March 8, 2024

Rave reviews for Gemma New’s BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performance

The Scotsman wrote:

Gemma New is one to watch. So is the remarkable violinist Geneva Lewis.”

“New, who is principal conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, proved a dynamic operator, with an animated, swashbuckling style that clicked magically with the players. Lewis, a Radio 3 Young Generation Artist, asserted her own vitality, but with an alluring air of composure.”

“Lewis captured the narrative perfectly, easeful perfection and subdued ecstasy in the Allegro, a deliciously poetic response to the oboe's plaintive introduction in the Andante, and a blistering moto perpetuo Presto that took no prisoners.”

“New exacted the perfect response from the SSO, sumptuously supportive, imaginatively characterized..”

[Sarah] Gibson creates a vivid double axis of musical images, a tapestry of vivid orchestral colourings in which seamless "horizontal" melodic strands are enlivened by the "vertical", at times funky, harmonies. It's a sun-filled piece, mercurial and provocative... New embraced its novelty and unpredictability with magnetic insight and conviction.”

“To some extent out of the old school - spacious and big-boned - [the Brahms] was nonetheless scintillatingly buoyant and pristine, intricately coloured, conductor and orchestra swaying literally and metaphorically as one.”

VoxCarnyx wrote:

“On the eve of International Women’s Day, here was a celebration of female artists, as well as a showcase for New Zealand (home of conductor and soloist) and of youth – the soloist and programme’s living composer both being in their 20s.”

“The opening orchestral collage by American composer Sarah Gibson, Warp & Weft... is a celebration of domestic creativity, inspired by the artist Mirian Schapiro and full of original colours in the way it combines the instruments.”

“This was big-boned Brahms, but not missing any dynamic subtlety, and distinguished by the warmth of the SSO’s string sound in the City Hall when it is on its best form.”

“New is a marvelously lucid conductor, fond of big gestures and quite balletic on the podium, but the most memorable moments of this interpretation were when she was almost still: in the questioning opening of the slow second movement and for the initial statement of the chords that will be the basis of the variations in the finale.”