaki Makarau, New Zealand’s largest city.

CEO Barbara Glaser says it best. “The APO is so much more than performances on the stage at the Auckland Town Hall. With the support of our audiences and our city, we bring the joy of music to the entire Auckland region and beyond.”

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