Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Honoured By Human Rights Commission
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) was honoured on Monday 20 August by the Human Rights Commission, with the arts organisation receiving a New Zealand Diversity Award.
The Awards, which are bestowed annually, reward exceptional contributions to diversity in New Zealand.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the award was in recognition of the APO's innovative cross-cultural programme, and particularly its extensive engagement with diverse young people in South Auckland.
"Only 12 organisations are recognised nationally each year for their outstanding contribution to race relations and cultural diversity. The APO was an obvious choice and is a great example for other mainstream cultural organisations to follow."
Among its activities in South Auckland, the APO has established Remix the Orchestra, which pairs young urban musicians with members of the orchestra and hip-hop mentors. This year the APO marked the fifth anniversary of Remix with a full concert at Auckland Town Hall in front of a 1000-strong audience. The multimedia performance featured the orchestra, leading urban artists including Ermehn, Tyree and DJCXL, breakdancers, graffiti artists and graduates from previous Remix workshops.
Remix workshops take place at Otara Music Arts Centre (OMAC), where the APO also runs Sistema Aotearoa, New Zealand's first music education and social development programme based on the famed El Sistema model. Internationally, El Sistema has been credited with a drop in youth crime, a rise in school attendance rates, and the ability to offer young people alternatives to lives of gangs and drugs. Through Sistema Aotearoa, the APO currently teaches instrument skills to more than 160 primary school-aged children.
APO Chief Executive Barbara Glaser said that she is proud of the orchestra's achievement.
"In the 21st century, playing concerts on the main stage is only part of what an orchestra does, and it's gratifying to know that the work we do throughout Auckland hasn't gone unnoticed. Initiatives such as Remix can only exist with the support of the community, and the APO is honoured to receive this award because in recognising the orchestra it also acknowledges the people the orchestra serves."
About the APO
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra:
· was established in 1980
· is one of two full-time professional symphony orchestras in New Zealand
· contracts 70 full-time musicians, engaging extra players as required
· employs 22 FTE admin and management staff
· is Auckland's largest performing arts organisation
· plays to well over 100,000 people each year
· presents more than 45 of its own concerts in Auckland every year and performs many more with and for other organisations
· is committed to excellence, engaging world-class conductors and soloists
· has Australasia's most comprehensive education, community and outreach programme, APO Connecting, which reaches more than 23,000 young people each year, with APO musicians making more than 200 school visits annually
· broadcasts more live concerts nationally and internationally on radio and internet than any other New Zealand orchestra
· plays regularly for the NBR New Zealand Opera, Royal New Zealand Ballet and the Michael Hill International Violin Competition
· plays a strong support role for other Auckland orchestras. APO players are involved with the other orchestras as teachers, players, mentors and conductors.
The APO initiates new and ongoing cross-cultural and multi-artform projects. These have included 2011's Sacre: The Auckland Dance Project, which involved nearly 200 students in a professionally choreographed performance of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring; and 2012's Remix the Orchestra, where classical met hip-hop. Programmes such as these and others have been life-changing for the participants, many of whom have altered their life aspirations as a result.
In 2011 the APO partnered with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to establish Sistema Aotearoa, the country's first Sistema-based social development and music education programme.
In addition to their APO work, APO musicians do approximately 300 hours per week of instrumental teaching, from primary to tertiary level, thus playing a key role in developing the next generation of musicians.
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