Graham Rockingham
|
September 22, 2015

The Hamilton Spectator

Graham Rockingham
|
September 22, 2015

The Hamilton Spectator

Graham Rockingham
|
September 22, 2015

The Hamilton Spectator

The best way for a newcomer to get to know the city is to take a walking tour of downtown Hamilton.

That is exactly what Gemma New, the new conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, did Monday afternoon.

The 28-year-old native of New Zealand is on her first visit to Hamilton this week since signing a three-year contract in May to take on the job as artistic director of the HPO.

New had plenty of meetings scheduled at the HPO offices at Hamilton Place, but she still found time to get out and go exploring on a three-hour walkabout, taking in sites like the Lister Block, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Theatre Aquarius, the Sonic Unyon building and the Dr. Disc record store.

"This looks like a very vibrant place," she said as she stepped into the AGH to meet the gallery's communications director, Janet Mowat. New was impressed to learn the city had hosted a world-class exhibition of Paul Cezanne, but she was more interested in Canadian art.

"Do you find that Canadian art has a certain style?" New asked Mowat, who then told her about the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. New promised a return visit.

From there, New entered Jackson Square, popping into the chamber of commerce offices and meeting chamber president Keanin Loomis. She encouraged Loomis to bring his children to the HPO's family concert in January, a show she will personally conduct.