The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1946, is the country’s leading professional orchestra. It has an establishment of 90 players and performs over 100 concerts annually. Touring within New Zealand looms large in the Orchestra’s activities. All its main symphonic programmes are presented in Auckland and Wellington, and as well as this, the Orchestra visits some 25 New Zealand towns and cities annually.
Pietari Inkinen was appointed the NZSO’s Music Director from January 2008. He succeeds James Judd who held the position from 1999 to 2007 and is now Music Director Emeritus. Other conductors who have worked with the NZSO include Xian Zhang, Alexander Lazarev, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, David Atherton, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Edo de Waart. Soloists who have appeared with the Orchestra recently include Lang Lang, Sa Chen, Lynn Harrell, Cho Liang Lin, Hilary Hahn, Vadim Repin, Yefim Bronfman, Simon O’Neill, Steven Isserlis, Jonathan Lemalu and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
The NZSO has an extensive catalogue of CD recordings. As part of a commitment to promote and encourage music by New Zealand composers, the NZSO records at least one CD of New Zealand music annually. Over half a million of these CDs have been sold internationally in the last decade and they have received critical acclaim.