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Preview: Upbeat with Eva Radich

RNZ: Upbeat

What's going on in the world of music and the arts? From the concert hall to the cinema, we talk to musicians, composers, choreographers, dancers, actors, directors and artists - Upbeat finds out what makes them tick.


Utterances of David Long

Mon, 29 May 2017 13:30:00 +1200

New Zealand musician, composer and producer David Long’s new album is abstract, haunting and beautiful. He collaborated on Utterance with taonga puoro player Richard Nunns and harpist Natalia Mann.  David will perform parts of the new album at City Gallery in Wellington this Thursday.

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Composer’s kiwi connections

Mon, 29 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

A fallen New Zealand mountaineer has provided inspiration for an opera by British composer Joby Talbot. Everest tells the tragic story of Rob Hall who died on the mountain in 1996 in a blizzard that claimed the lives of eight mountaineers. The opera was premiered by Dallas Opera in the US. Talbot is a very successful composer of music for ballet, film – including A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - and choir. His choral work, Path of Miracles, which had its world premiere halted by the 2005 London Bombings, is being performed by Auckland choir Viva Voce this Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

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Inspiring the next generation of choral composers

Fri, 26 May 2017 13:30:00 +1200

Two new compositions by the top prize winners of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's Student Composers Competition take centre stage in Auckland this weekend. Choral works by Sarah Fouhy and Lachlan Grant are being performed by Auckland Choral. Both composers were mentored by composer David Hamilton, who talks about the process along with Sarah Fouhy. David's work In Flanders Fields is also being performed.

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Internationally acclaimed pianist tinkles Town Hall organ

Fri, 26 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

For the first time a piano soloist is taking over the Auckland Town Hall organ. Brit Jeremy Filsell is a multi-faceted musician who's established a career on piano and organ and is a global authority on Marcel Dupré. Joining him is American organist Erick Suter, who was the organist at Washington National Cathedral for nearly 10 years. They will perform works by Dupré and Jeremy will give a performance of Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

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Fate of Conservatorium in the balance

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:30:00 +1200

Concern is running high in Waikato over potential staff cuts at the University Conservatorium of Music. Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Waikato are undergoing restructuring by Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley. The community is rallying behind the Music School staff and its Concert Coordinator Katherine Austin, concerned about the future for Music in the region.

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Wrapping your tongue around Shakespeare

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Shakespeare’s turn of phrase has the ability to trip up even the most apt of linguists.  But English actor, author and producer Ben Crystal is making Shakespeare’s words easier to understand and say through “original pronunciation”. He’s here for the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival and to perform in his show Crystal Clear at Circa.

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Review: Houstoun’s Bach Marathon

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:30:00 +1200

Michael Houstoun played the entire 96 pieces of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier Books I & II this past weekend. The pieces that make up the two books were written as exercises for Bach's pupils. Peter Hoar evaluates the experience of hearing New Zealand's pre-eminent pianist tackle his latest Bach Marathon.

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Jon Toogood and the Christchurch Symphony add a Kiwi twist to Bowie

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

The music of rock's greatest chameleon will fill the Horncastle Arena this Saturday. Symphonic Oddity, the Music of David Bowie features NZ singers Jon Toogood, Julia Deans, Laughton Kora and Anna Coddington with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra celebrating Bowie's forty year career. Jon Toogood is directing the event and says Bowie has always been a major influence on him, and so many other musicians, because he pushed the boundaries of what rock could be.

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Young American voices in NZ

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:50:00 +1200

A choir from Pennsylvania is touring the country and inviting local choristers to join them in school exchanges and workshops. The Allegheny College Chamber Choir is a select group of highly invested singers directed by James D. Niblock; James says the choir is doing its first international tour thanks to the generosity of its Alumni, of whom he is one. 

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Review: NZSO with guest conductor Darrell Ang

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

Singaporean Darrell Ang is back conducting the NZSO after their Naxos recording was nominated for a Grammy Award last year. Elizabeth Kerr reviews Pathétique – Tchaikovsky & Dvořák which features Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan playing Dvorak. The concert starts with a piece by award-winning young New Zealander David Grahame Taylor.

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Anne Frank’s story in song

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Annelies is a choral piece that tells Anne Frank’s brave journey of hiding from the Nazis. The work will have its New Zealand premiere this week from the Auckland Youth Choir. British composer James Whitbourn discusses how less is more when you create music to reflect the emotional trajectory of a story as tragic as that of Anne Frank.

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Piano centerpiece for Christopher’s Classics

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

The piano takes centre stage at The Piano for Christopher’s Classics. Pianist Diedre Irons along with NZSO Concert master Vesa-Matti Leppanen, Principal Viola Julia Joyce and Principal Cello Andrew Joyce combine their talents to perform repertoire centred on Schubert’s Adagio and Rondo Concertante in F, Mahler’s only Piano Quartet, which was only rediscovered in the 1960s, plus works by Schnittke and Brahms.

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REVIEW: CSO From The New World

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

Highly regarded Scandinavian cellist Torleif Thedéen made his Christchurch Symphony Orchestra debut on Saturday night, performing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No 1. Tony Ryan reviews the concert that also included John Psathas’ Tarantismo and Dvorak’s From the New World Symphony.

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NZSM composer in residence Alison Isadora

Mon, 22 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Alison Isadora brings her complex and multi-leveled musical works to the New Zealand School of Music as the composer in residence. She follows in the footsteps of other composers including Dame Gillian Whitehead, Lyell Cresswell and John Elmsly. Isadora’s music, which is described as having improvisational, theatrical and multimedia elements, is part of a number of performances at Victoria University over the coming weeks.

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The look of sound

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:48:00 +1200

Turning sound into visuals is the idea behind one of the pieces at the Lux Light Festival on in Wellington this week. Sound artists Mo Zareei and Jim Murphy have collaborated on a piece called Interference [dac] which explores what sound waves look like. They chat to producer Zoe George about their inspiration behind the piece, how to translate sound into visual, and how they hope their piece will resonate with the audience.

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Shakespeare’s parallels with US politics

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

The author of Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? James Shapiro draws parallels between characters like Lear and Othello with today’s politicians.  Shapiro is here for the Auckland Writers Festival and is one the world’s foremost Shakespearean scholars. The professor of English at Columbia University has won numerous awards for his books, one of which debunks the idea that Shakespeare was not the author of the plays.

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Classical music’s influence in Asia

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

The rapid growth of Western classical music in Asia will see three new concert halls built in the city of Chengdu alone in the next year or two. Singaporean born conductor Darrell Ang, who is in this country to lead the NZSO’s Pathétique – Tchaikovsky & Dvořák concert tour, talks about his own extraordinary career and the opportunities for classical musicians in China.

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Hit the road Jac

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

Eight piece jazz band The Jac have been on the road for a Chamber Music NZ tour in the lead up to the Wellington Jazz Festival collaboration with Korean traditional/fusion group Black String. Alto Saxophonist Jake Baxendale talks about collaborating with the Korean band and how that’s rubbed off on The Jac’s musicians.

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RNZB: Three by Ekman choreographer fronts up

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

A technology malfunction brought effervescent choreographer Alexander Ekman on stage unexpectedly early on opening night of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Three by Ekman. Reviewer Jennifer Shennan was there, and at the dress rehearsal. She reviews the full show.

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Curating a New Zealand legend

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

The first Colin McCahon show in 15 years is currently on at City Gallery in Wellington. The exhibition Colin McCahon: On Going Out with Tide was curated by poet and critic Wystan Curnow and features major works from the 60s and 70s, including rarely seen work The Canoe Tainui (1969). Curnow reflects on McCahon’s commentary on emerging biculturalism and the importance of Māori themes in this work.

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Intrepid Bassoonist Ben Hoadley

Wed, 17 May 2017 13:25:00 +1200

Auckland is swamped with musical performances this weekend, including bassoonist Ben Hoadley playing Weber’s Bassoon Concerto with the St Matthews Chamber Orchestra. He’s back from a recent trip to Australia and discusses the depth of music in our largest city.

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Sounding the horn with APO

Wed, 17 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Stefan Dohr, is sounding the horn this week with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. Strauss’ Horn Concerto is complimented by Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus: Overture and Rachmaninov’s second symphony. Dohr talks about traveling the world as a soloist, taking masterclasses and how difficult it was to become a professional musician in his teenage years.

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Contemporary art making noise at Auckland Art Gallery

Tue, 16 May 2017 13:45:00 +1200

Contemporary art, combined with sound, voice, music and performance takes the spotlight at Auckland Art Gallery this week.  The exhibition Shout Whisper Wail! features 11 contemporary artists from NZ and abroad, including New Zealanders  Juliet Carpenter and Janet Lilo.  Auckland Art Gallery’s Curator of Contemporary Art Natasha Conland and Juliet Carpenter explain the relationship between sound and visuals.

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Ekman returns: 'This was my comeback'

Tue, 16 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

Choreographer Alexander Ekman’s Cacti was so popular last year that it’s returning as part of a triple bill by the Royal New Zealand Ballet opening this week. This time the company mounts Three by Ekman showcasing the Swedish choreographer’s exuberant and complex style and the witty energy behind it. He’s back in NZ bringing two new works Episode 31 which reflects on life in New York City and Tuplet which asks what is rhythm?

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The secrets and scandals of The Civic

Tue, 16 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

The secrets and scandals of Auckland venues are all part of the experience for George Farrant, Auckland Council principal heritage advisor, who has overseen restorations of many of the city’s venues: The Civic, Auckland Town Hall and now the St James Theatre. They all have their secrets, and it’s incredible what is revealed when renovations start.

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REVIEW: Orchestra Wellington’s Firebird

Mon, 15 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

Peter Mechen reviews Orchestra Wellington’s opening concert for 2017, Firebird. The programme featured great early works by not just Stravinsky but also Beethoven’s first symphony and the premiere of John Elmsley’s Violin Concerto with soloist Jun Hong Loh, conducted by Marc Taddei.

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Lost Bird plays live

Mon, 15 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Folk Country Wellington based duo guitarist Ali Whitton and violinist Oliver Vetter have recently released their new single Grace Has Green Eyes. They weave poetry with melodic lines for a live performance in the Wellington studio.

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Kenny Barron’s jazz vibe

Fri, 12 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

Legendary American Jazz pianist Kenny Barron is coming to Christchurch as part of the International Jazz and Blues Festival at the end of this month. It’s the first time he’s performed in New Zealand. The octogenarian spoke to Zoe George from his base in New York, about the evolution of jazz, how Latin and Caribbean rhythms influenced his style, having “it” and, of course, Donald Trump.

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The history of Indians in New Zealand

Fri, 12 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

Poignant and emotive piece Swabhoomi: Borrowed Earth tells the history of Indian immigrants in New Zealand. Prayas Theatre Company traces the first Indians to arrive in New Zealand, follows their tracks through the generations and finishes today, more than 150 years since the first arrivals. Theatre, puppetry, music, and poetry evoke discussion and debate about what it means to be an Indian Kiwi.

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Lisa Reihana in Venice

Fri, 12 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

  New Zealand’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has been opened at the Biennale hub, the Arsenale. Artist Lisa Reihana arrived at the opening in Venice’s biggest gondola. Correspondent Vincent O’Donnell speaks to Reihana about the background to her massive audio visual work Emissaries. It is a 23.5 metre wide video, with live action scenes against a painted backdrop. At the opening it was announced that Emissaries will be shown in both London and Paris after Venice.

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Tami Neilson’s Songs of Sinners

Thu, 11 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

Mavis Staples, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan are touring New Zealand, in song form, covered by country soul singer Tami Neilson.

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The Impresario

Thu, 11 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

It’s a grand title befitting someone persuasive, flamboyant and powerful; and it’s the title that marks an ambitious year for Orchestra Wellington and Music Director Marc Taddei. Diaghilev is the Impresario associated with much of the great art of the early 20th century who gave the young Stravinsky his first commissions through his company the Ballets Russes. Orchestra Wellington performs three of those ballets this year.

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A feminist view of Carmen

Wed, 10 May 2017 13:25:00 +1200

Lindy Hume directed her “breakthrough” production of Bizet’s opera Carmen twenty five years ago as an idealistic young feminist. It upset many in its exposure of the sexism inherent in the work. Lindy’s new production for New Zealand Opera sets out to undermine all the clichés associated with Bizet’s sunny sexy Spain, to create a Carmen for today: a woman who chooses the way in which she will live, love and die.

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Pushing Boundaries with Torleif Thedéen

Wed, 10 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Torleif Thedéen is one of the most highly regarded musicians in Scandinavia. Tomorrow night he teams up with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for its Pushing Boundaries concert playing Haydn, before heading south to play Shostakovich in his debut with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

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Documentaries for the musically inclined

Tue, 09 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

A Jewish Von Trapp-esque family, a fallen pop star, a kiwi troubadour, an Asian Youth Orchestra, a holocaust survivor and a 14 year old Bronx student, along with a bunch of J-pop idols feature in the 2017 DocEdge Documentary Festival which opens this week. Festival Director Dan Shanan has his picks for those musically inclined.

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REVIEW: Kathryn Stott and NZSQ in Wellington

Tue, 09 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

Elizabeth Kerr reviews visiting British pianist Kathryn Stott and the New Zealand String Quartet. The Chamber Music New Zealand Tour visited Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre last night, with a programme featuring Gillian Whitehead’s Still Echoing, a Dvorak quintet and a solo work for piano by Dutilleux.

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NZTrio farewell Justine Cormack

Tue, 09 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

After 15 years with the NZTrio, founding member violinist Justine Cormack is leaving. The three players began the trio as a professional group to perform, tour, record and champion New Zealand music.  Justine, along with cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Sarah Watkins reflect on their time together, and how NZTrio plans to evolve.

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Discovering NZ landscapes through music

Mon, 08 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

Music can set a scene. In the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra’s case, it will set many scenes, as they explore the score from the short film Flying South which takes audiences through the beauty of New Zealand’s wilderness. Los Angeles based Kiwi composer Mark Smythe reveals how he’s broken into the Hollywood scene and the secrets of writing for film and television.

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NZSO delights with Farr and Adams

Mon, 08 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra delivered a concert of contemporary music this past weekend with its Aotearoa Plus concerts in Wellington and Auckland. The programme featured works by Pierre Boulez and John Adams plus the world premiere of Gareth Farr’s new Cello Concerto Chemin des Dames with soloist Sébastien Hurtaud. Reviewer Rachel Hyde discusses the place of contemporary music in the orchestra’s repertoire, how 100 musicians work together on this most demanding music, and how Gareth Farr’s music has matured.  

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Serenading Stefano

Mon, 08 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Canterbury artists come together this week to raise funds for Stefano Guidi, husband of New Zealand soprano Anna Leese, who is fighting an aggressive form of Motor Neurone Disease. The concert has been put together by Anna Midgley from the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and features mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Harris who won last year’s Dame Malvina Major Aria competition in Christchurch, plus other talented young performers working with the City Choir and the Opera Club.

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Body and Britten: Kindred Spirits

Fri, 05 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

Wellington choir Nota Bene is featuring the music of Jack Body and Benjamin Britten in its Kindred Spirits programme this Sunday. Music Director Peter Walls sees an affinity between the music of the two composers and even discussed it with Jack.  The concert is timed to coincide with the publication of some of Jack’s choral scores by Waiteata Music Editions.

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40 Years of Community Theatre at The PumpHouse

Fri, 05 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

The PumpHouse Theatre on Auckland’s North Shore is celebrating its 40th anniversary this weekend. Business Manager James Bell talks about the breadth of work that the theatre hosts and why community theatres are so important across New Zealand.

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Massive questions “What is it to live a wholehearted life?”

Fri, 05 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Auckland’s youth theatre company Massive are preparing to take their show The Wholehearted on the road. Under the helm of co-directors Sam Scott and Scotty Cotter, the show explores the "extreme power of love" across generations, genders and cultures. At its heart is the simple question: “What is it to live a wholehearted life?”

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Kaleidoscopes with Kathryn Stott

Thu, 04 May 2017 13:30:00 +1200

Grammy Award winning British pianist Kathryn Stott started her tour here last night with a performance of Rachmaninov’s 4th piano concerto with the APO; to be repeated this evening in Takapuna with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Then Kathryn is straight into Chamber Music New Zealand's tour with the New Zealand String Quartet. She’s also famous for her relationship with cellist Yo Yo Ma with whom she discovered tango and other Latin dance music, winning a Grammy for her South American CD Soul of the Tango.  

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Kiwi period flutist returns home

Thu, 04 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Renowned New Zealand period flautist Melissa Farrow is home for NZ Barok’s Autumn Notes season. The leading historic flute and recorder player is based in Sydney where she’s the principal flutist for the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. She’s performing works by Carl Friederich Abel, Haydn, WF Bach, Boyce and Sammartini in the baroque orchestra’s first performance for 2017.

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Auckland’s Graduation Gala Concerto Competition

Wed, 03 May 2017 13:40:00 +1200

The University of Auckland presents the 10th anniversary of its Graduation Gala Concerto Competition tomorrow night.  Sara Lee (piano), Joella Pinto (violin) and Julie Park (viola), will each perform a concerto with the University of Auckland Symphony Orchestra. School of Music Head Martin Rummel and guest Judge violinist Helene Pohl from the New Zealand School of Music discuss the current pressure being put on music schools and whether we have too many.

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Physio to the next generation of performers

Wed, 03 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

Dancers, like athletes, put their bodies through challenging circumstances and are susceptible to injury.  Physiotherapist Susan Simpson knows all too well the rigors the body goes through on stage.  The former dancer has transitioned from on stage to off, now being hands on with the students at the New Zealand School of Dance. She discusses what’s happening in the world of performance arts physiotherapy and how performers can minimise their risk of injury.

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APO welcomes guest conductor Rumon Gamba

Wed, 03 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

Tonight APO guest conductor Rumon Gamba gives the first Australasian performance of a recently rediscovered work by Igor Stravinsky. Funeral Song was written by the young composer just before he became famous, but was presumed lost during the Russian Revolution. Re-discovered last year in St Petersburg Funeral Song made an emotional impact on Rumon Gamba.

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Mozart living it up in Auckland

Tue, 02 May 2017 13:30:00 +1200

The Auckland Theatre Company's new production of Peter Shaffer’s awarding winning play Amadeus opens tonight. The psychological thriller follows the excess, envy, love and passion of composing rivals Mozart and Antonio Salieri, a man so jealous he is prepared to murder. In reworking Mozart’s music for the play Musical Director Leon Radojkovich asks the question “What would Mozart’s music sound like if he had all of the musical resource of today?”  

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Sébastien Hurtaud brings Farr's new Concerto to life

Tue, 02 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

New Zealand composer Garth Farr's Cello Concerto Chemin des Dames marks the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of the first world war. It’s been written for young French cellist Sébastien Hurtaud. The work has its premiere with the NZSO in Wellington on Friday before being performed in France. Sébastien discusses what it means to have a piece written for him about a military error so serious it caused many French divisions to openly mutiny in protest.  

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Auckland Theatre Company myth makers

Mon, 01 May 2017 13:20:00 +1200

The story of Maui is coming to schools across the country as part of the Auckland Theatre Company’s Mythmakers tour. The theatre piece, directed by Holly Chappell and musically directed by Rutene Spooner, is told in Te Reo Maori and English, and is complimented with music, waiata, puppetry, kapa haka, poi, and traditional weaponry.

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Getting in the Swing for Jazz Fest

Mon, 01 May 2017 13:00:00 +1200

The Wellington Jazz Festival is fast approaching, with top local and international talent converging on the capital for a week of musical magic. Rodger Fox is a familiar face at the festival. He discusses what he’s looking forward to the most, and how he adds a bit of swing to Bach.

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