New Zealand Chamber Orchestra
Since the mid-20th century, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has generally been considered the finest full-scale symphony orchestra from New Zealand. Holding the status as the national orchestra of New Zealand, it is government-funded and thus less constrained by commercial factors that hamper independent ensembles. The NZSO consists of about 90 players and performs its 100-plus yearly concerts throughout New Zealand, with a larger portion of its programs presented in the cities of Wellington, where it is based, and Auckland. Its Wellington concerts are presented in two locations, Wellington Town Hall and the Michael Fowler Centre. The NZSO travels to as many as 30 New Zealand cities in a typical concert season and occasionally goes on tour overseas. It has made numerous recordings over the years, but has only recently become a familiar name to record buyers in Europe and the Americas. The group has recorded for several labels, including BMG, Koch International, Sony Classical, and Naxos. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, known as the National Orchestra until 1975, was founded in 1946, but did not give its inaugural concert until March 6 of the following year. From 1946 to 1989 it functioned under the aegis of the New Zealand Broadcasting Service, but since the latter year has been independent of that broadcast network, serving under a government-appointed board of directors instead. The orchestra functioned for most of its existence without an official music director. In 1999 that practice ended when English conductor James Judd was named the NZSO's first music director. Previous conductors were called resident conductors and included James Robertson (1954-1977), John Hopkins (1957-1963), Juan Matteucci (1964-1999), and Brian Priestman (1973-1975). Priestman's tenure was notable for its inaugural foreign tour, which involved a series of concerts in Australia. Upon his departure, the National Orchestra took its current name and until 1999 used only principal conductors and guest conductors. Judd served as music director until 2007. During his eight years on the podium many prominent soloists appeared with the NZSO, including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Lang Lang, and Hilary Hahn. Finland native Pietari Inkinen was named Judd's successor, effective January 2008. Important recordings by the NZSO for Naxos include the 2002 CD of Symphonies No. 1-3 by New Zealander Douglas Lilburn, the 2005 DVD of orchestral works by Vaughan Williams, both led by James Judd, and the 2011 album, The Emperor and the Nightingale, by New Zealander Jenny McLeod, led by Uwe Grodd.
6 albums sorted by Most acclaimed
Narrow my search
Classical - Released July 1, 2005 | Naxos
Whether he had to leave Germany because of a fatal duel, whether he had to leave Italy because he married his teacher's daughter, whether he settled in France because he wanted to protect his publishing rights, whether any of the many rumors about Franz Ignaz Beck (1734-1809) are true or false, it is good to have his set of Six Symphonies, Op. 1, available on disc. Composed sometime in the 1750s and published in 1758, Beck's three-movement symphonies are strongly imagined and successfully realized essays in a form that had only just come into musical existence. As these recordings by the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra under Donald Armstrong demonstrate, Beck had a gift for catchy Italian melody, a knack for snappy French rhythms, and the skill to embody them in well-shaped German structures. The New Zealand strings play Beck's music with affectionate attention and Armstrong molds their performances with insightful intelligence. While Beck's Op. 1 will not displace Haydn's early symphonies in the hearts of music lovers, they will find a home in the collections of those who have a soft spot for the early classical symphony. Naxos' sound is remarkably rich and warm. © TiVo
Classical - Released March 13, 1995 | Naxos