Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is the Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of Canada’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Hailed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as “a rising star in the musical firmament,” New is the recipient of the prestigious 2021 Sir George Solti Conducting Award.
The 2023/24 season will mark New’s ninth and final season as Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and her second season as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
In Summer 2023, New makes debuts at the BBC Proms with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and she returns to the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She additionally makes appearances at Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Festival de la Chaise-Dieu with Orchestre National de Lyon and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where she leads a production of Susannah.
During her 2023/24 season, New makes subscription debuts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony and the Orchestre National de France. North American returns include Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Continually in demand in Europe, New makes her debut with the Bamberger Symphoniker as well as conducting the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Barcelona y Nacional de Cataluña, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Rouen-Normandie, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine and Staatsorchester Hannover.
New regularly appears with top orchestras in North America and Europe, having conducted the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, WDR Sinfonieorchester, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester, Ulster Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Ile de France and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
In her work as Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic, New has been committed to deepening the artistic level of the orchestra and expanding its reach into the community. New launched the HPO’s first “Intimate and Immersive” concert series, which celebrates music by Canadian composers in a visually vibrant setting. From Handel's Messiah, to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, to Iman Habibi’s Jeder Baum spricht, the HPO under New’s leadership has embraced a programming style that builds a trust and excitement with audiences. Highlights include collaborations with Canada’s leading soloists, such as James Ehnes, Timothy Chooi, Janina Fialkowska and Stewart Goodyear. New has also encouraged growth of the HPO Family and Education programs, as well as actively contributing to the strong relationship between the HPO and the HPYO.
For four seasons, New held the title of Principal Guest Conductor with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. In her final season, she led the orchestra in three programs which included Holst’s The Planets and Stavinsky’s Rite of Spring. A proponent of new music, New’s programs featured works by Angélica Negrón and the World Premiere of Katherine Balch’s Cello Concerto.
New served for four seasons as Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, where she was Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. In her final season, she led the 2019/20 season-opening concerts of the St. Louis Symphony and conducted a concert broadcast live with Chris Thile on the nationally syndicated variety show Live From Here.
A former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New served previously as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. In 2018 she was a Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, where she led the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s In America. She is a former recipient of the David Karetsky Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and an Ansbacher Fellowship, in which she was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic to observe rehearsals and concerts at the Salzburg Festival. As a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellow, she studied Mendelssohn’s music with Kurt Masur in Leipzig and led the Leipziger Symphonieorchester. She was awarded Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards in 2017, 2019 and 2020, before receiving the 2021 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award.
Committed to new music, New made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013 on works by John Adams and Andrew Norman. In 2010, she founded the Lunar Ensemble, a nine-member contemporary music ensemble that premiered 30 works over six seasons. New has conducted works by Thomas Adès, Anna Clyne, Steve Mackey, Aaron Jay Kernis and many others.
New holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she studied with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. She graduated with honors from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance.