Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO join forces this May to present Connecting in Action, a week-long festival of events celebrating the power of music to bring people together.
Connecting in Action, which takes place from 20 to 24 May, represents New Zealand’s contribution to UNESCO International Arts Education Week.
“UNESCO’s commitment to education and lifelong learning is unparalleled, while the APO is known internationally for its education, community and outreach initiatives,” says Barbara Glaser, Chief Executive of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. “We’re honoured to present Connecting in Action with the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, and we’re delighted to be able to showcase a selection of the activities we offer for the people of Auckland and beyond.”
The centrepiece of Connecting in Action is Organ Spectacular, a concert featuring six new compositions by six leading New Zealand composers and starring the cream of local organists. The works, which were commissioned by the APO and the Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust, are performed on the beautiful Auckland Town Hall Organ, accompanied by full orchestra, on Thursday 23 May. Conductor for the evening is Hamish McKeich.
Wellington-based McKeich, one of our most esteemed conductors and long a favourite with APO audiences, is also involved in other Connecting in Action activities. On 22 May he leads the orchestra for Discovery, a concert aimed at high school students, while on 20 May McKeich faces questions from music students in one of the APO’s popular lunchtime Ask the Conductor sessions. One of the students will be invited to shadow McKeich for the week as he prepares for Organ Spectacular and Discovery.
Further Connecting in Action activities include a free APO Young Achievers recital at Auckland Central Library (23 May); Tunes 4 Toddlers, where preschoolers are introduced to instruments of the orchestra (20 May); and Meet the Composer, in which APO Composer-in-Residence Jack Body gives feedback on young composers’ works-in-progress during an exclusive half-hour tutorial (21 May).
Connecting in Action ends with a Friday performance by the children of Sistema Aotearoa.
“Arts education is a key to training generations capable of reinventing the world that they have inherited. It supports the vitality of cultural identities by emphasizing their links with other cultures, thus contributing to the construction of a shared heritage. It helps to form tolerant and dynamic citizens for our globalizing world” – Irena Bokova, Director General, UNESCO