Parliamentary Millennium Concerts Celebrating Nz

  • Marie Hasler
Cultural Affairs

Contemporary New Zealand music will be celebrated in the first of three millennium Telecom concerts being hosted by Cultural Affairs Minister, Hon Marie Hasler, at Parliament tomorrow evening at 6.30pm.

"As we look forward to the new millennium we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our own unique New Zealand culture and through our performing arts," Ms Hasler said.

"These Parliamentary millennium concerts are being held in recognition of our own fine artists and also to give MPs the opportunity to share and appreciate New Zealand's distinctive voice.

"Often MPs are too busy getting on with their work and don't have the time to acknowledge our culture. Parliamentary concerts are an excellent way of bringing the arts to them."

"Tomorrow's concert, and two others planned for later in the year, have been sponsored by Telecom, a company known and recognised for its support of the arts.

"Patronage of the arts continues to be a valuable way of ensuring more of our artists have the opportunity to develop their talent and share this with other New Zealanders."

Ms Hasler said Telecom sponsorships include the NZSO, this year's contemporary dance Jerusalem a work by choreographer Michael Parmenter and composer David Downes, the Aotearoa Maori Performing Arts Festival, the NewZealand International Festival of the Arts, the Christchurch Arts Festival, Circa Theatre and the New Zealand Ballet.

Tomorrow's concert features players from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and the National Youth Choir.

Mr Kenneth Young, principal tuba player with the NZSO will conduct the concert. Mr Young made his British conducting debut in 1998 when he conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a concert of New Zealand music. He is also established as one of this country's most successful composers.

The concert will feature Sinfonietta, a work by Auckland-born composer Edwin Carr who will personally attend the concert. Born in 1926 Mr Carr has frequently been described as a controversial figure in New Zealand music. Mr Carr, known for his melodically centred style, composed Sinfonietta in 1978 at the request of Juan Matteucci, then conductor of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Suite for String Orchestra by composer Larry Pruden (1925-1982) is the second work by the NZSO. Composer, conductor and timpanist Mr Pruden grew up in New Plymouth where he learned both piano and organ. In 1951 a bursary took Mr Pruden to the Guildhall School in London and in 1975 he was the Mozart Fellow at Otago University.

Work by the National Youth Choir includes Kua Rongo, a welcome performed with poi and action, by Ngapo Wehi; Kyrie from Sam Piper's Requiem; a David Griffiths setting of James K Baxter's poem Blow, Winds of Fruitfulness; a fun piece Didn't It Rain composed by David Hamilton; and an arrangement of the Ave Maria in Maori, Ka waiata ki a Marie, by Richard Puanaki.

Further concerts this year will encompass dance as well as literature and drama.