Exciting firsts, fresh perspectives and top talent in APO 2019 season

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra enters its 39th year celebrating the people and the rich tradition of orchestral music as well as exciting new artistic collaborations, with details of its 2019 season announced at a launch event at Auckland’s Town Hall this evening.

APO Chief Executive Barbara Glaser says the 2019 season spans everything from carefully curated classical programmes to music inspired by nature, storytelling, and even New Zealand’s own songbook. “The APO has a rich history of innovative and diverse programming, and 2019 is no exception,” Glaser says.

Importantly, Glaser says the upcoming season also reflects the high quality of the arts in Auckland and the diversity of the city. “We really are fortunate to be the resident orchestra in a city that has such a vibrant and thriving arts and culture scene. Our 2019 season embraces collaboration with other artforms and organisations, ensuring we stretch ourselves beyond what we could achieve on our own. And for Aucklanders that means some really exciting events,” Glaser adds.

One such collaborative event will be the APO premiere of Messiaen’s extraordinary Turangalîla Symphony at the Auckland Arts Festival in March. More than 100 musicians and two soloists (pianist Joanna MacGregor, and Cynthia Millar playing the rarely-heard instrument, ondes martenot) will perform this astonishing 20th-century masterpiece, also presented in collaboration with the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).

Man, Sitting in a Garden features as part of the 2019 Auckland Writers Festival, and is a new work by award-winning writer Witi Ihimaera and composer Kenneth Young. The world premiere of this poignant and impressionistic work stars acclaimed New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill.

Beyond this commitment to collaborative and innovative new events, APO remains dedicated to the orchestral tradition of mainstage concerts throughout the year, led by APO Music Director Giordano Bellincampi. “Our 2019 season takes audiences on an unforgettable musical journey, from the uplifting and inspiring symphonic masterworks to thought-provoking new music. It is music to connect with every soul,” Maestro Bellincampi says.

Highlights of APO’s flagship The New Zealand Herald Premier Series include: a rare performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto performed by Tianwa Yang (China) Gabriel Schwabe (Germany) and Nicholas Rimmer (UK); a concerto for the Chinese pipa instrument performed by one of its preeminent players, Wu Man; and the highly-anticipated return of one of the biggest names in classical music, Vladimir Ashkenazy, performing alongside violin superstar Viktoria Mullova (Russia) This star-studded concert also features stars of the orchestral repertoire, including Sibelius’s violin concerto and Dvorak’s seventh symphony.

APO strives to bring the world’s top artists to Auckland audiences, and other highly-acclaimed and accomplished guest artists performing with the APO in this series include: violinist James Ehnes (Canada) performing the Bruch Violin Concerto; Anthony Marwood (UK) performing the New Zealand premiere of Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto ‘Concentric Paths’; Ning Feng (China) performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto; and cellist Harriet Krijgh (Netherlands) performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto No.1. Internationally-renowned conductors appearing in The New Zealand Herald Premier Series include: Ludovic Morlot conducting a programme including Stravinsky’s Petrushka; French conductor Bertrand de Billy conducting a French-inspired programme including Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Franck’s Symphony in D minor; and Mikhail Tatarnikov conducting Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony, ‘Pathétique’, among other high-profile names.

Once again the APO celebrates its own exceptionally talented musicians; in June APO concertmaster Andrew Beer will take on one of the most dazzling and virtuosic pieces of repertoire for violin, Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, which will also be the New Zealand premiere of this piece.

The Templar Great Classics series is proudly supported by new series partner Templar Family Office. The series celebrates some of the most beloved works in orchestral repertoire. At Easter, Swedish choral conductor Sofi Jeannin leads a programme of arias and choruses from J.S. Bach and Handel’s liturgical works, telling the Easter story in a unique way. The APO will be joined by an international roster of singers and Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir.

Another highlight in this series is a concert of musical postcards from Gershwin and Falla, featuring returning pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska. Other artists joining the APO in the Templar Great Classics series include pianists Alexander Gavrylyuk performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21, and Javier Perianes performing Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto, and New Zealand violinist Amalia Hall performing Saint-Säens’ Violin Concerto No.3 in a concert conducted by Douglas Boyd.

The ever-popular Trusts Community Foundation Opera in Concert for 2019 is Mozart’s Don Giovanni, presented in association with New Zealand Opera. Maestro Bellincampi will lead the orchestra in one of opera’s most beloved scores, alongside singers including Audun Iversen (Norway) as Don Giovanni, sopranos Ekaterina Siurina (Russia) and Heidi Stober (USA), and top New Zealand talent Jonathan Lemalu and Natasha Wilson.

Beyond classical performances, APO has also announced another exciting season of contemporary and family concerts. In May, Planet Earth II Live in Concert features the breath-taking footage from Sir David Attenborough’s iconic BBC Earth series, combined with a live performance of Academy Award® winner Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe’s score. This special event is jointly presented by BBC Studios, APO and Auckland Live.

And following their memorable and sold-out performance with the APO in 2017, New Zealand’s premiere circus theatre company The Dust Palace returns in 2019 for Dawn, presented by Bayleys and promising spectacular cirque artistry alongside the APO performing favourite orchestral repertoire. The NZ Mixtape, also presented by Bayleys and in association with Auckland Live, is a concert celebrating New Zealand music and songwriters, conjuring up Kiwi summers spent around the BBQ, on a road trip, and at the bach. The programme features new orchestrations of music from Prince Tui Teka and Crowded House, to Lorde and The Clean.

The orchestra also takes you on a splendiferous journey through the wonderful world of Roald Dahl in Dahlesque, supported by Bayleys. In this family concert APO and singer Elise McCann celebrate some well-known musical adaptations inspired by Dahl’s stories, from Matilda the Musical, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and more.

Film screenings with live music continue to be a popular offering for APO’s younger audiences. In 2019 KBB Music presents the Academy Award®-winning stop-motion film Peter & the Wolf, with the APO performing Prokofiev’s famous score live while the film plays on the big screen.

The APO’s Unwrap the Music series returns to delight audiences with its deep-dive into the inner workings of masterpieces, and throughout the year APO musicians will venture into all corners of Auckland with the In Your Neighbourhood series, a four-concert programme of chamber music, including a return to Waiheke Island and a special inner-city performance in the Town Hall Concert Chamber.

Subscriptions for 2019 APO Season are on sale from 19 September. Book four or more tickets to become a subscriber and enjoy priority booking, savings on individual ticket prices and no booking fees. Subscribe before Friday 25 January to go in the draw to win a luxury three-night stay in the Bay of Islands. Public ticket sales for most events go on sale through Ticketmaster on Monday 21 January 2019. Some events may be on sale with Ticketmaster before the end of 2018.

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