HPO extends Gemma New’s contract to 2021
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has extended the contract of musical director and conductor Gemma New through the 2020/21 season.
The 30-year-old native of New Zealand originally signed a threeyear contract with the HPO in May of 2015 following an extensive international search to replace outgoing conductor James Sommerville.
After two seasons of strong audience approval, however, the HPO board of directors decided to renew her contract for a second term.
“Since joining us in spring of 2015, we have recognized Gemma’s vision in programming ambitious and rewarding works for the mainstage and contributing greatly to our outreach programs across the region,” HPO board chair Janice Locke said in a statement.
New made her mainstage debut as HPO musical director in February 2016, to rave reviews conducting Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1.
“It has been a true joy and inspiration to work with the musicians and staff of the HPO these past two seasons,” New said.
“This excellent orchestra is admirably central to Hamilton’s arts culture and community. I look forward to leading the HPO’s artistic vision for these future seasons.”
In addition to her role as Music Director of the HPO, New also holds the post of resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and keeps a busy guest conducting schedule across North America, as well as upcoming engagements in Europe.
At the time of her hiring, New was one of only three female directors of a major professional orchestra in Canada.
A violinist by training, New started conducting at age 15, and scored her first professional conducting job in Christchurch four years later.
She then went on to obtain a master’s degree in conducting at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory. In 2010, she founded the flexible, ninepiece new music collective, Lunar Ensemble, based in Baltimore.
She has guest conducted in the United States, Scotland, and in Canada with L’Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières. She was assistant conductor at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for two years before becoming associate conductor.
In 2012, she was awarded an Ansbacher Fellowship to spend up to four weeks at the Salzburg Festival to observe conductors in rehearsals and performances. In 2014, she was named a Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.