An orchestra performing inside the Michael Fowler Centre to a full house audience.

Orchestra Wellington 2024 season

The thought-provoking suite of five concerts spans 286 years of musical genius from 1738 to the present day.

The focus is on masterpieces that look back to previous eras for inspiration. Casting such a wide net allows for a diverse range of tastes. You’ll hear everything from Baroque to French impressionists, jazz to modernism, and more. Stay tuned for an epic year of concerts.

Concert tickets will be on sale from 1 March. 

Image of Marc Taddei conducting Orchestra Wellington. His right hand has a baton in it while the other hand is outstretched. In the foreground, blurred music scores can be seen.

The Grand Gesture — 4 May

The first concert for the year reflects the music and art of the Baroque era. This period revelled in the creation of grand gestures with great impact. Bach’s ‘Concerto for Two Violins’ involves soloists Amalia Hall and Monique Lapins. You can also hear Stravinsky’s ‘Suite from Pulcinella’, and Handel’s ‘Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No 12’. The final work, ‘Baroque Variations’ by Lukas Foss, augments the orchestra with electric guitars, electric organs, breaking glass, and Morse code.

The Classical Style — 6 July

Reflecting the stylings of the classical era, this concert includes Prokofiev’s seminal Neoclassical masterpiece — the Classical Symphony, and Germaine Tailleferre’s Piano Concerto. The orchestra is then joined by the Orpheus Choir of Wellington for Beethoven’s magnificent ‘Symphony No. 9’. The mighty final movement uses a choir and four soloists (a daring addition to symphonic tradition at the time). The words from Schiller’s poem ‘Ode to Joy’ are used.

The Romantic Generation — 17 August

The impact of the Romantic Period still affects compositional and artistic practices today. This sumptuous programme features ‘The Fairy’s Kiss’, Stravinsky’s homage to Tchaikovsky, and Hindemith’s ‘Symphonic Metamorphosis’. Korngold’s luscious ‘Violin Concerto’ utilises the talents of Orchestra Wellington Concertmaster and NZTrio violinist Amalia Hall. Korngold spent time in Hollywood composing film scores and his violin concerto exhibits aspects of the romantic film tradition.

The Secret Society — 28 September

Les Apaches, ‘The Secret Society’ was a group of composers inspired by symbolism, Javanese music, Russian composers, poet Edgar Allan Poe, and artist Paul Cézanne. The group’s mentor, Debussy, features in this concert with his symphonic poem ‘Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun’. Other works by Boulanger and Schmitt are included, plus Ravel's famous ‘Piano Concerto for the Left Hand’. The soloist for this concerto, Jian Liu, is the Head of Piano Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

The Jazz Age — 9 November

George Gershwin’s beloved opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ is given a semi-staged performance in this thrilling concert. Considered one of the 20th century’s great operas, Gershwin blends jazz, gospel, spirituals, blues, and classical styles in a completely new way. Soloists include Deborah Wai Kapohe and brothers Eddie Muliaumaseali’i and Siliga Sani Muliaumaseali’i. They are joined by Wellington’s acclaimed Pasifika Signature Choir.

A Modern Hero — 7 December

In 1962 Benjamin Britten was asked to write music for the reopening of Coventry’s 14th century cathedral. The building had been bombed during WWII. His magnificent ‘War Requiem’ sets the traditional Latin text ‘Requiem Mass’ alongside war poetry by Wilfred Owen. This epic piece requires massive resources including a large orchestra, a separate chamber orchestra, two organs, three soloists, a main chorus, and a boys’ choir. The orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence, Eve de Castro-Robinson, also premieres a work in this concert.

The Orchestra Wellington performing at the Michael Fowler Centre to a full audience.