Manawatu Sinfonia
If you would like more information about the Sinfonia, please feel free to email us.

Manawatu Sinfonia 19 November 2017

Sunday November 19th at 2.30pm. 

Speirs Centre, PN Boys High School, Featherston Street (opposite Mega Mitre 10).

Conductor: Donald Armstrong.

Soloists: Melanie and Nathan Pinkney. 


Mozart, Overture to Don Giovanni

Mozart, Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola, and orchestra in E flat major, K. 364


Gareth Farr, Waipoua for solo clarinet and strings

Beethoven, Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21

Buy tickets now on Eventfinda:

Mozart, Overture to Don Giovanni
The work is virtually the first movement of a symphony and contains no themes from the opera. It does, however, foreshadow both the comedy and the high drama in the opera to follow. At the end, the music quietly glides into Leporello’s first aria. For the benefit of concert performances, Mozart provided a louder ending in the correct key of D major. According to a not very reliable story, Mozart composed the overture literally on the night before the premiere performance. There was no time to write a full score (a conductor was not necessarily used at his time), so he restricted himself to writing out the individual parts. A copyist had been ordered to pick up the parts at 7am, and at 7am the overture was duly completed.

Mozart, Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola, and orchestra in E flat major, K. 364

Mozart composed his Sinfonia concertante in 1779-80, in the hope that it would help him in his plans to move from Salzburg to Paris. The work truly showcases his talents. The opening Allegro maestoso movement is bright and declamatory. The middle Andante movement, in C minor, features an intense dialogue between the soloists and an orchestra texture enriched by divisi viola section. A Presto movement in rondo form closes the work. Himself a keen violist, Mozart wrote the viola part with a higher tuning than is usual, so as to give the instrument a brighter sound and avoid its being overshadowed by the more penetrating violin sound.

Gareth Farr, Waipoua for solo clarinet and strings

Gareth Farr writes, ‘Waipoua is an exploration of the lyrical and emotional capabilities of my favourite wind instrument, the clarinet. It is also a recollection of a memorable trip to the Waipoua State Forest, with its healing air, cool green light, delicate echoing sounds, and the overwhelming sight of Tane-Mahuta, the giant Kauri’ (acknowledgements to Sounz Centre for NZ Music / Toi te Arapuoru). Our soloist is Stephen Wildbore.

Beethoven, Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21

    Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
    Andante cantabile con moto
    Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace – Trio
    Finale: Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace
This work is clearly indebted to Beethoven's predecessors, particularly his teacher Haydn. The first movement starts offkey, in the manner of C P E Bach and Haydn, not arriving at the "proper" key of C until bar 13. Nonetheless the symphony has clear Beethoven characteristics, notably the frequent use of sforzandi and the prominent use of wind instruments (for which he was criticised by some early reviewers). The third movement is remarkable because although it is titled Menuetto the tempo marking is that of a scherzo. Beethoven took advantage of the metronome, a new invention in his time, to give an unambiguous indication of the tempi he wanted. He was also ultra-thorough about marking both staccato and non-staccato notes. The premiere took place on 2 April 1800 in Vienna as part of a concert that also included Beethoven's septet and second piano concerto, along with a symphony by Mozart and an aria and a duet from Haydn's Creation. This marathon event served to announce Beethoven's talents to Vienna in resounding fashion.


Fifteen-year-old Melanie Pinkney began violin at the age of four and is currently under the tutelage of Donald Armstrong. She participated in the Akaroa Music Festival in 2014 and 2015, won the instrumental YPS Musica Viva Scholarship (2014), competed in the National Finals of the CMNZ chamber music competition (2016), and also recently gained her LTCL performance diploma with distinction. On piano, she achieved high distinction in Grade 7 NZMEB in 2015 and is preparing to sit her ATCL in October 2017. Balancing her musical interests, she enjoys swimming & squash, and an enduring love of horses.

Nathan Pinkney began learning violin at age 8 in Ashhurst his hometown. Through his developing years, he was a proud member of the Manawatu Youth Orchestra and later the Manawatu Sinfonia. He has since played in various orchestras including the NZSO, NYO, Hawke's Bay Orchestra, and Wellington Youth Orchestra. Significant achievements include reaching the national finals of the NZCT Chamber Music competition as well as the semi-finals of the PACANZ Instrumental solo competition. He is currently pursuing violin at the University of Auckland with Stephen Larsen. His former teachers include Vincent Aspey Jr, Kim Jin, and Donald Armstrong. In his free time, he enjoys playing with Trio Bella as well as playing squash and experiencing as much of the New Zealand outdoors as possible. Learning viola in later years, he has found the opportunities in chamber music and more recently, playing with his sister Melanie to be his musical highlights.


Born in Wellington, Donald Armstrong started early professional studies with the NZBC Schola Musica and the NZ National Youth Orchestra.   He participated in the 1975 World Tour of the NZ National Youth Orchestra, giving concerts in Scotland, England and China.  He joined the NZ Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19. Two years later, with an Arts Council Bursary and an Alex Lindsay Memorial Award Scholarship, he completed a postgraduate diploma at Mannes College, New York, and a Masters degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston, studying violin with Masuko Ushioda and Josef Gingold and chamber music with Louis Krasner, Eugene Lehner and Laurence Lesser.  As First Violin of the New England Conservatory Scholarship String Quartet, he won a special prize at the Concours International d’Évian held in France in 1982. In 1983 he was appointed Principal Second Violin of the Tivoli Sinfoniorkester in Denmark and soon after become Concertmaster of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice in France. He returned to New Zealand in 1987 as Associate Concertmaster of the NZSO, a position he still holds.

As Music Director of the NZ Chamber Orchestra from its inception in 1987 until 2005, Donald has provided incisive leadership which has been a major force in creating the dynamic and exciting style of the NZCO. He has appeared as soloist with the NZSO and the NZ Chamber Orchestra. More recently he has conducted the Wellington Chamber Orchestra and the Victoria University Strings. He formed his own ensemble “Hot Young Strings”, where top professionals combined with emerging young players and has recently conducted it at the Aroha String Quartet Chamber Music Festival, the Akaroa Music Festival and the Mt Buller Chamber Music Festival (Australia).






ECCT community trust        Pub charity    
Milverton Trust
Performance Trust




            Evelyn Rawlins Arts Trust                    

© Manawatu Sinfonia 2014
| Website by NYX