Chairman’s Newsletter – September 2016

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

The Programme:
     RAVEL  Bolero                                                                       
     CHEN Yi  The Golden Flute                                                
     TCHAIKOVSKY  Music from ‘The Nutcracker’

     Conductor       Antun Poljanich
     Soloist            Eva Ding, Flute

When and Where:
     Sat 1  Oct   7.30pm  Katikati – St Paul’s Presbyterian Church
     Sun 2 Oct   2.30pm  Whitianga Town Hall
     Sat  8 Oct   7.30pm  Auckland Town Hall    



Shortly before our last concert we introduced our new Supporters scheme.  For a minimum donation of $60.00 per annum our Supporters are guaranteed seats in advance at the AYO Town Hall concerts, in the best part of the house. This avoids people having to queue to get a decent seat, which adds to the enjoyment of the occasion. It was encouraging to see Supporters chatting with each other in their special area, and obviously having a good time.  I can see this developing into an informal Supporters club as people get to know each other. The social aspect of concert going has always been important, and in fact historically concerts really began as social gatherings with music. We are hopeful that many more people will take advantage of this really great idea.  It is so valuable for AYO to have the secure financial support this scheme provides, and so a very big thank you to those of you have already signed up, and a big welcome to anyone else who would like to join. Contact Ms Annette Sachtleben .

AYO / University / APO Co-operation 

Another exciting development is that members of the AYO Executive Committee have met with Associate Professor Martin Rummel of The University of Auckland School of Music, and Rachael Brand of APO Connect, and we have all agreed to work much more closely together in the future to provide the best possible opportunities for Auckland’s young musicians.

Each organisation has different things to offer, but by sharing information and co-ordinating scheduling etc. we are confident that we can build on what are already first rate teaching facilities, to incorporate many more performance and developmental opportunities for our young musicians. In that respect we all share the same objectives.


AYO Soloist Competition
This annual event is now in its 5th year and we extend our sincere thanks to two past players who make this competition possible:
Anne Draffin, who has run and developed the competition each year; and
Philip Galloway, who has generously provided cash prizes and other financial support each year.The purpose of the competition is to provide an opportunity for AYO members to perform either a concerto or a short piece in a formal yet supportive competitive environment.  The winner of the concerto section receives not only a substantial cash prize but also the sought-after opportunity to perform the concerto as soloist with AYO the following year.  We are looking forward to another exciting and inspiring competition later this month.


Our last concert…
The feedback from the last concert was very positive, apart from the difficulty many people had finding a park for their car. Because of the International Film Festival, and other events on at the same time, the Civic car park was completely full soon after 1.15pm, with the concert starting at 2.30pm.  As the weather was also bad, some people actually gave up and went home, while others arrived late. We will try and ascertain in the future if this situation is likely to arise again, and let you know well in advance, as we did for the Divali Festival.

People loved the programme, and the orchestra was in superb form. It was thrilling to hear Mojca Pecman’s masterly performance of Ibert’s saxophone concerto. The opportunity of hearing a live performance of a saxophone concerto is such a rare event (I have never heard one before) and AYO is very pleased that we were able to feature this work.  Mojca was also thrilled to have the opportunity to play it to NZ audiences. It was very exciting to hear the orchestra in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The aplomb with which the difficulties of this great showpiece were tackled by the orchestra soloists was very impressive.


Coming up in this programme…
The saxophone is the most modern of wind instruments, but our next programme will feature the most ancient, the flute. Most musical cultures, including Maori, have a flute of some kind, but in China, bone flutes dating back 10,000 years have been excavated, and it is one of the most important musical instruments in traditional Chinese music.
Eva Ding, Soloist
Eva Ding, the winner of last year’s AYO Soloist Competition, will be performing The Golden Flute, by the American Chinese composer Chen Yi.  Eva Ding started learning the flute at the age of 8, going on to study with Uwe Grodd at the University of Auckland’s School of Music. She has also been mentored by Bridget Douglas and Sami Junnonen through the NZSO and APO Scholarship programmes.  She has featured as a soloist with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra and has been a prize winner in the National, North Shore and Tauranga Performing Arts Competitions.


 The programme will also feature Ravel’s Bolero, and music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suites.  There are certain pieces of music which by some strange alchemy become known to just about everybody, even people with little interest in music at all, never mind classical music.   Für Elise by Beethoven is one example, or Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart, another.  Ravel’s Bolero is also one of those pieces, instantly recognised even by people who would have no idea who Ravel was.

It was a huge success, right from its first performance, because although it is an astonishingly original work, and though nothing like it had ever been written before, it is instantly accessible to even an unsophisticated listener. The combination of the sensuous melody, repeated over and over again above the hypnotic rhythm of the bolero, with a continuous crescendo building gradually to an overwhelming climax at the end, has proved irresistible to audiences ever since.

Those who are only familiar with recordings of the piece will be amazed at how much more powerful and effective a live performance is. The dynamic range of a recording is compressed so that it can be heard in a domestic setting. To hear a full symphony orchestra play the same work live is quite another experience.

 There are certain numbers from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, such as the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, or the Russian Dance, which are also instantly recognisable to most people.  It is hard to believe, therefore, that initially the Ballet was a failure.  In fact it was not until the 1960s that it became the enormous success it is today. In London every Christmas one can see crowds of little girls queuing up outside the Coliseum, or the Royal Opera House, dressed in their best frocks and clutching their fairy wands, some of them practising their dance steps as they wait. The ballet has become an introduction to the magic of live theatre for countless young children. Tchaikovsky’s music conjures up a truly fantastic and magical world through his astonishingly original orchestration, and delightful melodies.   It will be a truly wonderful and uplifting experience to hear Antun Poljanich conduct this wonderful score with the AYO.


See you there…
The final concert of the season is always a special event. We expect a full house, so don’t forget to come to the Town Hall in plenty of time to get a good seat, or even better, become a Supporter and get one reserved for you. You won’t be disappointed.


Alexander Cowdell