Press Acclaim

“A conductor whose renown is sure to grow…. New is to be commended for keeping this extra-large ensemble under tight control and firmly harnessed to her vivid interpretation of Elgar’s masterpiece. One hopes her return to the Cleveland Orchestra is not far off.”
"The rising New Zealand conductor Gemma New was definitely game for all manner of fantasy and romance inspired by the moon in a program that touched down on film music from Star Wars (of course) and 2001: A Space Odyssey. At the podium, New hosted with just enough chat to be inviting while also maintaining a good pace. She also summoned solid performances from the Philadelphia Orchestra."
Brilliant conducting... New’s interpretation of Beethoven was solid and satisfying... the introduction of the main theme in the Ode gave off a sense of holy reverence.
Observing that a great conductor makes an orchestra sound great is not the sort of revelation that calls for a "Hold the presses!" maneuver. But Gemma New's spectacular debut on the podium of the San Diego Symphony Saturday, May 18, in Copley Symphony Hall renewed my faith in that critic's bromide.
One of the brightest rising stars in the conducting firmament
[Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune] To accentuate the effect on the HPO audience, conductor Gemma New arranged for projections of a slightly blurred misty lake as well as some poetic lines from the suite. Ms. New’s style, and obvious goal, is to have her orchestra affect not just the auditory but the touch & sight senses of her audience. She certainly succeeds.​ [Holst: Planets] The interpretation and execution of the entire composition was impressive.
Gemma New and the TSO brought the Shostakovich Fifth to life in a way that committed wholly to the score without descending into shrill contemporary political statements. Her canny approach will induce more audiences to have emotionally vibrant realizations about this magnificent work when she conducts it again in her meteoric career.
With just a year shy of six decades of writing about classical music; one feels as though one has heard just about everything euphonic… not so. An intimate proscenium-style almost chamber orchestra phenomenon was held in the Studio Theatre next to Hamilton’s Great Hall. It was audibly; physically; emotionally and sensually effective. HPO conductor/host Gemma New presented five novel and extremely contemporary compositions that incorporated the creative multi-media art of Tony Viera. Both orchestra and audience were impacted by light and projected imagery that accompanied the creative works being interpreted. The effect was a full dimension of impression and sensation.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an Imperial battle cruiser swooped down across the screen to the strains of a full symphony orchestra. Movies and movie music have never been quite the same since. Gemma New and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra reminded me of that magic moment as they performed John Williams's score for "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" while the film played on the big screen above them. And as thrilling as it was to hear that big, old-fashioned sound in a theatre back in the day, nothing quite compares with the visceral impact of hearing it performed live by an 80-piece orchestra. ​ That's especially when it's the exemplary members of our own SLSO. When we attended on Saturday night, the horns and brass were in excellent form, the percussion section was impeccably precise, and the orchestra in general performed at a very high level. On the podium, Ms. New did her usual flawless job conducting in synch with the film.
This was an RPO debut for the New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New, and the audience definitely liked her. More importantly, so did the orchestra, which gave its all for her in a program offering plenty of opportunity for virtuosity.
Right from the start, New proved herself to be an unusually sensitive and expressive conductor, holding all aspects of this complex score in delicate balance.
Despite the familiarity of the score, the CPO under New’s lively conducting brought the music to life once more, the tempos well judged and with a precise attention of balance.
On the podium, Ms. New made it possible to hear this chestnut [Grieg: Piano Concerto] with fresh ears, with a brisk and authoritative treatment of the famous opening theme that contrasted sharply with a luxuriant and lyrical second theme.
New is authoritative on the podium, with easy confidence, and great rapport with the orchestra.
The opening work was Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3; (of four). It initiates the opera Fidelio in which the main character uses the title as her pseudonym in order to become a prison guard and thus help her beloved escape. Maestra New’s interpretation had a slow and understated introduction so dramatic as to have me close my eyes to thus enhance the aural drama being experienced.
Castiglioni’s “Cantus planus” features 24 epigrams by 17th-century German mystic Angelus Silesius, set for two sopranos (here, Fotina Naumenko and Mary Bonhag, both in radiant voice) delicately supported by a mixed chamber ensemble (conducted by Gemma New). Sunday’s performance was a stunner.
With clear, coaxing gestures, she drew superb playing from the orchestra in a performance of fine musical integrity. Sections unfolded organically with alert focus on each movement’s architecture and the long line. Contrasting episodes were pointed up and climaxes given sure impact while avoiding sheer volume and rhetorical excess.
For the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and Vocal Fellows led by contemporary music specialist Gemma New, a TMC Conducting Fellow, the performance was a triumph.
TMC conducting fellow New presided over the massed forces with assurance. Her leadership was the picture of confidence: boldly energized, smartly paced, every cue in place. The TMCO responded in kind, with playing of tight ensemble and electrifying color.
Gemma New's fluid, almost extravagant conducting style belied a performance of classical precision, vitality and drama.
Conductor New brought the perfect poise and airiness into the composer's opening Andante, responding incisively to his later melodramatics.
Maestra New incorporated creative phrasing and dramatic pauses to bring out every scintilla of portrait evocation.
New, who is the resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony, showed an upright competence and understated authority to the varied and weighty program.
Gemma New, the New Zealand-born Resident Conductor of the orchestra, proved an able and gifted interpreter of such profoundly heart-probing music as this at Powell Hall...Gemma New directed brilliantly, exhibiting poise and control.
New and her forces made the most of it, in the best performance I’ve heard.
The Hamilton Philharmonic under artistic director Gemma New is an amazing conglomeration. Audiences can almost physically sense the affection and respect between musicians and the podium.
[Gemma New is] a welcome breath of spring. Her knowledge, personality and the intimacy she’s established with her audience are sufficient to maintain, even increase ‘sold out’ performances
SLSO Resident Conductor Gemma New led her forces in a lively and nuanced performance ... I was very taken with her elegant and fluid style on the podium and her charm as the evening's MC. Not every conductor is comfortable with a wireless body mic, but she seemed right in her element.
a powerful and unique presence, like a cross between a dignified unicorn and an exuberant sprite
In an impressive local debut, she [New] demonstrated a crisp and vivid podium technique complemented by a canny mastery of orchestral balance.
The musicians under Gemma New‘s baton performed at the high(er) level this scribe has noticed since she took over the podium. Their cohesion; attitude and seemingly effortless technique make the assemblage worthy of a ¾ or so million-sized city.
Ms. New was fully in command of all her forces Friday night, though, and delivered an impressive reading of the score...
New’s HPO aced it.
The evening was crowned with the presentation of Robert Schumann's 3rd Symphony "Rhenish", one of the most cheerful compositions of this artist who paid homage to the cathedral in Cologne. The performance of this work another proof of the precision and mastery of Gemma New, with the orchestra performing at a very high level.
Maestra New brought out and emphasized the various characters and adventures of Pinocchio’s trials and tribulations by carefully sculpting orchestral textural colors.
New proved an outstanding presence at Friday night’s concert at the Pritzker Pavilion–confident and fully in command, leading the musicians with an incisive yet flexible beat, and attentive to details as well as the broader sweep. Her podium style is devoid of gratuitous showmanship, largely letting the music speak for itself.
The concert program was beautifully poignant in how its expression of myth evolved. Gluck’s literal depiction of Orpheus blundering out of hell led into highly dramatic works by Beethoven and Mozart...it was exciting to hear and see the musicians respond so well to Maestro Gemma New’s leadership.
Brilliantly executed, this piece [Petrushka] epitomized the level that New’s first season as artistic director has brought the H.P.O. An amazing finale.
The Hamilton Philharmonic’s construal of Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Mendelssohn’s exquisitely memorable composition was a perfect blending of aural & visual experience.
There is a noticeable difference to the orchestral sound under Gemma New. She has, in a relatively short time; created a divergent and positive essence from the musicians that can be viscerally felt by the audience as well as by those performing on stage.
Leading the top-notch New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is Gemma New, former associate conductor of the group, back to visit from her current position as resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony. Audience members familiar with New’s excellent work are happy to see her back, greeting her with excited applause. Over the course of the evening, New’s warm and energetic persona connects with the entire crowd and makes everyone feel right at home, her conducting skills showing a seasoned musician with excellent musical vision.
Maestra New presented the prelude with its adverse theme; truly demonstrating that the orchestra is now hers…and vice-versa. The familiar ‘Habanera’ with its advice about daring to love a vamp, and the passionate ‘Seguidilla’, the amazing mezzo voice of Lauren Segal even extended her range to the contralto realm.
Ms. New emphasized the flow of the music, allowing the work to unfold in an early 20th-century impressionistic style. She conducted with clear and unencumbered gestures, changing musical styles well and successfully bringing to life music which well deserved to be heard.
The themes were carefully developed by Ms. New. She used the orchestra to create an elaborate setting for the glittering, jewel-like solo part...
The first visual change that newly appointed HPO conductor has made was in the orchestral layout.
If Saturday night's season opener in Hamilton Place was any indication, Gemma New and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra are going to have a good year together.
New's clear and decided beat enforces her excellent rhythm purpose. She conducts more for the players and the music than to make a personal statement.
Let it be heard loud and clear: Gemma New delivered the goods in her long-awaited mainstage debut as the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra's new music director on Saturday night in front of a very large Hamilton Place audience.
Perhaps it was our especially cold winter lingering still in one’s bones, but conductor Gemma New’s recent take on Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony with the HPO certainly drew one into the richness of an approaching spring.
If Gemma New is the epitome of the standard we can expect from auditioning conductors; selection will be a difficult choice.
Her clear beat and enthusiasm charged up the Miami Symphony’s crackling brass and percussion sections. She conveyed the irony and sarcasm of the “March and Scherzo” from Prokofiev’s opera The Love for Three Oranges. New underlined often overlooked instrumental details, the rapid runs of the two harps in the scherzo particularly lucid.
Hollywood could not have scripted it any better. As the New Jersey Symphony prepared to launch into “Over the Rainbow” on Sunday, conductor Gemma New alerted the audience to an honest-to-goodness rainbow glistening over Giralda Farms in Madison.
Gemma New led a lively performance of the piece, based on what Mr. Adams called the “faux materials” of his invented folk tune and a hoedown subtitled “Mad Cow” (complete with a defiant moo).
The musicians were led through the lollygagging hilarity by conductor Gemma New, who shifted gears skilfully during the work, which Mr. Adams explained was considered “almost unplayable” when it was first written.