Fuseworks Media

NZSO to play extraordinary new music and a Mahler masterpiece

One of the world’s best percussionists joins the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in April to perform, for the first time outside the United States, an extraordinary work inspired by climate change Losing Earth by Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated composer Adam Schoenberg features percussionist Jacob Nissly, who performed at the world premiere of the acclaimed percussion concerto in 2019.

Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a thrilling thing to behold… a bravura theatrical spectacle”, Losing Earth was inspired by both the climate catastrophe threatening our natural world and the ancient use of percussion in storytelling. In addition, Schoenberg, twice named among the top 10 most performed living composers by American orchestras, will be in New Zealand for the performances in Wellington and Auckland as part of the NZSO’s Mahler 5 programme, led by NZSO Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor Gemma New.

“Losing Earth is a fierce, atmospheric, and dramatic work that showcases many facets of what a percussionist can do, while also addressing the topic of climate change as a musical narrative,” says Schoenberg. “I’m thrilled to come to New Zealand for the first time and to witness Jake Nissly, Gemma New, and the NZSO perform the southern hemisphere premiere of this work.”

Nissly, who cites his earliest musical influences as Stevie Wonder and Led Zeppelin, is Principal Percussionist for the San Francisco Symphony. “I am incredibly excited to give the premier of this piece for the first time outside of the United States. Adam and I share a friendship and collaboration back to our time in school together and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to perform this piece with the NZSO,” he says.

For New, Losing Earth is an exciting accompaniment in the Mahler 5 concerts to Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which requires 99 musicians on stage, and New Zealand composer Salina Fisher’s remarkable Kintsugi.

“Get ready for extremes,” she says. “The Fifth Symphony is passionate, wild and drenched in emotion. Inferno versus paradise, reality versus utopia, despair versus hope, frailness versus vehemence. From solemness to joy we run the full gamut in this astounding musical journey.

“Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of embracing imperfections. Salina has marvellously written delicate, floating melodies, swirling, rustling textures, and calm sonic ponds to emulate this replenishing spiritual journey.”


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