Gemma New Makes Houston Symphony Debut
Gemma New has studied under conductors whose names are familiar well beyond the cloistered halls of classical music: Dudamel, Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas. The 35-year-old New Zealand native, recently made her Houston Symphony debut, using that experience to make her own name one to watch in its next chapter, Chris Gray writes for the Houston Chronicle.
New is in her eighth season as music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Hamilton, Ontario, where she instituted the Intimate & Immersive series. Held at a repurposed cotton mill, these concerts let some of the air out of classical music’s stuffy image by creating an informal atmosphere that places the orchestra in the middle of the room; patrons are encouraged to sit wherever they like or move around if they so choose, Gray writes. To go along with an eclectic array of guest musicians – solo pianists to indie bands – visual artists create site-specific works during the orchestra’s performance.
“You come into this both sound world and visual world as you walk into this room, and we all enjoy it together in a very intimate and relaxed and enjoyable fashion,” New says. “And it’s really cool.”
Original article by Chris Gray, Houston Chronicle, November 9, 2022.
Photo by Lisbeth Powers.