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NZSO National Youth Orchestra celebrates 60 years of music making

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The NZSO National Youth Orchestra celebrates its milestone 60th anniversary in July with special collaborative concerts with the New Zealand Youth Choir.

NYO Celebrates in Wellington and Auckland will feature mesmerising Australian mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby and the Orchestra conducted by acclaimed NZSO Music Director Emeritus James Judd.

The collaboration with the New Zealand Youth Choir also marks the choir’s 40th anniversary this year.

"It is a truly exciting honour to be conducting the NYO 60th Anniversary concert, all the more so since it combines with the celebration of the Youth Choir’s 40th" says Maestro Judd, NZSO Music Director from 1999 to 2007.

"I fondly remember my previous work with the NYO and look forward to once again having the experience of making music with such gifted and passionate young musicians. The quality of young instrumentalists and singers emerging from New Zealand is always impressive and on a par with the best around the world. "These concerts not only celebrate the great achievements of the past, but most importantly look forward to a future when these highly gifted young musicians will ensure the continuation of great music."

Many successful New Zealand musicians, including numerous NZSO players, began their careers in the National Youth Orchestra.

NYO Celebrates, in Association with the Adam Foundation, will open with the Orchestra and Choir performing the world premiere of light speckled droplet by NYO Composer-in-Residence Glen Downie. The Choir will then perform Robert Wiremu’s arrangement of Tuirina Wehi’s haunting waiata Waerenga-a-Hika, inspired by the siege of Waerenga-a-Hika pa near Gisborne in 1865.

The Orchestra will follow with The Oceanides, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ evocative tone poem inspired by the ancient water nymphs of Greek mythology.

Catherine Carby will join the National Youth Orchestra and Youth Choir for the finale - a rare performance of British composer Edward Elgar’s The Music Makers. "If you want to hear world class singing, that’s what you’ll get from mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby," wrote Britain’s The Independent.

The Music Makers, which premiered in 1912, takes its libretto from the 1874 poem Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. It was first performed in New Zealand 60 years ago and has only been performed a few times since. Before NYO Celebrates, Maestro Judd will talk about his exceptional career and passion for music as part of the NZSO’s 2019 In Conversation series.

In Conversation with James Judd will be held at Crowne Plaza, Auckland on 23 June. Hosted by NZSO Section Principal Trombonist David Bremner, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the world-class conductor, enjoy music by NZSO players, and a glass of Craggy Range wine.

Tickets to NYO Celebrates are only $10 and available at

Tickets to In Conversation with James Judd are $35 or $25 for a multi-ticket bundle. To book phone 0800 479 674 or email

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