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“There are very few live music­al exper­i­ences like a full orches­tra,” says Adán E. Tijer­ina, gen­er­al man­ager of Orches­tra Wel­ling­ton, the longest-run­ning city-based orches­tra in New Zea­l­and. Sit­ting across from me at a soda bar near Cuba Street, Tijer­ina speaks pas­sion­ately about the power of orches­tral arrange­ments, and the rela­tion­ship between clas­sic­al and pop­u­lar music.

Appoin­ted to his post two years ago, in the inter­ven­ing time he’s over­seen our orchestra’s brand­ing shift from the Vec­tor Wel­ling­ton Orches­tra to Orches­tra Wel­ling­ton. He has also worked along­side the board and music­al director/composer Marc Tad­dei to push the organ­isa­tion into the future, while sim­ul­tan­eously remain­ing respect­ful towards the sense of tra­di­tion Orches­tra Wel­ling­ton has cul­tiv­ated over 62 seasons.

Dur­ing their 2014 sea­son, the orches­tra will con­tin­ue down this path. “The fea­tured cycle of the year is the inclu­sion of all of Joseph Haydn’s Par­is Sym­phon­ies,” Tijer­ina reveals, before enthus­ing about their import­ance to Tad­dei. Along­side this, he notes that Haydn’s sym­phon­ies will be jux­ta­posed with romantic song cycles by Mahler, Richard Wag­n­er and Moz­art, as well as an eclect­ic mix­ture of music from Stravinksy, Rim­sky-Kor­sakov and Orff. Also excit­ing is the world premiere of new work writ­ten espe­cially for Orches­tra Wel­ling­ton by com­poser-in-res­id­ence Dav­id Downes.

This year, Tijer­ina and Orches­tra Wel­ling­ton have worked hard to attract new ears to orches­tra events, whilst main­tain­ing the sens­ib­il­it­ies that attract their core audi­ence. Work­ing to a theme of invest­ig­at­ing how pop­u­lar music influ­enced and inspired clas­sic­al com­posers dur­ing the 20th cen­tury, they’ve hos­ted con­certs this year that have included a sax­o­phone quar­tet and jazz rhythm sec­tion solo with­in the orches­tra, as well as vocal appear­ances from world-renowned bass bari­tone Jonath­an Lemalu and much-loved folk-roots sing­er War­ren Max­well (of Trin­ity Roots and Little Bush­man). As part of this, the orches­tra matched works from the found­a­tion­al greats with recent pieces by New Zea­l­and com­posers such as John Psath­as, Juliet Palmer and Karlo Margetic.

As import­ant as it is to deliv­er this magic dur­ing their sea­son of per­form­ances, some­thing equally vital is the deliv­ery of orches­tral music into the com­munity at a grass­roots level. Thanks to some recent Wel­ling­ton Region­al Amen­it­ies Fund­ing, this work will con­tin­ue with loc­al people over the months to come. “That will go dir­ectly towards sup­port­ing the growth of our out­reach and com­munity devel­op­ment activ­ity,” explains Tijerina.

While this engage­ment includes some con­certs with broad fam­ily appeal, it also allows the orches­tra to con­tin­ue part­ner­ing with Aro­hanui Strings to pro­duce a school hol­i­day pro­gramme in the Taita/Pomare area of Lower Hutt. “We’ll poten­tially extend these activ­it­ies to oth­er areas, and also devel­op a dynam­ic small-ensemble pro­gramme that takes music to schools in the Wel­ling­ton region,” Tijer­ina says.

Through these pro­jects, the orches­tra is cre­at­ing oppor­tun­it­ies that allow chil­dren to hear, play and under­stand orches­tral music from a young age. In the pro­cess, Orches­tra Wel­ling­ton is build­ing fresh found­a­tions for the con­tin­ued appre­ci­ation, sup­port and love for the rich tra­di­tions of clas­sic­al music and the power of the orches­tral experience.


Orchestra Wellington
04 801 3882



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