Top con­duc­tor in Hamil­ton

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What does it take to win one of the most cov­eted podium po­si­tions in the world? In­tel­li­gence, co­or­di­na­tion, in­ter­pre­ta­tion, top com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and great sen­si­tiv­ity.

In fierce com­pe­ti­tion, UK-based New Zealand con­duc­tor Holly Mathieson ousted more than 300 ap­pli­cants world­wide in her re­cent ap­point­ment as the Royal Scot­tish Na­tional Orches­tra’s new as­sis­tant con­duc­tor. Ear­lier this year, Holly was also named by Zonta New Zealand as one of New Zealand’s Top 50 Women of Achieve­ment.

Holly is one of only a hand­ful of women in the world forg­ing a ca­reer as an or­ches­tral con­duc­tor. In the forth­com­ing sea­son she has guest en­gage­ments across New Zealand, the UK and Amer­ica, in­clud­ing a trial as mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Illi­nois Phil­har­monic.

A con­duc­tor’s job is com­plex and more than just wav­ing a ba­ton around in time. They in­ter­pret the story be­hind a piece of mu­sic, and then com­mu­ni­cate the thoughts and emo­tions to the au­di­ence through ex­pert guid­ance of ev­ery player in the orches­tra. Their ges­tures must be clear and match the char­ac­ter of the piece. Con­duc­tors di­rect tempo, rhythm, vol­ume, ar­tic­u­la­tion and mood, all while fol­low­ing the many in­stru­men­tal parts in the or­ches­tral score.

Holly will be con­duct­ing Mozart’s Sym­phony No. 25 in G mi­nor, a dra­matic work full of rhyth­mic ten­sion, and push­ing the bound­aries of “dark emo­tional re­straint” typ­i­cal of the clas­si­cal era.

Brahms’ Dou­ble Con­certo for vi­o­lin and cello in Ami­nor will bring two New Zealand soloists with flour­ish­ing ca­reers over­seas back to their home stage.

Amalia Hall is con­sid­ered one of New Zealand’s fore­most young vi­o­lin­ists, and is highly ac­claimed for her abil­ity to move au­di­ences. She has won a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, and while still in her teens won all of the ma­jor na­tional awards in New Zealand.

Since mak­ing her de­but at the age of nine with the Auck­land Phil­har­mo­nia, Amalia has been a reg­u­lar soloist with or­ches­tras in New Zealand, and more re­cently in Europe. Her ex­ten­sive per­form­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes recitals and cham­ber mu­sic through­out Europe, USA and NZ. Amalia takes in­spi­ra­tion from her trav­els, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the cul­tures of com­posers helps her to un­der­stand the emo­tions ex­pressed into their mu­sic.

Ber­lin-based Ed­ward King is a grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of Waikato, the Leopold Mozart Cen­ter (Augs­burg), and the Univer­sity of the Arts in Ber­lin.

A re­cip­i­ent of many awards and schol­ar­ships, Ed­ward is a Lau­re­ate of the Wi­told Lu­toslawski In­ter­na­tional Cello Com­pe­ti­tion. In 2017, he will take up a po­si­tion as as­so­ci­ate prin­ci­pal cel­list in the Syd­ney Sym­phony Orches­tra. Re­leas­ing the An­gel, amov­ing work by New Zealand com­poser Eve de Cas­tro-Robin­son, will fea­ture Ed­ward again as soloist.

Con­nec­tions will pro­vide au­di­ences a rare chance to see three out­stand­ing New Zealand mu­si­cians on the same stage. The Hamil­ton per­for­mance is Fri­day, Septem­ber 16 at 8 pm, at the Gal­lagher Academy of Per­form­ing Arts.

Photo / Cathy Pyle.

Holly Mathieson.

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