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On two Sunday afternoons in October the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Peter Thomas, will present FILM FAVOURITES - a programme of the best music from your favourite films. Topping off these concerts will be the premiere of a brand new Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, written by NZ composer Josiah Carr for Saxophone player Christiaan Swanepoel.

Born out of the Orchestra's desire to support young composers and performers, both young musicians are excited to work together on this exciting project.

"I was approached about writing a piece for Christiaan and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, which I thought was a fantastic opportunity I couldn't turn down. Christiaan is a good friend, and we've worked on multiple projects together, so this has been a fantastic opportunity to write something for him again; and adding to the saxophone concerti repertoire is also a great bonus - it's not often you hear such a fantastic instrument in front of the orchestra as a soloist!" - Josiah Carr, composer 

"As this is a continuation from the French Horn Concerto Commission of 2015, the orchestra and I are excited to see the the ongoing expansion of the Concerto repertoire" - Peter Thomas, music director 

As a community orchestra, the ASO relies on the generosity of people like you to keep them going and they ask for your assistance to pay the composer and performer. They want you to continue to enjoy these performances long into the future.

Thank you for donating! Every little bit helps.

Concerts are October 22nd at the Auckland Town Hall and October 29th at the Bruce Mason Centre, both at 2:30pm - entry by donation.

More about the collaborators:

Josiah Carr is a post-graduate music student majoring in composition at the University of Auckland studying under Eve de Castro-Robinson, Leonie Holmes and Alex Taylor. He is also a conductor and performer (percussionist) who has studied conducting under Karen Grylls and performs with orchestras and concert bands across New Zealand. He has had the chance to work with some of New Zealand's best ensembles as a composer including the APO, NZSO, NZTrio and ACE Brass Trio.

He participated in the NZSO Todd Readings in both 2015 and 2016, and was selected as the overall winner, and winner of the orchestra's choice award in 2016. Other awards include placing first in the 2013 and 2016 Llewelyn Jones Piano Competition, as well as placing first in the 2016 Douglas Lilburn Composition Prize Competition with his piece dark midnight. In 2016 he was accepted for the APO Young Composer-in-Residence for 2016-7 which has resulted in the creation of several new works for orchestra. Josiah is in the process of pursuing further post-graduate study at the University of Auckland with a Masters Degree in Composition 

Christiaan Swanepoel studied classical performance in saxophone at the University of Auckland under Michael Jamieson. A specialist in contemporary music, he has given premieres of works by a number of young New Zealand composers, and collaborated with dancers and vocalists. As an orchestral musician Christiaan has performed with many professional and community groups, including the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. He also participates in free improvisation and likes to let his hair down with New Orleans-style brass band the Auckland City Scoundrels.

Peter Thomas is a New Zealand based conductor and music educator. He is the Music Director and conductor of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra and Head of Music at Epsom Girls Grammar School. Peter has conducted many orchestras, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Auckland Youth Orchestra and West Michigan University Orchestra, either during master classes or as a guest conductor. Though his repertoire is broad, he feels a particular affinity with Romantic and 20th century works and is particularly passionate about performing new music.

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra is a community-based orchestra formed in 1975 by its founding musical director, Gary Daverne, who was succeeded in 2011 by Peter Thomas. The players are drawn from all parts of Auckland and from all walks of life. The orchestra provides an opportunity for musicians who have chosen a career outside music, to enjoy weekly rehearsals of symphonic music, playing without payment and purely for the pleasure of making good music together. The orchestra also supports local young soloists, giving them the opportunity to perform with a full symphony orchestra, in concert.

The orchestra's main philosophy is that music should be fun and enjoyed by players and audiences alike - hence the regular, Free Family concerts that are offered in Auckland with out-of-town concerts in areas where a live performance by a Symphony Orchestra is a rare event.

Today, the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, with over eighty players, has developed an excellent following and reputation for its high quality performances of popular classics, film and show music, often playing to capacity and turn-away audiences. Regular annual features of the orchestra are the two sell-out performances of Last Night of the Proms and the Free Christmas Sing Along with local Pacific Island youth choirs.


  • A message from Christiaan


    "I'm thrilled to be a part of this project with Josiah and Peter; both are wonderful musicians and I know they will make this a fantastic experience for the orchestra, the audience and me. I think contemporary music is extremely important and I'm really excited to have a brand-new piece of NZ saxophone repertoire to showcase in the concert hall."

Other Projects by Peter Thomas

Image for ASO French Horn Concerto Commission

Peter Thomas

Auckland Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Peter Thomas, commission a new horn concerto to be performed in their October concerts. An exciting collaboration between young NZ talent- composer Alex Taylor and french horn player Emma Richards. Funding needed for commissioning composer as ASO is a non-profit community orchestra.