Conductor Gemma New. Pic: Roy Cox

NZSO springs into winter

June 18, 2021
1 min read

RICHARD BETTS previews a clutch of performances by the NZSO next month.


Conductor Gemma New. Pic: Roy Cox

Folks in Auckland and Wellington get a concentration of concerts next month when the NZSO presents three of its most recommendable gigs.

All three boast extremely interesting programming. While July is no one’s idea of spring, the NZSO will nevertheless perform Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring, arguably the greatest and most important classical work of the 20th century (Auckland 3 July, Wellington 10 July).


Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.


Although The Rite’s a ballet, the concert won’t feature dancers. There will, however, be a visual element, provided by creative studio Nocturnal. What’s distinctive about this is that some of the visuals will be created in real-time – the first time the NZSO has done that – and there will be a tracking device on conductor Gemma New’s baton, which will be either very cool or very nauseating, depending on your susceptibility to migraines.

Michael Houstoun. Pic: Robert Catto

The first half of the concert features our premier pianist, Michael Houstoun, performing a selection of Chopin solo pieces. Thanks to interruptions caused by Covid, Houstoun has been on his farewell tour longer than Frank Sinatra, but this is likely to be (one of) the last time(s) you’ll get a chance to see him before his retirement.

At the other end of their careers, the members of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra hit the stage the day after Houstoun and co to play Shostakovich’s wonderful Leningrad Symphony (No.7) and a new work by this year’s NYO composer-in-residence, Ihlara McIndoe.

Gareth Farr’s Matariki

Finally, on 2 July (Auckland) and 9 July (Welly) the old-timers of the NZSO proper premiere a new work by Gareth Farr, the more seasonally appropriate Nga Hihi o Matariki. Details are scant but expect the usual rhythmic vigour from percussionist Farr. Singer Mere Boynton and top taonga puoro practitioner Ariana Tikao act as soloists.


Richard Betts is an award-winning writer and editor. His musings on pop culture, the arts and technology have appeared in numerous publications including the New Zealand Herald, Tone, PC World and Top Gear magazine. Three of those no longer exist but he insists it’s not his fault.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Give a little to support Witchdoctor's quest to save high quality independent journalism. It's easy and painless! Just donate $5 or $10 to our PressPatron account by clicking on the button below.

Witchdoctor straight to your inbox every 2nd week


Advance Paris - Designed with French flair. Amplifiers, Streamers, CD players and more
Previous Story

Dyson V15 Detect Total Clean REVIEW

Next Story

JBL Xtreme 3 REVIEW – Acres of oonst

Latest from Concerts

Perfect Pitch

Twenty-five years ago GARY STEEL met up with wayward Kiwi electronic duo Pitch Black for a nice chat. A NZ Music Month special.

Mike Oldfield with bells on

Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells is over 50 years old but still sounds fresh. GARY STEEL chats with the man behind the upcoming Auckland performance

Icehouse, 40 years ago

It’s not often you get to interview Iva Davies (Icehouse) and Jo Camilleri (Jo Jo Zep) at the same time. GARY STEEL did way
Go toTop