Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is a leader among the new generation of conductors. She is currently Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Hailed as “a rising star in the musical firmament” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), New was awarded Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards in 2017 and 2019.
New’s 2019/20 season features her inaugural concerts as Principal Guest Conductor in Dallas and debuts with the National Symphony Orchestra D.C., Milwaukee Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Kristiansand Symfoniorkester, Beethoven Orchester Bonn and Ulster Orchestra. On the opera front, she makes her debut with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, where she will conduct a production of "Susannah" with Susanna Phillips in the title role. In the summer of 2019, New made five major conducting debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony.
Last season, New led the opening concerts of the St. Louis Symphony, made her debut with the New York Philharmonic on a Young People’s Concert program, and conducted the SLSO on a live broadcast performance of Live From Here with Chris Thile. New has conducted the Atlanta Symphony, Toronto Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Berkeley Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and many others. Her guest conducting has taken her internationally with orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester, Malmö Symfoniorkester, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Filharmonia Szczecin and Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and back home to New Zealand with the Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony, Opus Orchestra and more.
New’s work as Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic has been committed to deepening the artistic level of the orchestra and expanding its reach into the community. She recently launched the HPO’s first “Intimate and Immersive” concert series, creating a closer-to-the-music atmosphere by combining treasures of the orchestra canon and contemporary music, electronic indie music, lighting and visual art installations. New also implemented a Family Series in her first year as Music Director, and this past season started Schools' Concerts. She has regularly welcomed local students to sit onstage during rehearsals and encouraged a close relationship with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra who now play side-by-side with the HPO annually. Her programs present wide-ranging repertoire including works by core masters such as Beethoven and Mahler, and extending through today’s most active composers from Canada and New Zealand, such as Zosha di Castri, José Evangelista, Salina Fisher and Kevin Lau.
As a former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New led youth, school and community programs and assisted Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen and their guest conductors. New spent the summer of 2018 as a Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, where she led the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s “In America”. She served previously as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. 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.
Committed to new music, New made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013, leading works by John Adams and Andrew Norman on the American Soundscapes series. 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, Alyssa Weinberg, Michael Gandolfi, Aaron Jay Kernis and 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.