SUNDAY 8TH OCTOBER
Warkworth Town Hall
AUCKLAND YOUTH ORCHESTRA
'Here plays the future'
Rebecca Lee Soloist
Antun Poljanich Conductor
Beethoven Egmont Overture
Wells Organ Concerto No.2 (Premiere)
Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique
Founded in 1948, Auckland Youth Orchestra is the premier regional youth orchestra in New Zealand. Its vision is to inspire young people to excellence through their love of musical performance and to provide them with a wide range of cultural experiences, thus shaping the leaders of tomorrow. Auckland Youth Orchestra draws its members from throughout the wider Auckland region, the majority of which are University or high school students. Many past members of the orchestra have gone on to become professional musicians. Over the orchestra’s 68-year history, more than 2,600 young adults from diverse cultural and social backgrounds have passed through its ranks, having received expert training in orchestral playing.
Born in South Korea, Rebecca Soojung Lee started learning the piano when she was 7 years old and two years after her family immigrated to New Zealand in 2007 she began to learn the violin. She obtained her ATCL Diploma in piano from Trinity College London and Grade 8 violin in 2013, however towards the end of 2014 Rebecca became captivated by the sound of the organ.
She currently studies organ at the University of Auckland and has also been learning under Dr John Wells, whose Organ Concerto No.2 she will play. Rebecca has also been actively engaged with musical activities at church, serving as an organist at the Korean Methodist Church of Auckland and as a pianist at the Korean Church of Auckland.
Born in Croatia, Antun Poljanich studied piano and theory at Dubrovnik School for Musical Education then conducting at the University of Ljubljana. Following post-graduate studies in Austria, he won a scholarship which took him to Leningrad for a three-year Master Course in Conducting at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. He has since worked with the Leningrad State Symphony Orchestra, the Veneto Philharmonia, the Slovene and Croatian National Orchestras and other prominent orchestras in Russia and Europe. Antun has been the Music Director of Auckland Youth Orchestra since 1999 and the ensemble has seen great success in New Zealand and beyond. Also Head of the Music Faculty at St. Peter’s College in Newmarket, Auckland, Antun was awarded the St. Peter’s College Scholarship for his contribution to musical education in New Zealand.
NOTES BY JOHN WELLS ON HIS SECOND ORGAN CONCERTO
I started sketching ideas several years ago but it never progressed very far until I happened to be examining in Malaysia. A group of candidates didn’t show and we got word that their bus driver had got lost; and that none of the group would be able to make it in time for their exams. With over two hours to fill, I pulled out my sketchbook and worked on the first movement up to letter D in the score. And there it rested for a few more years.
Antun Poljanich approached me last year about the orchestra doing an organ concerto. Could I suggest one and could I suggest a student? He didn’t want Poulenc or Saint-Saëns (which isn’t a concerto, anyway), and Handel’s charming works used too-small an orchestra. I mentioned that I’d already written one, but he didn’t really prick his ears up until I said that I had started another. The rest, as they say, is history. Finding a performer was easy: Rebecca Lee learnt from me in 2016 and is now at Auckland University with James Tibbles. There was no question in my mind that she was the right choice.
I count myself very fortunate that Antun made that decision, that Rebecca was available, that the most excellent AYO will be the band and that the Donny Charitable Trust took the concerto under its wing with a minimum of fuss. So now, here it is.
I am a conservative – I like keys and melodies you can hum. What is it about? Let me paraphrase Beethoven (with respect): it is about itself. The ‘geography’ can be quickly scanned: 17 minutes or thereabouts, three movements, with a percussion link between the second and third. Use of the major seventh as a leitmotif and a fair bit for the percussion to do. Harp and bass clarinet parts have been grafted in on request; the work is better for their presence.
John Wells, September 2017