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NZSM Orchestra: Debussy and Mahler


Wed 22 Aug 2012, 7:30pm–9:30pm

Where: Wellington Town Hall, 111 Wakefield St, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • A Reserve: adults: $39.00
  • A Reserve: seniors/students: $20.00
  • B Reserve: adults: $29.00
  • B Reserve: seniors/students: $15.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Debussy: Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D Major

NZSM Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Young, piano soloist: Jian Liu

'La Belle Epoque' and the birth of 20th century composition and symphonic form are celebrated in this concert on 22 August – Debussy's 150th birthday.

His 'Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune' (1894), inspired by Mallarme and the new music he experienced at the Paris Exposition of 1889, launched a new era in musical composition, breaking with the grand traditions of western classical music. Pierre Boulez pronounced 'L'apres Midi' as the beginning of ‘modern’ music and Ravel said that he would like to die listening to it as he thought
it ‘the most perfect music'.

Debussy’s 'Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra' (1890) was never performed in the composer’s lifetime. Here it will be performed for the first time in New Zealand by the NZSM Orchestra and NZSM Lecturer in Piano Jian Liu, a performer deservedly receiving high praise from reviewers following his recent tour for Chamber Music New Zealand.

At the same time as Debussy was writing these works Gustav Mahler was developing his symphonic interpretations of nature and folk song. His first Symphony began as a Symphonic Poem, but it clearly foreshadows the heroic scope of the later monumental works through which the composer forged a stunning epitaph to the Viennese symphonic canon.

Debussy and Mahler led the way for the huge change in musical aesthetics that was to come with the new century. German Romanticism had been founded upon the art song: Mahler countered this with that of the folk song and expanded the boundaries of 'serious' music forever.

The New Zealand School of Music Orchestra is conducted by Kenneth Young, who teaches conducting and composition at NZSM. Under his direction, the orchestra has gained a reputation for performing significant works from the symphonic repertoire at a very high standard – one reviewer praising the groups youthful energy and commitment, describing the performance as ‘a stunning achievement’.

Come and celebrate Debussy’s 150th with the NZSM Orchestra!

NZSM acknowledges funding support from the Wellington City Council through their Community Grants Scheme.

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