Bond at heart of series

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The deep, long-standing relationship between the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and the University of Otago is at the heart of the orchestra’s 2019 concert series.

Launched last week, the DSO season features staff and alumni of the university in every concert – in either the role of composer, performer, or conductor.

DSO general manager Philippa Harris said the university’s 150th anniversary year was an ideal opportunity to put the spotlight on the “outstanding talent” of music students and lecturers, past and present.

Among the luminaries to be featured will be pianist Michael Houstoun, conductor Tecwyn Evans, composer and Otago music department head of programme Prof Anthony Ritchie, soprano Anna Leese and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra principal flute Bridget Douglas.

After the DSO accompanies City Choir Dunedin in its performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion on March 31, the orchestra’s next concert for the year will be Tally Ho! 3on April 13 – continuing its popular celebrations of the Dunedin Sound.

Orchestrated by music lecturer Graeme Downes, the “DSO meets pop” concert had proven a “fantastic formula”, Ms Harris said.

The well-supported matinee series concerts will return to the King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre in May and July.

Feature role . . . Dunedin-based soprano and University of Otago alumna Anna Leese. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Dunedin-born-and-educated flautist Bridget Douglas will be the soloist for “Bridget plays Baroque” on May 11 and 12, conducted by Kenneth Young.

The DSO’s own Tessa Petersen (violin) and Heleen du Plessis (cello) will play concertos by Vaughan Williams and Saint Saens in “Strings to their Bows” on July 20 and 21, conducted by Richard Davis.

The International Series at the Dunedin Town Hall begins on June 28 with “Tecwyn, Terence and Tom Celebrating Matariki”, featuring Terence Dennis and Tom McGrath playing Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos, conducted by Tecwyn Evans.

Those who remember the capacity audiences for the 1998 performances of Ritchie’s From the Southern Marches, will have another chance to hear the work on August 24.

Conducted by Simon Over, the work will feature university alumni Emma Fraser (soprano), Anna Leese (soprano), Joel Amosa (bass), City Choir Dunedin and the Southern Youth Choir.

The International Series will conclude on September 21 with Michael Houstoun at the piano for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 14, with conductor Tianyi Lu.

Houstoun has announced he will retire from performance at the end of 2020.

“It is going to be a very busy year for us, which will have the rousing finale of Handel’s Messiah with City Choir Dunedin in December,” Ms Harris said.

On top of these performances, DSO players would be continuing with their education projects, school visits and community engagement, she said.