Chairman’s Newsletter – February 2017

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to attend the upcoming concerts being presented by AYO.

The Programme, conducted by Antun Poljanich:
Handel:  Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 10
Aria      As when the dove from Acis and Galatea
Aria      Lascia chi’o pianga from Rinaldo
Aria      Tornami a vagheggiar  from Alcina
Duet     Happy we! from Acis and Galatea
   Soloists: Sophie Sparrow, Tayla Alexander 

Vivaldi:  Concerto for 2 Oboes and Strings in D minor, RV535
   Soloists: Noah Rudd & Joshua Webster

and in the Orewa & Howick concerts:
Telemann:  Concerto in A minor for recorder,  viola da gamba, and strings
   Soloists: Wolfgang Kraemer & Edith Salzmann

and in the Waiheke and Hopetoun Alpha Concerts:
for brass ensemble
Gabrieli:   Canzona No 1 per Primi Toni
Gabrieli:   Canzona No 2 per Septimi


When and Where:

Sat. 11 Feb, 7pm  – Waiheke
St Peter’s Church, Oneroa  (Free/donations)
Sat. 25 Feb, 7.30pm –  Howick – All Saints Church  (Free/donations)
Sun.26 Feb, 4pm  –  OrewaArts and Events Centre  (Free/donations)

Sat.   4 Mar Auckland, 7pm AucklandHopetoun Alpha (Beresford Sq), TICKETED EVENT
    Adults/Seniors            $19.00 ($20 door sales)
    Children & Students   $10.00


Early Start   This new year brings a departure from our usual norm. The first programme of the 2017 season, as well as being scheduled much earlier in the year than usual, will be presented in collaboration with the Pettman National Junior Academy of Music, the University of Auckland’s School of Music, and the Auckland Opera Studio. It has long been an objective of AYO to link up with these educational organisations to extend the opportunities open to our most gifted young musicians, and this first programme will be an example of what is possible when we pool our resources and work together. The players and singers in this programme are carefully selected and are all of exceptional talent. The orchestra will be much smaller than usual and the programme will consist of baroque music with a focus on the music of Handel and Vivaldi but also featuring music for brass instruments by Gabrieli. 

The Pettman Academy was founded in Christchurch by Professor Barrie Pettman and his wife Maureen Pettman in 2005 to provide training at the highest level to musically gifted children.  Forty scholarships are provided annually to fund this training, which is largely given by university staff, the academy now being an adjunct to the Auckland University School of Music. The Academy Director is recorder virtuoso Wolfgang Kraemer, and the Artistic Director is cellist Edith Salzmann. As part of this first programme, you will be able to hear them perform a concerto by Telemann for recorder and viola da gamba. The association with AYO will provide opportunities for the Academy’s older students to gain valuable orchestral experience in principal and other positions, and a chance to perform as soloists with the orchestra. AYO will also benefit from an intake of highly trained young players who will be an inspiration to the others, and who will be able to pass on their skills and knowledge by example. This will undoubtedly raise the standard of the orchestra to an even higher level than it is at present, which is a very exciting prospect indeed.

Hopetoun Alpha  Because of the exceptional nature of this programme, the central Auckland performance will not be given in the Town Hall but instead at Hopetoun Alpha, 19 Beresford Square, off Karangahape Road. The seating is very limited and we will be unable to make this a free concert, except for our Supporters. However there will be other opportunities to hear the programme, as it will also be performed in Waiheke, Orewa, and Howick.

Auckland Opera Studio   The concerts will be featuring emerging artists from the Auckland Opera Studio – sopranos Sophie Sparrow and Tayla Alexander  – singing music from the operas of Handel.

Handel wrote a total of 27 operas, and the first twenty years of his career in London were devoted to creating, directing, and promoting them. The almost superhuman effort he devoted to this task almost cost him his health and his sanity. In them can be found inestimable treasures; music of incredible brilliance, but also of humour and wit and almost unbearable pathos. Incredibly, after he turned to oratorios and instrumental music, which were more to the taste of the paying London public, perhaps because they were not in Italian, none of his operas were performed again until 1920.  It is in fact only since the 1980s that hugely successful productions have been mounted of operas which the academic establishment for so many years had maintained could not be performed by modern singers and would be unacceptable to modern audiences.

Vivaldi, whose ‘Four Seasons’ is one of the most frequently recorded works of all time, also wrote over 40 operas which, like Handel’s, were totally forgotten after his death and have even now yet to receive revivals. Since its rediscovery in the 1930s, Vivaldi’s instrumental music has become an immensely popular staple of the baroque repertoire.  We look forward to hearing AYO oboists Noah Rudd and Joshua Webster perform Vivaldi’s concerto for two oboes.

Executive Committee
The past year has been one of transition and change. We were very fortunate that after the departure of Cameron Stuart, our former manager, Joseph Chen was able to take over seamlessly and efficiently as well as continue to play in the orchestra. He proved himself to have remarkable skills, not only in administration but also in an ability to communicate effectively with the members of the committee and orchestra.  I warmly thank him for the hard work he put into this role and wish him every success as he concentrates on his academic studies this year.

In his place I would like to introduce Mary Lin as our new manager. Mary, as Head of Music at Baradene College, is a very accomplished and experienced administrator, as well as being an equally accomplished and experienced musician. I know she will bring these skills and her enthusiastic and engaging personality to the management of the orchestra, helping us raise AYO’s profile to a level commensurate with its value to the community.

In addition, to help with that objective, we have enlarged the committee to create the role of a Marketing and Development Officer, and I am pleased announce that Eva Ding, who distinguished herself so brilliantly as a soloist at our last concert, has been appointed to this role, and will be working as Mary’s assistant.

European Tour 2018   Looking ahead to 2018, I am delighted to announce that we have decided to take up the invitation from the Young Euro Classic organisers to take part in the festival in Berlin in July next year. This will be a fitting event to celebrate the 70th birthday of the orchestra and Antun’s 20th season as Music Director.  It will be an opportunity to demonstrate just what our young New Zealand musicians can do on the world stage. 

See you there…
With the Hopetoun Alpha venue offering limited seating, I would recommend you book your tickets immediately if you are keen to hear and support these young performers.  I look forward to seeing you there!     

Alexander Cowdell