Orchestra Wellington

An ambitious regional orchestra that punches above its weight

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Where

Michael Fowler Centre

Location

111 Wakefield Street
Te Aro

Big ideas

Critic Max Rashbrooke is a fan, describing Orchestra Wellington’s programming as more interesting and creative than most classical programmes. Its performance seasons and community programmes regularly mix traditional classical music and contemporary culture, opening up classical music to a wider audience. Two great examples are their regular family concerts and schools’ programmes, which cover a range of themes from magic to science, and the Classical on Cuba festival, where the orchestra performs in Cuba Street’s iconic bars and cafés. 

Orchestra Wellington

Despite being the oldest, Orchestra Wellington is New Zealand’s most modern and progressive regional orchestra. Innovative programming, accessible pricing, and a strong focus on the audience make this one to watch.

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michael fowler centre venue at sunset
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Outstanding talent

The orchestra’s concerts feature internationally acclaimed soloists and incredible home-grown talent.

Concertmaster Amalia Hall is a world-class violinist and was New Zealand’s youngest concertmaster at age 27. But then Amalia likes to start early. She made her debut with the Auckland Philharmonia at the age of nine and was accepted into the NZSO National Youth Orchestra at age ten. She went on to win a long list of awards, including the Joseph Joachim Competition and the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians.

Throughout his extensive career, Music Director Marc Taddei has worked with an impressive array of artists including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Julian Lloyd Webber, Art Garfunkel, Dave Dobbyn and Kenny Rogers, and has made a whopping 30 recordings.

Composer in Residence John Psathas ONZM can best be described as versatile. He has collaborated with Salman Rushdie on the score for an e-book, made a recording with the Grand Mufti in Paris, and worked on a successful album with the frontman of System of a Down.

Full house

The orchestra plays an important role in the cultural life of Wellington, often outselling other major orchestras and regularly booking out the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington’s largest venue. It has earned this loyalty by building strong community connections.

“Community engagement is hugely important to the orchestra. We want everyone to experience the thrill of live orchestral music,” explains the orchestra’s General Manager Kristen Mason. This is why they are often out in the community, performing at busy locations throughout the city – from bohemian Cuba Street for festivals like CubaDupa and Classical on Cuba to the elegant locations of the Botanic Gardens and Government House.

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