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Orchestra Wellington 2020 to showcase music of Sergei Rachmaninoff

Under the baton of Music Director Marc Taddei, the orchestra will perform all three of Rachmaninoff's symphonies, his fourth piano concerto, his brilliant Oratorio, The Bells, and his final orchestral masterpiece, Symphonic Dances.


Orchestra Wellington 2020 to showcase music of Sergei Rachmaninoff
Marc Taddei says Rachmaninoff's music and life story make him a natural fit for an orchestra hailed for its innovative programming and marketing. Image Credit: Pixabay

Fans of big tunes and rich harmonies will love Orchestra Wellington's 2020 season which showcases the music of the last great Russian romantic, Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Under the baton of Music Director Marc Taddei, the orchestra will perform all three of Rachmaninoff's symphonies, his fourth piano concerto, his brilliant Oratorio, The Bells, and his final orchestral masterpiece, Symphonic Dances.

During his lifetime, Rachmaninoff was revered as much for his piano playing as his own music, so it's only right Orchestra Wellington should accompany New Zealand's greatest pianist, Michael Houstoun in his final concerto appearance, playing Three Psalms by fellow KiwiJohn Psathas.

Yet despite being the epitome of late Russian Romanticism, Rachmaninoff spent the last third of his life in America.

The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution forced Rachmaninoff into exile, and when the new regimes confiscated his home, he had to return to playing the piano to earn a living.

Marc Taddei says Rachmaninoff's music and life story make him a natural fit for an orchestra hailed for its innovative programming and marketing.

"His approach as a composer and performer was to make connections through music. The idea of featuring Rachmaninoff brings to the fore what we believe in, in terms of making music relevant".

Brilliant young Auckland pianist Tony Chen Lin will take on Rachmaninoff's Fourth Piano Concerto, while three of New Zealand's top opera singers, Tenor Jared Holt, Baritone Wade Kernot and Soprano Margaret Medlyn will combine with the Orpheus Choir to perform the Oratorio, The Bells.

Other highlights are Wellington's Jian Liu playing the first piano concerto of one of Rachmaninoff's modernist contemporaries, Prokofiev, while the orchestra's own rising star, concertmaster, Amalia Hall, New Zealand's finest young violinist, is the soloist in a new violin concerto by the American, Jennifer Higdon.

Gabriel Faure's Requiem and Psathas' View from Olympus are more treats in store in Orchestra Wellington's, The Great Romantic, season for2020.

The performance of two Psathas works in 2020 signals a new partnership between Orchestra Wellington and internationally acclaimed Kiwi JohnPsathas, ONZM, as Composer-in-Residence.

Psathas' large-scale symphonic works are performed around the globe. His cross-genre credits include writing music for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, and an e-book scoring collaboration with Salman Rushdie.

Orchestra Wellington's music director Marc Taddei says he's thrilled Psathas will be working alongside Orchestra Wellington from next year.

"We're beginning a new programme that will form an even deeper bond between the composer, musicians, and audience," Taddei said.

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