Conductor Giordano Bellincampi is renewed for three more years

APO announces 2021 season

November 9, 2020
3 mins read

With the rest of the world teetering on the edge of lockdown or hamstrung by social distancing the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) has defiantly announced its 2021 season.

Auckland’s own orchestra announces its ambitious 2021 season

Having received more than four million views of its online activities during the Covid-19 lockdown, the largest employer in Auckland’s performing arts sector – the APO – has announced its full programme of concerts and community outreach activity for 2021. And despite the upheaval of 2020, the programme for 2021 is as inspiring and as adventurous as ever.

The announcement of the renewal of Giordano Bellincampi as Music Director until the end of 2024 is an obvious highlight. Denmark based Bellincampi, who has received essential worker status by New Zealand Immigration under the current Covid-19 imposed border controls, will be leading the orchestra for a further three years.

Giordano Bellincampi returns as Music Director

This announcement will be celebrated by musicians and audiences alike and helps to ensure the APO continues to fulfil its ambitious artistic plans over the years to come.

“The launch of this new season is particularly emotional for all of us at the APO,” says APO Chief Executive, Barbara Glaser. “This has been such a tough year for us and many others. For our musicians to lose the opportunity to perform is losing much of what defines them and what they have spent years training to accomplish.

“With the rest of the world like it is at present we feel so lucky to be able to gather together once again here in New Zealand,” says Glaser. “Our forced separation taught us all to appreciate and value each other and the atmosphere in the concert hall is electric as a result. I’m incredibly proud of the creative and positive approach all our team have taken in preparing this 2021 season and we can’t wait to share it with audiences next year.”

Michael Houstoun will perform for the last time prior to his retirement

New Zealand has developed a rich pool of musical talent and in 2021 APO audiences can look forward to enjoying home-grown talent from Kiwis based both here and those who now make their home abroad.

Some of the featured artists for 2021 include:

Michael Houstoun – Piano (in his final year of performance before retirement)

Benjamin Morrison – Violin (the only NZer to have won a place in the Vienna Philharmonic)

Teddy Tahu Rhodes – Bass-baritone

Kirstin Sharpin – Soprano

Benjamin Baker – Violin

Natalia Lomeiko – Violin

Natasha Wilson – Soprano

Professional orchestras of APO’s calibre traditionally work with conductors and artists from across the world. Covid-19 travel restrictions have naturally impacted on programming decisions in 2021, but the APO has not let the pandemic limit its creative opportunities.

In 2021 the APO makes a particular point of championing female composers and artists. Major works by female composers spanning almost 1000 years of music-making are liberally scattered throughout the year.

Audiences, emerging musicians and composers can look forward to performances of new commissions by Dame Gillian Whitehead (featuring APO Concertmaster Andrew Beer as soloist) and Ruby Solly integrating Taonga Puoro alongside classical orchestral instruments

Natalia Lomeiko is a featured violinist in the 2021 season

High profile NZ conductors Holly Mathieson, Tianyi Lu and Gemma New will also return to New Zealand for APO engagements and more than half of the featured soloists will be women, many from within the APO’s own ranks.

This year should have seen the APO celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth but lockdowns stymied those party plans, so it’s heartening to see Auckland won’t go without and the full symphonic cycle will be presented in 2021.

Music Director, Giordano Bellincampi will lead this momentous undertaking and in addition to all nine Beethoven symphonies, the APO has thrown in an extra treat, Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio, presented in concert with a cast of New Zealand’s most successful operatic exports, led by Simon O’Neill.

In 2021 the orchestra will continue to reach diverse audiences by venturing beyond the traditional symphonic format. Look out for How To Train Your Dragon In Concert and Superheroes Live In Concert. Aretha will see the APO celebrate the Queen of Soul and showcase the vocal talents of Boh Runga, Bella Kalolo and Vanessa Stacey along with Auckland’s own a capella gospel choir, Jubilation.

Boh Runga performs in Aretha

The new season sees APO musicians out in the community again in chamber ensembles for In Your Neighbourhood and the new Baroque And Beyond series.

  • Subscriptions for the APO 2021 Season are on sale from 9 November. Book four or more tickets and enjoy priority booking, exclusive discounts and no booking fees. For ticketing and enquiries visit or phone (09) 623 1052.

This story contains elements of an APO press release.


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Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

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