Manawatu Sinfonia
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Proms Concert - 7 September 2019 Regent Theatre 7.30pm

Our Proms Concert in Palmerston North's magnificent Regent Theatre will be conducted by Tim Jones.

We are excited to be playing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto no. 2 with Andrew Atkins as soloist.

Shayna Tweed will be our soprano soloist in the second half, performing Mozart's 'Queen of the Night' among other items.

Dance Works will perform Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker Suite.

Members of the Renaissance Singers will support the massed singing of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.



Suppe: Light Cavalry Overture
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No 2

Richard Strauss: Introduction to Also Sprach Zarathustra
Holst: Mars (from The Planets)

With Dance Works

           Tchaikovsky: Waltz of the Flowers (Nutcracker Suite)

With solo soprano Shayna Tweed:

            Mozart: Der Hölle Rache (The Magic Flute)
            Puccini: Si mi chiamano Mimi (La bohème)
            Strauss: Laughing song (Der Fledermaus)

Sir Henry Wood: Hornpipe
Arne: Rule Britannia
Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No 1
Beethoven: Ode to Joy


Sergei Rachmaninov 1873–1943, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 was composed between Autumn 1900 and Spring 1901. It is dedicated to Nikolai Dahl, a physician who helped Rachmaninov recover from depression and regain confidence through hypnotherapy. The complete concerto was premiered on 14 October 1901 by the Moscow Philharmonic, conducted by Rachmaninov’s cousin Alexander Siloti and with the composer as soloist. The work is notoriously difficult to play as it requires a large handspan, particularly in the first movement with its signature wide-spread piano chords. Rachmaninov could span an extraordinary 12 piano keys with each hand.

The work was met with general acclaim and has remained popular ever since, both in its original form and in film adaptations such as Noel Coward’s ‘Brief Encounter’. It also secured Rachmaninov’s status as a celebrity concert pianist and it was in this capacity that he enjoyed his greatest success and fame in his adopted country, the United States.

The first movement, a Moderato, opens with the soloist sounding a series of chords that grow in both volume and intensity. Surprisingly for a piano concerto, the soloist’s role in this movement is largely one of accompaniment until one of Rachmaninov’s most familiar and beloved themes emerges. The music continues with a rousing march in the piano, which dissolves into a solo horn intoning the second theme.

The sensual beauty of the Adagio sostenuto second movement creates an atmosphere of enchanted otherworldliness. The primary melody is heard first in the clarinet and flute, with the piano accompanying. The soloist then takes up the melody and develops it, with accompanying woodwinds and strings.

In the final movement, an Allegro scherzando, the lower instruments murmur a brief introduction to the soloist’s opening showy cadenza, which segues into the staccato pulsing rhythm of the first theme. In marked contrast is the lyrical second theme, played by the violas and solo oboe. The two themes vie for prominence as the mood of this movement shifts abruptly from jittery agitation to ecstatic rhapsody. A brilliant coda concludes the work.



Andrew Atkins is the current Assistant Conductor to Orchestra Wellington. In November 2017 he premiered the work of Tabea Squire with Orchestra Wellington in the Michael Fowler Centre. Highlights of Atkins’ career include conducting the Symphony no. 4 by Tchaikovsky with the Wellington Chamber Orchestra; the Cello concerto in B minor by Dvorak and Vltava by Smetana with the Kapiti Coast Orchestra; the Clarinet Concerto in A major by Mozart with the Manawatu Sinfonia; Symphony no 104 by Haydn and Oboe Concerto “Flower Clock” by Jean Françaix with the Kapiti Coast Orchestra; and the Piano Concerto in C minor by Rachmaninov and Capriccio Italien by Tchaikovsky with the Tawa Orchestra.

Atkins is also a regular concert pianist playing in and around Wellington and completed his Masters in Classical Performance Piano under Jian Liu in 2016.



Shayna was born in Palmerston North and moved to Wellington in 2013 to study Classical Performance at Te Koki New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington with Lisa Harper and Jenny Wollerman. She completed her postgraduate diploma in Classical Performance Voice in 2017. Shayna is a member of the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus and was in their 2018 production of Carmen. She performed the role of Barbarina in Eternity Opera Wellington's production of The Marriage of Figaro. Also in 2018 she performed the role of Adele in Wellington G&S Light Opera's production of Die Fledermaus, from which she reprises the famous 'Laughing Song' tonight.



Tim Jones writes: It is my pleasure to conduct the Manawatu Sinfonia for this concert. I have been in the Sinfonia for 30 years and am the leader of the percussion section which usually involves me banging away merrily on the timpani! I have John Schwabe to thank for this, as it was he that directed me to the percussion section of the Youth Orchestra in 1987 when I failed my clarinet audition! I first conducted the Sinfonia in 1991 and never cease to be amazed at what our orchestra achieves with music written for professional musicians. I am lucky enough to be married to Beth and have three awesome children: Makaela, Isabella and Benjamin. I am a teacher, having taught at a number of schools locally, and have the great privilege of being the educator for Life Education Trust Manawatu. I love movies, sport & drama, and always find it especially difficult deciding on who my favourite composer is – I do know for sure however that my favourite concerto is the Rachmaninov 2nd, and I am a bit sore from pinching myself with regard to conducting it for this event!

I hope you all have a fantastic experience being at our Proms concert!  


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