INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZSO Principal Conductor Recognised In King’s Birthday Honours

Published: Mon 3 Jun 2024 08:28 AM
Gemma New- Credit: Roy Cox
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra congratulates Gemma New on being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music direction in the King’s Birthday Honours announced today.
New has been the NZSO’s Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor since 2022 and will next conduct the NZSO in September.
She learned of the honour while conducting in Europe, which includes three concerts with the BBC Philharmonic this week.
“I feel deeply grateful and honoured to be appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Moreover, I am thrilled we are recognising the vibrant role of orchestral music in New Zealand, especially the powerful performances by our incredible NZSO musicians,” says New, who grew up in Wellington.
“I wouldn’t be able to share my passion for music now, if I hadn’t experienced my first Mahler in the NZSO National Youth Orchestra or been inspired by the performances of many exceptional colleagues and peers while growing up here in New Zealand. It gives me great joy to bring support to the new generations of musicians and music lovers, and to see our classical music community blossom and thrive.”
Among her international positions, New was Music Director of Canada’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for nine seasons until last month. In 2021 she was profiled in The New York Times as part of new generation of conductors making waves in North America.
Following the BBC Philharmonic, she has concerts in Germany and the United States before her engagement at the prestigious BBC Proms in London in August.
New is also a champion of Kiwi composers and several of her concerts overseas and in New Zealand have included New Zealand works.
Her next concert with the NZSO is Jupiter: Mozart & Copland in Wellington, Hastings, Auckland and Christchurch from 19 September.
NZSO Acting Chief Executive Kirsten Mason says New’s King’s Birthday honour will be celebrated by every member of the Orchestra and the whole music community.
“Gemma is a wonderfully talented and deeply knowledgeable conductor who is passionate about orchestral music and an exemplary champion of our living composers. Each concert that she conducts draws in new audience members to the NZSO and deepens the relationship with our existing audiences. This honour will be a cause for celebration by all musicians and an inspiration to young New Zealanders who dream about becoming a conductor.
“The honour is timely as Gemma’s international reputation continues to grow. Gemma is sought-after by prestigious orchestras around the world and each year she breaks new ground for a New Zealand conductor. She is a star both here and on the world stage. We are looking forward to celebrating this fantastic achievement with Gemma when she returns to conduct us in September.”

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