Concert venue call

Coming over: The Queenstown concert conductor is London- based Simon Over

Organising Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s first Queenstown concert underscores the resort’s pressing need for a large performing arts centre.

So says Bill Moran, chair of the local Turn Up the Music Trust, which hosts the concert on August 31.

The concert, and a free open rehearsal, are being held at the Wakatipu High School auditorium.

But because its capacity, and that of the Queenstown Memorial Centre, is only 400, Moran says they’ve had to raise $40,000, from 15 sponsors, to put on the concert – the larger Events Centre isn’t a contender, he says, because of its acoustics.

“What it highlights is that to run big events like this we need a 1000-1500-seat performing arts centre.

“Commercial promoters won’t come here because they can’t make any money.”

Thanks to that sponsorship and ticket sales on top, however, Moran expects the concert to break even.

He says his music school trust was still being formed when the DSO agreed to come to Queenstown so he commends its “leap of faith”.

“Hopefully it’s the start if an ongoing relationship with the DSO, where they can do things every so often in Queenstown.”

DSO’s principal guest conductor, London-based Simon Over, says the 33-piece orchestra’s very much looking forward to playing here for the first time in its 53-year history, while he’s keen to make just his second visit.

He says the programme has something for everyone – “whatever knowledge you’ve got of the music, you’ll enjoy it”.

It includes Mendelssohn’s Fingal’s Cave, evoking the stormy Scottish Hebrides, a Bach orchestral suite, a Schubert symphony and a Mozart flute concerto featuring DSO’s principal flautist, Luca Manghi.

Over says he likes to invite the public into rehearsals – Queenstowners will be able to have a 45-minute peek from 3.30pm on the day of the concert.

“It’s a little bit like lifting the car bonnet to look at the engine.

“It’s one thing to give the full, final, polished performance, but it’s also really good to see the workings that go into it.”

Moran adds that it’s fitting this event’s free – “it’s consistent with our broader strategy about outreach”.

Tickets to August 31, 7.30pm concert, ‘Symphonic Spectacular’, for sale at