New Zealand Symphony’s first full-orchestra concert, with audience, follows lifting of social distancing regulations

Posted on: June 29, 2020

“The sound of a full symphony orchestra playing to a full concert hall has returned, as New Zealand brings back live symphonic music after containing the spread of coronavirus,” writes Kyle Macdonald in Friday’s (6/26) Classic FM (U.K.). “On 8 June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country had no active cases of COVID-19, meaning that all social distancing regulations could be lifted. For music, this allowed orchestras to resume playing in their normal formations and meant concert halls could be filled to capacity once again. The country’s national orchestra [New Zealand Symphony Orchestra] celebrated with a Friday night gala concert called ‘Ngū Kīoro… Harikoa Ake—celebrating togetherness,’ in the New Zealand capital, Wellington. The concert featured Kiwi tenor Simon O’Neill, soprano Eliza Boom, conductor Hamish McKeich, Horomona Horo, Taonga puoro and singers from Voices New Zealand. All ended with a rousing, audience-led performance of the traditional Māori song ‘Pokarekare Ana.’ … NZSO Chief Executive Peter Biggs said they were the first orchestra to perform in a concert hall without any COVID-19 restrictions. ‘This is a magnificent achievement for our national orchestra and testament to the sacrifices and hard work of all New Zealanders,’ Biggs said.”