John Psathas commission premier, Wellington April 1429 Mar 2012 08:45
New Zealand’s finest young voices to premier
John Psathas is best known for his innovative instrumental and large scale orchestral commissions, and recognised around the world with performances of his work throughout Europe, America and New Zealand. But it will be New Zealand’s finest school-aged singers who have the honour of premiering John’s latest composition, a choral work Nemesi , based on the Greek mythological character Nemesis, the goddess of indignation against, and retribution for, evil deeds and undeserved good fortune.
With his strong Greek ties and family history, John was commissioned when the national choir was invited to sing at the International Society of Music Education World Conference in Greece, in July this year. The tour offered a fantastic opportunity for the choir to present in Greece a work that stemmed from both New Zealand and Greek music influences. Unfortunately the economic crisis affecting Greece has resulted in the choir withdrawing from this tour, but the commission is complete, ready for premier in Wellington and will instead tour with the choir to its alternative tour destination, the Ihlombe Festival in South Africa.
No one could be more excited about the premier than the 60 nationally auditioned members of the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir! “Being able to perform a piece by a composer of John Psathas' renown is an experience that I really wouldn't exchange for anything”, says Onslow College member, Luka Venter. From 42 schools, Invercargill to North Shore, and directed by Christchurch-based Andrew Withington, NZSSC’s concert repertoire includes a wide range of choral styles including traditional and 20th century choral, folk, jazz, and music from New Zealand and the Pacific. Nemesi is one of our most challenging undertakings yet, a complex rhythmic blend of voice and body percussion, exactly the kind of composition that NZSSC strives to offer its talented young members. To quote choir member Clinton Fung, of Auckland, “Nemesi is the most intense, mentally & physically demanding piece of music I’ve ever come across."
NZSSC membership is via nationwide auditions every two years, providing expert choral singing tuition each school holidays, performances throughout New Zealand and international representation. Every second year, the choir tours to an international festival or competition, offering its members the honour of representing New Zealand. The 2009/10 NZSSC toured to British Columbia, Canada, where it earned the title The People’s Choice at the International Choral Kathaumixw, with a standing ovation from over 2000 people. Other recent tours have been to South America, Hong Kong and to China, where in 2006 the choir was named Champion Mixed Voice Youth Choir at the World Choral Olympics.
Tickets for the concert at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday April 14, 7.30pm, can be purchased at the door, or for reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 04 976 8557. Prices are $25 adults, $15 seniors and $10 students.
For more information about John Psathas' Nemesi click here >>