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Young musicians to work with two giants of British music

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The NZSO National Youth Orchestra will perform with two of the biggest names in British music this week.

Sir James MacMillan, one of Britain’s greatest living composers and conductors, will be joined by virtuoso Scottish percussionist Colin Currie for the NZSO National Youth Orchestra’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra concerts in Wellington on 14 July and Auckland on 15 July.

Sir James will conduct one of his best-known works, the percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel and Benjamin Britten’s beloved Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Sir James has previously conducted the NZSO, but this is the first time he will conduct the National Youth Orchestra. "I have always enjoyed working with young musicians, and have written for them over the years in various ways. I'm always keen to find out what new music is like in the various countries I visit. I especially enjoy performing new work by my younger colleagues," he says.

The concerts will also include the world premieres of works by young New Zealand composers Celeste Oram and Wellington-based Reuben Jelleyman, both National Youth Orchestra Composers-in-Residence. Jelleyman’s Vespro was inspired by listening late at night to Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi’s 400-year-old Vespro della Beata Vergine.

Oram describes her composition The Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra as "a love letter to radio in New Zealand".

The NZSO National Youth Orchestra, founded in 1959, has played a vital role in nurturing and offering unique opportunities to young musicians and composers. Many have gone on to forge careers in music. About half of the NZSO’s current players are former members of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.

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