NZSO Teams Up With The NZ String Quartet For Music Month
Join the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for Made In New Zealand: Wonderland when they team up with the New Zealand String Quartet and some of New Zealand's most innovative and vibrant composers and musicians to celebrate NZ Music Month 2012.
Led by star Kiwi conductor Hamish McKeich, this annual concert celebration of New Zealand music brings together these two taonga - the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand String Quartet - to mark the 25th anniversary of the distinguished New Zealand String Quartet.
Wonderland begins with the combined strengths of both the NZSO and NZSQ in one of Wellington-born composer Lyell Cresswell's most valued works, Concerto for Orchestra and String Quartet. Composed in memory of some friends who died too early, this nationally treasured work searches for agreement between the complex and the approachable within one continuous movement comprising 11 sections.
Another treasured New Zealand composer Chris Cree Brown's spectacular Celestial Bodies merges music and media. Premiered by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra at the 2005 Christchurch Arts Festival, this complex work contemplates the heavens above through the machinations of the orchestra, electro-acoustic sounds, and images from Christchurch-based visual artist Julia Morrison. Known for his conventional instrumental composition, electro acoustic and computer music, and inter-media art, Cree Brown is currently the Associate Professor at the School of Music, University of Canterbury.
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra rounds out this celebration of home-grown talent with Gillian Whitehead's exceptional cantata Alice, performed by mezzo-soprano Helen Medlyn, for whom the eight-movement work was composed.
This descriptive monodrama tells the story of how Alice Adcock, a lively and adventurous young woman from Manchester, travelled to New Zealand in 1909 to rid herself of tuberculosis. It worked, and the 23-year-old emigrant lived for a further 50 years of life. This is her story - it has the resonances of a universal myth, known to all of us who have crossed the seas to begin a new life, with unforeseen and unimaginable difficulties.
"I love how Gillian writes," says Helen Medlyn. "She conjures up wonderful colours in her orchestrations which create deep emotions and clear-cut environments so vividly for me.
"One of my favourite musical moments in Alice would be the storm which Alice encounters on her way out to New Zealand and tells her family about in the first song. The music puts me on the ocean and I can see the ship, the passengers and the cargo getting tossed about in the tempest. Another favourite moment would have to be the mystical few bars at the beginning and in the middle of the fifth song, when a combination of instruments deliver a strangely eerie 'slide' that I feel speaks of the deep grief Alice feels at the death of her father."
Vivacious mezzo-soprano, Helen Medlyn, will add her usual flavour of musical spice and skill to her performance of this innovative final work in this wonderful concert celebration of New Zealand music.
Made In New Zealand: Wonderland is one of the most anticipated concerts in the 2012 NZ Music Month calendar.
"...with conductor Hamish McKeich... even the impossible holds no fear for the NZSO... the audience loved it all." Lindis Taylor, NZ Listener, Made in New Zealand 2011.
NZSO Chief Executive Christopher Blake will lead each pre-concert talk featuring all three New Zealand composers (Chris Cree Brown, Lyell Cresswell and Gillian Whitehead) in Wellington (Ilott Theatre, Town Hall) and Auckland (Supper Room, Town Hall), 45-minutes prior to each performance.