Auckland Chamber Orchestra

ACO 2019 Series

February 10

Pearls of Russian and Tatar Music

Pearls of Russian and Tatar Music

Welcome to our first concert of 2019!

A Concert of Orchestral New Music from Russia and Tatarstan.

The ‘Pearls of Russian and Tatar Music’ concert event will feature music for piano and strings by Rashid Kalimullin, Elena Anisimova, Elmir Nizamov, Anatoly Luppov, Leonid Lyubovsky, Julia Beck, and Ilgam Baytiryak.  It will also include Australian works by Andrián Pertout, Michael Kieran Harvey, and Natalya Vagner.  The New Zealand edition of ‘Pearls of Russian and Tatar Music’ is curated by Andrián Pertout, and sponsored and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan, and Union of Composers of the Republic of Tatarstan (Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia). 

Featuring the Auckland Chamber Orchestra & Australian Pianist Michael Kieran Harvey Conducted by Peter Scholes

SUNDAY February 10 @ 7pm

Raye Freedman Arts Centre
corner of Gillies Ave and Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland, NZ]

Easy and free parking! Great sight lines - intimate venue.

Peter Scholes conductor

Soloist - Michael Kieran Harvey piano

  • Rashid Kalimullin "Symphony No. 4" for string orchestra,
  • Rashid Kalimullin Cities of the World" for pianoforte
  • Elena Anisimova "Spring Dance for string orchestra"
  • Elmir Nizamov "At the Wailing Wall" for string orchestra
  • Andrián Pertout "Navigating the Labyrinth" for string orchestra
  • Anatoly Luppov "Two Preludes" for string orchestra
  • Leonid Lyubovsky "Litany" for string orchestra
  • Michael Kieran Harvey "Module Fugue" for pianoforte
  • Julia Beck "Continuum" for pianoforte and string orchestra
  • Ilgam Baytiryak "Ethnic Diptych" for string orchestra
  • Natalya Vagner "Curlews in the Night" for string orchestra



Michael Kieran Harvey is one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary piano music of his generation.  A champion of Australian music and himself a composer, he regularly commissions new Australian music and has performed with Australia’s leading contemporary music ensembles and orchestras.  As a pianist Harvey’s awards include the Grand Prix in the Ivo Pogorelich Competition, USA (1993 – the world’s richest at the time), the Debussy Medal, Paris (1986), the Australian government’s Centenary Medal (2002) and the 2009 APRA award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music.




ACO 2019 Series

April 14

Davies, Ginastera and Mendelssohn

Davies, Ginastera and Mendelssohn

Welcome to our second concert of 2019!

A concert of orchestral music spanning 3 centuries

The ACO performs three works: from the 19thC is Mendelssohn's "Italian Symphony", from the 20thC is Ginastera's "Variaciones Concertantes" and from the 21stC is "Dune of Footprints" by Tansy Davies.

"Tansy Davies writes music that is sleek, hot, earthy, physical. Her instruments glint and sigh and thrust. Her textures are lean and gleaming. Her rhythms are all punch and sinew. As a composer she is immensely herself: a woman of fearsome drive and rigour and self-knowledge, a woman who connects with body, spirituality and political convictions – and who conveys all that without without filter or apology. That’s what makes her music so immediately and intoxicatingly her own. To hear it is beguiling, bracing, provocative, a rush of blood to the head, a soft breath to the skin, a reboot to the system." Kate Molleson 2018

Beguiling and richly sonorous, "Dune of Footprints" is inspired by the ancient underground river beds that cave-dwellers used as pathways. The work unfolds meditatively with quivering tremolos and darkly lustrous harmonies.

Ginastera says of his work, "These variations have a subjective Argentine character. Instead of using folkloristic material, I try to achieve an Argentine atmosphere through the employment of my own thematic and rhythmic elements. The work begins with an original theme followed by eleven variations, each one reflecting the distinctive character of the instrument featured. All the instruments of the orchestra are treated soloistically. Some variations belong to the decorative, ornamental or elaborative type, others are written in the contemporary manner of metamorphosis, which consists of taking elements of the main theme and evolving from it new material."

Mendelssohn composed five symphonies. He said of his 4th, known as "Italian", "... it is becoming the merriest piece I have yet composed."

Featuring the Auckland Chamber Orchestra conducted by Peter Scholes

SUNDAY April 14 @ 5pm

Raye Freedman Arts Centre
corner of Gillies Ave and Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland, NZ]

Easy and free parking! Great sight lines - intimate venue.

Peter Scholes conductor

Soloists - principal players of the ACO

  • Tansy Davies Dune of Footprints
  • Alberto Ginastera Variaciones Concertantes for Chamber Orchestra
  • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Symphony No. 4 (Italian), Op.90


ACO 2019 Series

June 23

David Hamilton - composer portrait

David Hamilton - composer portrait - "Not just a choral composer!"

Welcome to the music of David Hamilton. He's one of New Zealand's musical treasures with music which inspires with its imagination and clarity.

This is a concert of chamber music, songs and orchestral music by Auckland composer David Hamilton.

The ACO composer portrait concerts are a precious beacon of activity in the New Zealand music environment. The concerts are an exploration of the variety of exprression that each composer has achieved in their work.

"Auckland Chamber Orchestra's Composer Portraits have always been major testaments of cultural faith. National in significance, they present the men and women who catch the heart and spirit of our country in their music." William Dart. NZ Herald

“Hamilton piece a triumph of innovation and vibrancy… A more welcoming score you could not imagine…it was the sheer inventiveness of the composer that made the work so vibrant. This was a solid and exciting piece, written with a balance of expertise and sensitivity that should ensure it is picked up by other enterprising choral groups.”
     William Dart (reviewing the premiere of “Missa Pacifica” NZ Herald 9/11/05)

"...David Hamilton's newly commissioned "Karakia of the Stars". With a choral wash of sound that evoked an image of Ligeti on the marae, the composer combined (Horomona Horo's) eloquent koauau solo, the insistent tapping of small stones, small hand-held bells chimed by the singers and fervent vocal solos....It was an effective cultural synthesis..."
William Dart reviewing the concert by Voices New Zealand (November 2011)

Featuring the Auckland Chamber Orchestra conducted by Peter Scholes with Bede Hanley (oboe soloist), Jenni Mori (flute soloist), Helen Acheson (soprano) and Sarah Watkins (piano).

SUNDAY June 23 @ 5pm

Raye Freedman Arts Centre
corner of Gillies Ave and Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland, NZ]

Easy and free parking! Great sight lines - intimate venue.

Peter Scholes conductor

Soloists - Bede Hanley oboe, Jenni Mori flute, Helen Acheson soprano, Sarah Watkins piano.

  • Nix Olympica (oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano)
  • A Small Garden of Songs (1 & 5) (soprano, violin and harp or piano)
  • Canticle (soprano, oboe, piano)
  • Hurdy Gurdy (flute, clarinet, violin and piano)
  • Concertino for Oboe and Strings
  • Hine Raukatauri (flute solo and orchestra)
  • The Ghosts of Wreck Bay (solo violins, cello and strings)
  • The Kingston Flyer (piano and strings)



ACO 2019 Series

August 11

Annea Lockwood - composer portrait

Annea Lockwood - composer portrait

Celebrating the rich legacy being left by our composers the ACO presents three composer portrait concerts from three generations. 

Next up (coming very soon!) is the music of Annea Lockwood.
                                                                                 (photo by Nicola Tavenner)


SUNDAY August 11 @ 5pm

Raye Freedman Arts Centre
corner of Gillies Ave and Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland, NZ]

Easy and free parking! Great sight lines - intimate venue.

Peter Scholes conductor
Te Oti Rakena baritone
Claire Scholes mezzo soprano
Luca Manghi flute
Josh Rogan trumpet
Lanchtchikova piano
Rebecca Celebuski percussion
Mary Wilson viola
Katherine Uren cello

  • Immersion (marimba, singing bowl and tam tams)
  • I Give You Back (mezzo soprano)
  • Bayou-borne (for six players)
  • In Our Name (baritone and cello with 4 channel sound)
  • Luminescence (baritone and ensemble)

Annea Lockwood

Born in New Zealand in 1939, Annea Lockwood moved to England in 1961, studying composition at the Royal College of Music, London, attending summer courses at Darmstadt and completing her studies in Cologne and Holland, taking courses in electronic music with Gottfried Michael Koenig. In 1973 feeling a strong connection to such American composers as Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, the Sonic Arts Union (Ashley, Behrman, Mumma, Lucier), and invited by composer Ruth Anderson to teach at Hunter College, CUNY, she moved again to the US and settled in Crompond, NY. She is an Emerita Professor at Vassar College.

During the 1960s she collaborated with sound poets, choreographers and visual artists, and also created a number of works such as the Glass Concerts which initiated her lifelong fascination with timbre and new sound sources. In synchronous homage to Christian Barnard’s pioneering heart transplants, Lockwood began a series of Piano Transplants (1969-82) in which defunct pianos were burned, drowned, beached, and planted in an English garden.

During the 1970s and ’80s she turned her attention to performance works focused on environmental sounds and life-narratives, often using low-tech devices such as her Sound Ball, containing six small speakers and a receiver, designed by Robert Bielecki for Three Short Stories and an Apotheosis, in which the ball is rolled, swung on a long cord and passed around the audience. World Rhythms, A Sound Map of the Hudson River, Delta Run, built around a conversation she recorded with the sculptor, Walter Wincha, who was close to death, and other works were widely presented in the US, Europe and in New Zealand.

Since the early 1990s, she has written for a number of ensembles and solo performers, often incorporating electronics and visual elements. Thousand Year Dreaming is scored for four didgeridus, conch shell trumpets and other instruments and incorporates slides of the cave paintings at Lascaux. Duende, a collaboration with baritone Thomas Buckner, carries the singer into a heightened state, similar to a shamanic journey, through the medium of his own voice. Ceci n’est pas un piano for piano, video and electronics merges images from the Piano Transplants with Jennifer Hymer’s musings on her hands and pianos she has owned, her voice being sent through, and colored by the piano strings.

Other recent work includes Vortex commissioned by Bang on a Can for the All-Stars; a surround-sound installation, A Sound Map of the Danube; Luminescence, settings of texts by Etel Adnan for Thomas Buckner and the SEM Ensemble; Gone! in which a little piano-shaped music box, attached to 20 helium balloons, is released from a concert grand and floats off over the audience playing, in one case, Memories. Jitterbug, commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for the dance eyeSpace, incorporates Lockwood’s recordings of aquatic insects, and two improvising musicians working from photographs of rock surfaces. Poems by three of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are the focus of In Our Name, a collaboration with Thomas Buckner for baritone voice, cello and ‘tape’.

Much of her music has been recorded, on the Lovely, XI, Mutable, Pogus, EM Records (Japan), Rattle Records, Soundz Fine (NZ), Harmonia Mundi and Ambitus labels. She is a recipient of the 2007 Henry Cowell Award.



ACO 2019 Series

September 8

Matthias Balzat performs "Zhong" by Xu Tang

Matthias Balzat performs "Zhong" by Xu Tang

We are giving the world premiere of the cello concerto by Xu Tang. This has been commisioned for Matthias Balzat by The Wallace Foundation for performance by the ACO.

Matthias Balzat is a New Zealand born cellist and is currently 19 years old. He began playing the cello at the age of 3, and has completed his Bachelor of Music with Honours at the University of Waikato studying under James Tennant. He is currently doing his masters degree at the Robert Schumann Hochschule für Musik in Düsseldorf, Germany under Professor Pieter Wispelweij.

SUNDAY September 8 @ 5pm

Raye Freedman Arts Centre
corner of Gillies Ave and Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland, NZ]

Easy and free parking! Great sight lines - intimate venue.

Matthias Balzat cello
Peter Scholes conductor/clarinet

  • Peter Scholes   "Shifting Sands "
    (solo clarinet and strings)
  • Xu Tang  "Zhong (中)"
    (solo cello and orchestra)
  • Francis Poulenc "Sinfonietta"
    (chamber orchestra)


Xu Tang

"Not Western, not Eastern, then, what is it? It is me, who was born and raised in China and have been living in New Zealand for the last ten years.
Zhong (中), means literally centre, middle.
We are living in a world where the 'convergent' and 'divergent' coexist. Different cultural traditions and ideas have been exchanged and integrated through processes of "convergence" and then made pluralistic through processes of "divergence". Every culture has its own idiosyncrasies, which makes the world rich and colourful."   Xu Tang

This work was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation and soloist Matthias Balzat.

Xu Tang, composer, born in Beijing China, where he received his early education. He moved to New Zealand in 2009. As a composer, he has received commissions from leading musicians and foundation. His works have been presented by a wide range of artists in UK, USA, China, New Zealand, Japan, Belgium. Xu is a prize winner in numerous composition competitions in Russia, UK, USA, New Zealand, Belgium. His work for solo piano is featured in a new CD, produced and released worldwide through RMN Music Record Label of London.


Francis Poulenc

Poulenc is the master of the intriguing juxtapostion of jolity and melancholy. At times he is jazzy and playful and almost cartoonish with cheeky phrases and ctachy rhythms. Then the lyricism takes centre stage with gorgeous melodies and harmonic subtleties. Ravel is said to have admitted to Poulenc that he envied his ability to “write his own folksongs.

If you were at the Town Hall last night when the APO played his Organ Concerto you will certainly want to hear his "Sinfonietta".

The ACO has performed much of his chamber music and also staged his "La voix humaine" opera (for 1 singer).


Peter Scholes

The concert begins with "Shifting Sands", a composition by the ACO's musical director Peter Scholes. His principal instrument is the clarinet and this piece features the clarinet in an improvisatory role with string orchestra.



ACO 2019 Series

October 20

Juliet Palmer - composer portrait

Juliet Palmer - composer portrait

Welcome to the music of JULIET PALMER

New Zealand-Canadian composer Juliet Palmer is known as a “post-modernist with a conscience” (The Listener) whose work “crosses so many genres as to be in a category of its own” (Toronto Star). Juliet is the artistic director of Urbanvessel, a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration. Recent works: Oil & Water, Detroit Symphony Orchestra (June 2019); rivers, solo CD release (Barnyard Records, 2018); Inside Us, audio-video installation and performance (Western Front, Vancouver); burl for pianist Stephen De Pledge (NZ Festival); The Man Who Married Himself, librettist Anna Chatterton & choreographer Hari Krishnan (Toronto Masque Theatre); Vermillion Songs, tenor Simon O’Neill & NZTrio; and Sweat, a cappella opera, writer Anna Chatterton (CalArts, Los Angeles; Bicycle Opera tour; National Sawdust, New York). Her 2010 boxing opera Voice-Box was acclaimed as a “performance piece that smashes the boundaries between disciplines and leaves them sprawled out on the mat, down for the count” (Musicworks).

"‘drift, drop offered another kind of memory device, poring over elements of a folk melody that appeared in the opening minutes as an imperfect but meaningful recollection. The anxious music that followed, in bursts of percussion and scale-wise canons of instruments crawling chromatically over each other’s backs, seemed to me an interrogation of what exactly was being remembered. Was it a tune merely, or the vanished cultural assumptions that had produced it? Trills of ambiguous function hung from the melodic line, like vestigial organs. The scampering of instruments (piano, flute and two ensembles) sometimes suggested a frantic, coital attempt to reach the unreachable.’— Robert Everett-Green The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada, 2006."

Upcoming: Every Word Was Once An Animal with artist Carla Bengtson, biologist Emilia Martins, choreographer Darion Smith and video artist Jessie Rose Vala, Eugene, Oregon (August, 2019); Ukiyo, floating world, Urbanvessel and Toronto’s Thin Edge New Music Collective, ONGAKU Festival (September, 2019); small excesses, pianist Sarah Watkins and violinist Andrew Beer (Atoll CD release); Cutwork, Auckland Chamber Orchestra (October, 2019); Choreography of Trauma, Continuum and The Element Choir (February, 2020); and a commissioned work for Canada’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra with New Zealand conductor Gemma New (March, 2020).

Juliet was the 2011/12 Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards composer-in-residence at the New Zealand School of Music and the 2012 composer-in-residence of Orchestra Wellington. She was an Artist-in-Residence at Sunnybrook Research Institute in 2018 funded by the Ontario Arts Council. She is the winner of the Detroit Symphony’s Elaine Lebenbom Award and the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship 2018-19.

Juliet holds a PhD in composition from Princeton University and an M.Mus in performance, composition and time-based art from Auckland University.

SUNDAY October 20  @ 5pm

Raye Freedman Arts Centre
corner of Gillies Ave and Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland, NZ]

Easy and free parking! Great sight lines - intimate venue.

Peter Scholes conductor
Tatiana Lanchtchikova accordion
Ben Hoadley bassoon
Evgeny Lanchtchikov double bass
Donald Nicholls clarinet
Luca Manghi flute
Jennifer Mori flute
Paul McIver guitar
Carl Wells horn
Martin Lee oboe
Jennifer Raven percussion
Rachel Thomas percussion
Blas Gonzalez piano
Barbara Paterson soprano
Grant Sinclair trombone
Stephen Bemelman trumpet
James Yoo cello
Helen Bevin viola
Miranda Adams violin


  • American Woman

for soprano, alto flute, bass clarinet, percussion, keyboard, violin & double bass.

In 1970, at the height of the Vietnam War, Canadian band the Guess Who released the song “American Woman”. The album of the same name became their first U.S. Top Ten hit and first gold album. The group performed for President and Mrs. Nixon and Prince Charles at the White House. (Pat Nixon requested that “American Woman” be dropped from the set list.)
In recomposing “American Woman” I was thinking of two wars: the Iraq war and the strange war against the body waged by the American beauty industry. The war in Iraq costs over $2 billion per week while Americans spend more than $15 billion per year on cosmetic surgery. In 2004 nearly 12 million surgical and non- surgical beauty procedures were performed in the U.S., including more than 290,000 eyelid jobs, 166,000 nose jobs, 478,000 liposuctions and 334,000 breast enhancements. In The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, Susie Orbach and Nancy Etcoff found that only two percent of women feel comfortable describing themselves as beautiful.

  • bone-flower

soprano, bass clarinet, viola, accordion and percussion

“The systems they learn are nothing but skeletons to them…”
—John Ruskin, Arrows of the Chace (1880)

bone-flower takes its name from a dialect word for daisy, a humble bright flower growing on the bones of the dead.

  • Bout

​bcl/bsax, egtr, pf, perc, vn, db

Bout is inspired by the sport of women’s boxing. In an interview with Canadian boxing pioneer Savoy “Kapow” Howe, I was struck by her detailed demonstration of the inner monologue of a fighter. Melodic and rhythmic material from her words insinuate themselves into the piece, along with referee’s whistles, counts and bells, training routines and the dogged persistence of the fighter.

  • drift, drop

​fl, cl, ob, bsn, tpt, trb, 2 perc, pno, vc + db

drift, drop grew out of the folksong Down by Sally’s Garden as sung by Leo Spenser in Lakefield, Ontario in 1957. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Lakefield, and I certainly wasn’t there in 1957, but I have a small disintegrating volume of Canadian folksongs on the top of my piano. A lot of rambling and roving takes place in this song, and I kept finding myself singing it as I rode my bike through Toronto’s laneways. This song, which long ago drifted over from Ireland, guided me through the labyrinth of composing.

Drift — to float along, to deviate; something driven.
Drop — to fall, to collapse; a precipitous shift.

  • Foundry

​afl/fl/picc, cl/bcl, hn, tbn, pf/cel, vn + vc

With the help of neighbours and a precarious arrangement of plywood and castors, we hauled an old cast iron bath tub from the back garden to the curb. Within hours it had vanished. Scooped up by scrap metal scavengers the tub was on its way to a new life as…girder, park bench, pipe, rebar, nail, hammer…who knows.

This piece is a musical foundry. My focus is on metal: sawn, hammered, melted, poured, moulded, cast, polished… The melodic material is based on pitch analyses of the sounds of drilling, hammering and sawing. I want to melt the material down to a metallic gleam.

  • Cutwork

for chamber orchestra

​Cutwork takes its inspiration from textile decoration: material is cut away and the edges of the hole are repaired to prevent fraying and unravelling. Further stitching embellishes the fabric, reworking and refilling around the material that has been removed. The technique suggests musical analogies as well as a vision for ecological recovery. Responding to either wilful or accidental damage takes creativity and care.

I’m drawn to the image of cutwork as a way to find novel approaches to form, ornamentation and silence. What is the material that exists before we begin to cut? What do we see or hear through the gap? Drawing with scissors, we make a pattern: stitching mends the rupture and celebrates what’s missing.
Cutwork was commissioned by Peter Scholes and the Auckland Chamber Orchestra and generously funded by Creative New Zealand.



ACO 2019 Series

November 24

ACO - 21 years - Celebrate with Mozart, Schubert, Dohnanyi and others

ACO - 21 years - Celebrate with Mozart, Schubert, Dohnanyi and others

Welcome to the final ACO concert for 2019


SUNDAY November 24 @ 5pm


Raye Freedman Arts Centre
[corner of Gillies Ave and Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland, NZ]

Easy and free parking! Great sight lines - intimate venue.

Peter Scholes clarinet
Donald Nicholls clarinet
Chris O'Conner percussion
Rosemary Barnes piano
James Yoo cello
Robert Ashworth viola
Miranda Adams violin


with special guests...

Te Ahi Kaa Quartet

In what's believed to be a first, a Maori quartet took out the 2018 prestigious secondary school chamber music contest, and the four Whangārei teens are still buzzing.

The Te Ahi Kaa Quartet is a group of four highly talented teenagers, all based in Whangarei. Three of the group are siblings: Maia-Dean and Atawhai Martin play violin and Purotu Martin plays cello. The fourth member, Isaiah Kaiawe, plays viola. Last year, while all four were still at secondary school, the quartet won the National Finals of the NZCT Chamber Music Competition, competing against many other supremely young players from throughout New Zealand. Since then, Maia-Dean has been accepted into the music performance course at Waikato University, where she is studying for a Bachelor of Music. This year, Atawhai and Purotu played in a piano trio which also reached the NZCT Chamber Music Competition finals, and took out the prize for the best performance of a New Zealand composition.


  • Franz Schubert

String Quartet: Death and The Maiden 

1st movement

Featuring Te Ahi Kaa


  • Peter Schickele

Quartet for clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Donald Nicholls clarinet, Rosemary Barnes piano, Miranda Adams violin, James Yoo cello


  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Duo for Violin and Viola in G major, K423

Miranda Adams violin, Robert Ashworth viola


  • Paul Hindemith

Viola Sonata, Op.25 No.1

Robert Ashworth viola


  • Chris O'Conner

works for percussion solo





ACO 2018 Series Updating soon!



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[in case you missed it, click here for the review of August's DREAM FRAGMENTS - music by John Elmsly]

[in case you missed it, click here for the review of July's THE FRIVOLOUS CAKE - music by Helen Bowater]



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Schubert "Death and the Maiden"
Rautavaara "Divertimento"
Richard Strauss "Metamorphosen"
Edvard Grieg "Elegiac Melodies"


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