The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is this country’s only professional full-size orchestra. One of the world’s oldest national symphony orchestras, we’ve been delighting audiences with memorable concerts and recordings since 1946.
We’re continually on the road, touring as many as 100 symphonic concerts as well as dozens of dedicated concerts for children and small communities each year. While we present all our main programmes in Auckland and Wellington, we tour New Zealand extensively.
We perform in concert halls, schools, marae, hospitals, parks, rest homes and even on railway platforms. You’ll hear us on radio, television, in movies and on CD. You can download our music and keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Our extensive Community and Education programmes take our music to children and young people up and down New Zealand, giving them a chance to get up close and personal with our players and inspire them towards a life-long love of music.
In November 2010 we returned from the most prestigious and successful international tour in our history. Beginning in Shanghai at the World Expo, we continued to Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria, where we played in Vienna’s hallowed Musikverein. For three weeks we played sold-out concerts, often to standing ovations, and drew critical acclaim from the European press. We played Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Berlioz and flew the flag for New Zealand music, including Douglas Lilburn’s Aotearoa and specially-commissioned pieces by Ross Harris. As the Badische Zeitung newspaper declared, “The orchestra and conductor demonstrated that they can, without fear, allow themselves to be compared with leading European ensembles.” The NZ Herald described our Vienna concert as “historic”.
Our Music Director Pietari Inkinen is consistently praised in the national and international press for his outstanding abilities, both in concerts and recordings with the NZSO. Our recording of Sibelius’ Symphonies 1 and 3 prompted Gramophone magazine to declare:
“The young Finn draws playing of infectious zeal from the NZSO (what an accomplished band they have become in recent years)… intelligence, tastefulness and honesty are watchwords here.” (December 2010)
Naxos’ 2011 release of Sibelius’ Fourth and Fifth Symphonies drew considerable praise, including a four star review in London’s Financial Times. The release of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 and Karelia Suite also attracted warm attention including this from Gramophone critic Guy Rickards:
“The orchestra certainly sound as if they enjoyed themselves, and so should you in their company.”
The release of Jenny McLeod’s The Emperor and the Nightingale and Sibelius Symphonies 6 and 7 have garnered attention. In the NZ Listener Ian Dando said: “It says much of him [Inkinen] and the NZSO that this is one of the most consummate versions in a competitive market for Sibelius’ most popular symphony… No. 7’s powerful contraction of thought creates a sense of scale well beyond its 20-minute time frame.”