Fans of big tunes and rich harmonies will love Orchestra Wellington's
2020 season which showcases the music of the last great Russian
Romantic, Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Under the baton of Music Director Marc Taddei, the orchestra will
perform all three of Rachmaninoff's symphonies, his fourth piano
concerto, his brilliant Oratorio, The Bells, and his final orchestral
masterpiece, Symphonic Dances.
During his lifetime, Rachmaninoff was revered as much for his piano
playing as his own music, so it's only right Orchestra Wellington
should accompany New Zealand's greatest pianist, Michael Houstoun in
his final concerto appearance, playing Three Psalms by fellow Kiwi
Yet despite being the epitome of late Russian Romanticism,
Rachmaninoff spent the last third of his life in America.
The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution forced Rachmaninoff into exile, and when
the new regime confiscated his home, he had to return to playing piano
to earn a living.
Marc Taddei says Rachmaninoff's music and life story make him a
natural fit for an orchestra hailed for its innovative programming and
"His approach as a composer and performer was to make connections
through music. The idea of featuring Rachmaninoff brings to the fore
what we believe in, in terms of making music relevant".
Brilliant young Auckland pianist Tony Chen Lin will take on
Rachmaninoff's Fourth Piano Concerto, while three of New Zealand's top
opera singers, Tenor Jared Holt, Baritone Wade Kernot and Soprano
Margaret Medlyn will combine with the Orpheus Choir to perform the
Oratorio, The Bells.
Other highlights are Wellington's Jian Liu playing the first piano
concerto of one of Rachmaninoff's modernist contemporaries, Prokofiev,
while the orchestra's own rising star, concertmaster, Amalia Hall ,
New Zealand’s finest young violinist, is the soloist in a new violin
concerto by the American, Jennifer Higdon.
Gabriel Faure's Requiem and Psathas' View from Olympus are more treats
in store in Orchestra Wellington's, The Great Romantic, season for
The performance of two Psathas works in 2020 signals a new partnership
between Orchestra Wellington and internationally acclaimed Kiwi John
Psathas, ONZM, as Composer-in-Residence.
Psathas’ large-scale symphonic works are performed around the globe.
His cross-genre credits include writing music for the opening ceremony
of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, and an e-book scoring
collaboration with Salman Rushdie.
Orchestra Wellington's music director Marc Taddei says he’s thrilled
Psathas will be working alongside Orchestra Wellington from next year.
“We’re beginning a new programme that will form an even deeper bond
between the composer, musicians and audience,” Taddei said.