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Top NZSO spot for McKeich

Last in Gisborne in 2018 to conduct the world premiere of Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead’s orchestral soundscape, Turanga-nui, Hamish McKeich will take up a new role next year with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

As newly appointed principal conductor in residence he will work with the NZSO to reach more communities around the country to present classical works in concert halls and non-traditional venues. Programmes will include music by contemporary and New Zealand composers.

Maestro McKeich has had a partnership with the orchestra for 20 years and has served as NZSO associate conductor since 2002.

McKeich has conducted works by classical giants Brahms, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev and, with the NZSO last year, collaborated with The Phoenix Foundation.

His NZSO soundtrack performances in screenings of cinema classics, including Star Wars: A New Hope, and The Empire Strikes Back also introduced many people to the orchestra.

Over the past two years the NZSO’s innovative Shed Series, under the direction of McKeich, has redefined how the orchestra can present works and interact with audiences beyond the concert hall. He will continue the Shed Series in 2020.

“It’s truly an honour to be able to cement my relationship further with the NZSO,” says McKeich.

“For 15 or so years we have given many wonderful performances and looked to extend the various ways orchestral music is presented to the New Zealand public. I look forward to continuing the high level performances and future innovative projects.”

McKeich has forged a diverse international conducting career alongside a passion for developing the repertoire of contemporary and experimental music. Working regularly in Europe, and with major orchestras in New Zealand and Australia, he has given over 100 world premieres of new works and is chief conductor, founder and co-director of New Zealand contemporary ensemble Stroma as well as principal conductor of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

McKeich started his career as bassoonist and at 19 years old was associate principal bassoonist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In 2012 he was awarded a Douglas Lilburn Trust citation for services to New Zealand music.

UPBEAT: Appointed NZSO principal conductor in residence from next year, maestro Hamish McKeich is honoured to further cement his relationship with the orchestra, he says. Picture by Stephen A’Court