Conductor Gemma New Makes Music Holistic
The newest classical music rising star, New Zealander Gemma New’s reputation continues to ascend internationally. New takes up the resident conductor role at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) on 6 September.
New’s duties include assisting SLSO music director David Robertson and covering concerts. She’s the music director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and the conductor for a variety of education, family and community concerts.
She’s had a busy Northern Hemisphere summer. It included leading statewide parks concerts with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, covering concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and working with violinist Augustin Hadelich at Maine’s Bowdoin Music Festival, as well as a week in Switzerland.
Her audition for the job, she says, consisted of an interview and working with both the Youth Orchestra and the SLSO, “and just seeing if things clicked.” They did.
Her first concert in St. Louis is a run-out to Rolla, Mo., where she’ll lead the SLSO in Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture, Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish.” “That’s a really great way to start with the orchestra,” New says. “It’s glorious music, really strong orchestral repertoire.”
New says she’s excited about working with the young musicians of the Youth Orchestra. Her programmes will mix standard repertoire from different periods with contemporary works.
“One of the great things about the Youth Orchestra is that it’s not just ‘come in and play, and leave at end of rehearsal.’ We want them to understand music from a composer’s aspect, or a soloist’s. We try to make it a holistic experience.”
New, 29, graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Music (Honors) in violin performance. She also holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore.
Original article by Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 25, 2016.
Photo by Peter Power.