Peter Thomas w Music Director & Conductor
Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M w Music Director Emeritus

Auckland Symphony Orchestra
Upcoming Concerts
2011 Season
Past Programmes
Contact the ASO



Past Reviews
What People Have Written About Auckland Symphony Orchestra Concerts



REVIEW - May 2010

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gary Daverne and associate conductor, Peter Thomas, presented two Free Family Sunday afternoon concerts 2nd and 9th May 2010 at the Bruce Mason Centre – Takapuna and in the Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall, to capacity audiences.

The 75 minutes approx, without an interval programme, was themed, ABC, a programme of music titles starting with the letters A B or C and included:
Antar Symphony (3rd Movement), Rimsky-Korsakov - Bacchanale (Samson and Delilah), Saint Saens - Comedian’s Gallop, Kabalevsky - Cordoba, Albeniz - America (West Side Story), Bernstein - Bugler’s Holiday, Leroy Anderson - Classical Gas, Mason Williams with guitar Soloist: Sasha Witten-Hannah - Canon in D, Pachebele - ABBA Songs, Andersson, Ulvaeus and Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Gregson-Williams.

Here are some of the emailed comments to the orchestra from the audience.
Hi Gary
Wo Wo Wo Wo Waterloo da de da de de waterloo
Thank you.
Mum and I LOVED the concert. We were right above the harpist. Real foot tapping stuff. Loved Classical Gas and the little percussionist boy doing the Comedian's Galop. All good really.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Annette and mum
Hi there Gary
Another wonderful concert. Thank you. We really enjoyed it.
Just a thought for planning a concert – it would be so nice for the audience to be able to hear the restored organ in all its glory – with or without the orchestra.

Of course, there would have to be a different item for the concert at the BM Centre. But I guess that could be arranged. I think the ABC theme attracted a lot of families with preschoolers – some with two or three. We certainly had heaps around us.

Oh well, they are future players and audience members I guess.
Thanks again – and keep up the good work.
Dear Gary,
Thank you for that lovely concert last Sunday at Bruce Mason, my wife and friends really enjoyed it (we always manage to get tickets to take friends).
I have been thinking of what you said about themes for future concerts.
For your next Family Concert you might like to consider, perhaps:
BBC — British Beetles to Coates and more! This could include lots of British composers like Elgar etc. When Ron Goodwin came to New Zealand some years ago he wrote The Earnslaw Theme, a wonderful piece of music depicting New Zealand.
Beethoven's Tenth Symphony was discovered by British Professor of Music, Barry Cooper, in Germany and completed by Barry Cooper.
Best wishes. Looking forward to your Family Concert in August.
Hi Gary,
I enjoyed the concert very much on Sunday, as always,
following your request regarding subjects for themes may I suggest the following could be of help, "myths” (mythology & legends)
I do hope this may be of help,
Sincerely regards,
Hi Gary,
Thank you. What a stunning concert and a wow of an audience.
Loved the choice of music from your Fanfare to the Waterloo encore.
Look forward to your next concert.
To the ASO,
Thank you all for another great concert, everyone was certainly in top form. I especially liked the arrangement of the Pacheble Canon. Made a pleasant change from the usual versions we hear.
I am one of your regular concert-goers.
LOVED the Narnia….I’ll have to track down a recording of the soundtrack!  And the audience were really into the ABBA, everyone around me were boogying in their seats.  Shame about the noisy kids near where I was sitting….in the dark, my evil eye I gave them and their parents didn’t work L
Hope you have a quiet day lined up!
Hello, just wanted to say THANK YOU for a fantastic concert yesterday.
We had a great time and my boys aged 8 & 9 loved it.
Look forward to seeing you all again.
Kind regards, Lissa, Cody & Devon
Hello Gary,
We all enjoyed the concert this afternoon. I do like watching you conduct and appreciated the range of music items.
We were very pleased to have the chance to listen to Sasha playing as well.
Looking forward to the next concert.
All the best
Great concert yesterday, thanks.

Last Night of the Proms 2010

Dear Gary

Bravo!!! Absolutely magnificent!!! You've outdone yourself once again.

We thoroughly enjoyed Saturday night - The Last Night of the Proms - and much of the music is still ringing in my ears. The one big night of the year to sing to your hearts content. What a fabulous lineup of artists you put together to complement the ASO and the ASC. That Sasha Whitten-Hannah is incredibly talented. I know his father Alex who must be very proud of a young man like that.

As always, the City of Sails Pipe Band gave it all they had and wasn't the audience very appreciative of their 10 years attendance at the Proms? As were the wonderful Doran Gregory Irish Dancers. Some of them must have been very young girls when they started if they were in the Proms 10 years ago. We would love to hear Ainslie and Danielle more...just a small taste of their beautiful voices. And was it Alan Pitts on the piano?? That was a very nice singalong touch, topped off with the birthday cake.

Gary, what is the name of the first pipe piece where the pipeband came on? That is a particularly strirring piece of music I've heard on a number of occasions and would like to get hold of.

In closing Gary, can I just thank you again most sincerely for your committment to the ASO since 1975, and the wonderful concerts and music you have brought to the North Shore, to Auckland and to New Zealand. Not to mention abroad as well!! It is a magnificent orchestra and your leadership over more than three decades has made it what it is today. We all greatly appreciate your musical talent which results in so much happiness for so many people.

With best personal regards,

Andrew Williams
Mayor of North Shore City


Past Reviews
Last Night of the Proms

BRUCE MASON CENTRE 19/20 June 2004

Conducted by Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M.

and friends.
Conducted by Leonie Lawson N.Z.C.M.

Reviewed by Jane Smyth

Auckland Symphony Orchestra – Conductor: Gary Daverne, in rehearsal at the Bruce Mason Centre, for the LAST NIGHT of the PROMS with The Doran-Gregory Irish Dancers. Photo by Neil Shepherd

Not one empty seat in a theatre that seats around 1200 people.

Two performances, sold out, five weeks prior to the performances.

An audience came with their flags, their hooters and their whistles. They sang, clapped, stood and swayed, waving their arms, and flags. They dressed up, some painted their faces, the Pearlies were there, in full costume, but most of all they came to be involved, have fun and participate in a total over the top extravaganza.

The orchestra, of some 80 players, was on the stage with the choir and shadow conductor seated in front.

The large choir, of some 140, was in fine voice, responding wonderfully to their guest replacement conductor, Leonie Lawson. >

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra were in top form, playing at their best, as was their founder and music director/conductor, Gary Daverne. He also presented, from the podium, the total performance. What stage presence this man has.

In the second half, the orchestra and choir, added to the spectacle by displayed their red, white and blue colours, in the form of coloured wigs, hats, flags and tinsel.

The whole event was a musical spectacle, with brilliant stage lighting, effects, projected pictures and images, along with words to the songs for the audience to join in, as they did with exuberance. Stage manager, Steve Pipes, must take much of the credit, along with his technical, backstage crew.

The three vocal soloists, Madeleine Bruce-Wright, John Stanley and Wayne Daverne, did themselves proud.

The pipes and drums of the City of Sails Pipe Band, with Pipe Major, Bent Ballantyne, and Charlotte, the young sword dancer, were the expected hit.
‘Highland Cathedral’ is a magical musical number, pipes, drums and orchestra all together.

The big surprise for the audience was the Irish Dancers, in ‘Lord of the Dance’. as there was no mention of the dancers on the programme.

Two dancers started out on a cat-walk behind a gauze screen, at the back of the orchestra, with smoke and subdued, silhouetted lighting. The numbers of dancers increased to a straight line of 13. The tempo changed, the screen lifted and the taps were away. Spectacular choreography especially the hand and arm movements. The noise of the taps at times over powered, the not too quiet, orchestra. The audience was stunned so much that they forgot to clap with the music as they usually do. Well done, The Doran – Gregory Irish Dancers.
Encored of course, with clapping.

During ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, the balloons and tickertape fell from the ceiling. The audience had been given streamers at the interval. What a thrill to see all these mature people acting like children. Popping balloons, throwing streamers, have so much fun and pleasure.

Thousands of united, happy people. Very rare and very special.

Thank you, Bruce Mason Centre. Thank you all those involved.

The programme presented was.

1. God save the Queen with Fanfare
2. Youth of Britain - Eric Coates
3. The Heavens are Telling - Hadyn
4. Tarantara (Pirates of Penzance) - Gilbert and Sullivan
5. Trumpet Tune and Air – Purcell
6. The Day of Aranga - Gary Daverne
7. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
8. We’ll Keep a Welcome -
9. Flower of Scotland
10. Colonel Bogey
11. The Yeomen of England
12. Men of Harlech
13. Lord of the Dance


1. Highland Cathedral
2. Scottish Medley
3. James Bond 007 Theme
4. When I'm 64 - Beatles
5. Love Changes Ev’rything (Aspects of Love) - Lloyd Webber
6. Lloyd Webber Celebration - Herod – JC Superstar
7. Go Go Go Joseph - Joe's Dreamcoat.
8. Sailors Hornpipe
9. Rule Britannia
10. Land of Hope and Glory (Pomp and Circumstance No. 1)
11. Jerusalem
12. Now is the Hour.
13. You’ll Never Walk Alone




By Lynette Urlich

Matakana Primary School Hall came alive with the playful wit of conductor Gary Daverne and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra on the afternoon of Saturday May 8th.

Having missed the concert at the Town Hall last week, (and the performance at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna on the 9th being sold out) I determined I was NOT going to miss this one, and it was well worth the one and a half hour drive from Auckland.

I didn’t expect the big turn out – in fact, I had fears I might be relegated to “standing room only” on the deck outside the hall. Thanks to the charity of the lady on the door, I made it inside. (Next year I’m calling ahead)

The programme, devoted entirely to our youth, was vibrant and fun. It began with Eric Coates’s ‘Youth of Britain’. (The third movement of Coates’s ‘The Three Elizabeth’s’) I sat enthralled, with tears in my eyes, and visions of England’s fatherless children of the war years going through my mind. Despite the hardships of war, there was joy and laughter.

The Children’s Overture by Roger Quilter. Based on children’s nursery rhymes including, Girls and Boys Come Out to Play, I Saw Three Ships, Sing a Song of Sixpence, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, it brought to mind play grounds brimming with children and mothers bathing babies. Sweet memories of bathing my own children too.

The highlight of this concert was definitely Havanaise by Camille Saint-Saëns, with 15 year old, solo violinist, Amalia Hall. Intricate in parts, Saint-Saëns would be well pleased with Amalia’s treatment of his work. Amalia displays a maturity and an extraordinary sensitivity unusual in one so young. An international prize winner, she has played with this orchestra and others frequently since age. I know we will hear so much more from her in the future.
Amalia graced us with an encore – ‘Hot Canary’ by Paul Nero. Light and slightly jazzy, the kids enjoyed its playfulness.

Fun and laughter followed as Mr. Daverne led us through a tour of the orchestra, introducing each family of instruments along the way. Henry Purcell’s Rondo served well as the vehicle. Informative for the uninitiated in orchestral music and undoubtedly inspiring for the musically inclined. Music is fun, the message well delivered.

The Overture ‘Youth of Auckland’ by conductor Gary Daverne followed. Commissioned by the Auckland Secondary Schools’ Youth Orchestra in 1986, Mr. Daverne’s composition evokes thoughts of young people together – playing team sports, racing horses across hilltops, laughing, loving life, learning – always together. It’s an ideal given voice and brought to life. Conducted this time by assistant conductor Jonathon Baker.

Bob Lowden’s arrangement of ‘Disney Magic’ came next and I believe every adult present sat recalling holiday afternoons in cinemas with snifters and ice creams, just as I did. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah (Song of the South), Candle on the Water (Pete’s Dragon), Chim Chim Cher-ee, (Mary Poppins), A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,(Cinderella), and It’s a Small World, (Disneyland Attraction) were all included.

All fidgeting came to a stop when music from the Harry Potter film by movie veteran John Williams was played. Young and old alike laughed at the witchy pianist (late again) and gasped at the HUGE toy rat. As one of the very few people who have NEVER seen a Harry Potter movie, I resolved within the first 16 bars what my Mother’s Day treat would be. Visions of witches on broomsticks, villains and spells gone wrong abounded while the orchestra played and I can’t wait to see the films.

We all hoped for an encore, and we got one. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO! Just the right note to close on, rousing, strong and still youthful after nearly 40 years.

Everyone in the hall, orchestra and conductor included, had a wonderful time. For many it was their first experience of live orchestral music and they were suitably impressed. Their chatter as we reluctantly left the hall was evidence of that. Just as our treasured childhood memories endure, this concert will endure also.

Hopefully, with support, the Auckland Symphony Orchestra will return to Matakana. I for one wouldn’t miss it.


Fiona Mannington (piano), winner of the Vodaphone Silver Ferns, By Day By Night - Make a Wish Come True, competition, playing with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, to a capacity audience, at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, 24 November 2002.

Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne
accordion soloist Kevin Friedrich - peforming "Gem of the Kaipara" by Gary Daverne
Bruce Mason Center, Sunday 12 May, 2002

Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Gary Daverne - Conductor

17 May 2002
"Gem of the Kaipara" World Premiere a Major Success - Contributed by Lionel Reekie
...from International News - Accordions Worldwide (The largest Accordion Internet Site in the World)

New York based accordionist Kevin Friedrich and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra strings presented the world premiere of "Gem of the Kaipara" for solo accordion, string orchestra and percussion, composed by Gary Daverne last weekend to a completely sold-out audience in Dargaville, New Zealand.

Written as a musical tribute to the late Jenny Cocurullo, long time accordion and arts supporter and Life Member of the New Zealand Accordion Association, the premiere of "Gem of the Kaipara" received a standing ovation. At the request of the concert organizers, the work was played a second time and received another standing ovation.

Jenny had always promoted the Kaipara region of New Zealand as the gem of the north, however, she was in turn considered the Gem of the Kaipara, thus the title of the new work by Gary Daverne which was commissioned by the Kaipara District Council.

Kevin, President of the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA), presented a series of three concerts as guest soloist with Gary Daverne and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, one of New Zealand's largest Symphony orchestras with over 80 members. Performing in both Auckland and Dargaville utilizing his talents as an exponent of the button and piano accordion, Kevin also performed "Rhapsody for Accordion Orchestra" (Gary Daverne) on bayan and "Gem of the Kaipara" for accordion and string orchestra on piano accordion.

Performing to a combined audience of over 3,000 people, the well received concerts provided great exposure for the accordion as well as presenting an exciting new accordion/orchestral work by world renowned composer and conductor of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Gary Daverne.

15 May 2002
"Around the World" Captivates Audience
...from the Dargaville & Districts News
Saturday nights "Gem of the Kaipara" concert captivated the 440 people who crammed Dargaville's Town Hall and has also drawn high praise from visiting musicians from the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.

The programme Around the World in 80 Minutes ranged from classical through to the Star Trek Theme, but the highlight was the world premiere of "Gem of the Kaipara" composed by the orchestra's conductor, Gary Daverne, in memory of the late Jenny Cocurullo.

This featured locally born virtuoso accordionist Kevin Friedrich, who also played with the orchestra during Rhapsody for Accordion and Orchestra also composed by conductor, Gary Daverne.

"Gem of the Kaipara" gained a standing ovation and was played twice, the second time supplemented by a PowerPoint presentation showing scenic features of the Kaipara plus a number of pictures of Mrs. Cocurullo.

Members of the audience spoken to, were unanimous in praise both for the concert and commissioned work.

14 May 2002
...from the Kauri Coast Advocate
Hundreds of Kaipara folk are still misty eyed after Saturday night's memorable and ground-breaking concert by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra in Dargaville.

Expatriate Kaipara local and world renowned accordionist, Kevin Friedrich peformed as soloist for the haunting piece by ASO conductor Gary Daverne, "Gem of the Kaipara" which was written and played as a tribute to his friend, the late Jenny Cocurullo.

The orchestra's performance, bringing the glittering world of music to Dargaville, brought the house down.

1 May 2002
Tickets Rushed... demand exceeds seating availability
...from the Dargaville & Districts News

Demand for tickets at the Auckland Symphony Orchestra's "Gem of the Kaipara" concert on May 11 in Dargaville, has totally outstripped supply despite an extra 100 tickets being made available. These were snapped up and there was a waiting list of more than 70.

Organizers were overwhelmed by the response and also at the local generosity of the community by raising more than $10,000 that allowed the concert to be free.

The concert is the third special event organized by the Kaipara District Council in line with its policy of putting on a major event in Dargaville each year.

PRESS REVIEW. North Shore Times 12 July 2001
Clackers, whistles and bobbies, a symphony of fun in Takapuna.

Last weekend the Bruce Mason Centre was certainly the place to be if you enjoy fantastic music and entertainment.

You would be forgiven if you thought the Brits had come to town – there were Pearly Kings & Queens, - many sequined bowler hats, London Bobbies, clackers, whistles and all the paraphernalia that goes with the traditional Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Two full houses were treated to incredible performances from the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M. and the North Shore City 100 Voice Choral joined by another 100 ‘friends’ from associated choirs.
Balloons cascaded from the ceiling and the audience were showered with streamers as the 1700 strong crowd joined with the choirs to the resounding chorus of “Rule Britannia” waving British and New Zealand flags patriotically. All age groups had an unforgettable time and it was evident that the Proms will be an event not to miss next year when they return to the Bruce Mason Centre.

Gary Daverne – world-renowned conductor commented that in all his years of conducting he had never experienced such an enthusiastic and responsive audience. He said it was the most memorable and enjoyable highlight in his conducting career and looks forward to the Last Night of the Proms next year.

3 July 2001

Dear Gary

I must compliment you on your selection of material for the Proms concerts. I never imagined how much fun the performances would be - it was a blast (loved every minute of it).

Thank you so much.Bobby

(Choir member)

11 July 2001

"How lucky North Shore residents were this last Sunday to have the opportunity to reminisce with “Old England”.

This last weekend at the Bruce Mason Centre.“ The Last Night of the Proms” was presented by Gary Daverne and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra along with Margot Lloyd’s 100 Voice Chorale plus friends. What a splendid party was had by all. .......

Thanks to Gary, the Conductor and master of Ceremonies, for presenting such a memorable show which I am sure brought wonderful memories to those of us you enjoy such musical traditions. Let’s make this an annual festival - PLEASE????Glennis Sims

30 June 2001

Dear Gary

From Lew and I (and I am sure all who were at the Bruce Mason tonight 30 June) thank you from the bottom of our hearts for a fantastic experience.

We loved every minute of it! Take care - "congratulations to all involved on a job magnificently done"

Lew and Marilyn

01 July 2001

Dear Gary

The show last evening was wonderful. Please make it an Annual Musical Event.
The choir was awesome, so many voices. Orchestra superb as usual.

Congratulations, you make it all look so easy, but can imagine the organization with so many performers.Joanne and Noel McCarthy

05 July 2001

"Capacity audiences, all with their whistles, hooters, flags, patriotic hats, costumes and flags. They stood, they sang, they swayed and waved their flags and arms over their heads, some even danced. When the 1000 balloons dropped, the audience went even wilder. Streamers were thrown.

A real musical party. One could not help getting involved, being part of it and enjoying themselves to the max. The atmosphere was electric.

What a wonderful, exciting feeling."

Tony Williams

2 July 2001

Dear Gary Daverne

We just had to put pen to paper to once again say thank you for a most entertaining afternoon yesterday. Everything was excellent. It’s so lovely at a concert like that we become one big happy family.

Music you had chosen was so easy to listen to and enjoy. The orchestra was superb and the choice so very good. All this made us the audience just want to sing our hearts out.

Your soloists had such wonderful voices.

We will be keeping our eyes open next year for when hopefully you will have another last Night of the Proms. I’m sure tickets will sell even faster than they did this year.

Thanks once again from all of us

Jacky Smith
on behalf of the Pearly Group

06 July 2001

Hi Gary,

I always thought the "Last Night of the Proms" concerts a bit silly when I watched them on TV (and it's not my favourite music either) but being involved in one, I can now see the point. What I enjoyed best about the concert was driving away afterwards and seeing groups of grown adults walking down the road to their cars waving flags, holding balloons and wearing silly hats. And they hadn't even been drinking! When I came back over the Harbour Bridge on Sunday evening, I passed a minibus with 'Roskill Masonic Lodge' written on it, and inside it was full of little old ladies waving British flags and still enjoying themselves!

Cheers, >Olwyn Green

14 May 2001
For the attention of Gary Daverne O.N.Z.M.

Dear Sir

I would just like to say thank you to you and the members of the orchestra and all connected with putting on the Mother’s Day concert yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought the choice of music excellent.

I am a fairly new comer to New Zealand from Birmingham, England and must say I am now looking forward to more concerts with the Auckland Symphony.

I wish you all continued success.
Again many thanks.

Yours sincerely
Anita (Pettit)

Audience impressions of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra concerts.

10 May 2000

From Pamela Brown

Dear Sir,

I would like to sincerely thank yourself and the orchestra for the wonderful programme last Sunday.

It is indeed a privilege to be able to be entertained by such a dynamic orchestra, and just by donation. It was so great it brought tears to my eyes; I have never heard music played by so many, nor so well.

Please pass on congratulations and thanks to the orchestra who gave up their time and worked so hard at entertaining the audience.
My heartfelt thanks.


Pamela Brown

14 May 2000

From Rodney Michie

Dear Gary

Congratulations on your concert held today at the Bruce Mason Centre. It was most enjoyable.

I am writing to particualrly compliemnt you on including "Autumn" from "The Seasons". I guess a number in the audience would not have had an opportunity to enjoy music by Glazunov before. I know that you played the Overture he wrote for Borodin's Prince Igor, last year and I notice from your website that you have conducted the Saxophone Concerto previously. He has been treated as a Cinderella among composers for a long time and it is most pleasing to see the amount of his music being performed and recorded in recent years.

Keep up the good work.

Best Wishes

Rodney Michie

P.S. I bought the CD of your orchestral music released 10 years ago soon after it's release. I hope you can include something of your own in future concerts.


1999 Reviews

Review November 28 1999

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra's Free Family Concert held on Sunday evening 28 November 1999 at the Auckland Town Hall was very enjoyable in its variety and execution. A programme of music from Dvorak's Symphony No.8 to music from the film Forrest Gump.

The concert started with a lively rendition of the Zampa Overture by Ferd. Herold which came across to the audience, more as an encore than an overture.

Graham Wardrop, a highly acclaimed Christchurch guitarist performed Cavatina by Stanley Myers and Classical Gas by Mason Williams. Both these pieces were a real treat to listen to, and provided a richness of sound in a unique performance which had the audience enthralled.

The 80 member orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, played superbly to an appreciative audience. Other highlights included on the programme was a premier performance of 'Caprice for Orchestra' composed by conductor and an arrangement of "Chess", by Phil Hickman, a former orchestra member.

By finishing off with "A Duke Ellington Suite", the audience left tapping their feet and humming the well known Ellington tunes.

Once again, a very enjoyable performance from the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.


1998 Reviews


Review 11th December 1998 - From an audience perspective

Joy Fergusson
The Managing Director
Lewis Eady Limited
PO Box 99-801

Dear Sir,

May I congratulate you for sponsoring the free concert at the Auckland Town Hall on December 11, by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.

It was a memorable experience for me to see and hear so many of Auckland's youth, thoroughly trained and singing with evident enjoyment, the well-known Christmas carols. I am sure it was an experience they will long remember also.

I had not previously heard the A.S.O. before, although I regularly attend orchestral concerts in the city and our party enjoyed their playing greatly. What a superb conductor Gary Daverne is, for both choir and orchestra.

Thank you for a lovely "warm-up' for Christmas and I wish you the compliments of the season.

Yours sincerely

Joy Fergusson


Review 17 May 1998

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra's Free Family Concert held Sunday afternoon 17 May 1998 at the Auckland Town Hall was an outstanding success in every way.

Richard Liu, a brilliant young Taiwanese pianist performed the 1st movement of the popular, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with style and flare. The other soloist, James Tibbles was dynamic on the Town Hall organ, in the Saint Saëns Organ Symphony.

The 75 member orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, once again played superbly to a more than capacity audience of 1600 people, with people sitting behind the orchestra on the choir rises in front of the organ.

The family audience was warm, responsive and enthusiastic.

Unfortunately, hundreds of people were turned away, as the hall was full to capacity 15 minutes before starting time.

A tribute was made to Frank Sinatra, with the orchestra playing New York, New York.

Other works on the programme included:

London Suite

Eric Coates

Spartacus (Onedin Line)>


Andante Cantabile


'Sunset Boulevard' Selections

Lloyd Webber

'A Billy Joel Song' Selection



Review 2nd August 1998

The Free Family Festival Concert held on August 2nd 1998, at the Aotea Centre with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, ONZM, was once again an outstanding success in every way.

The Centre was filled with a capacity family audience of over 2000 people. As this concert was associated with the Youth Festival, there were many young people in the audience. The 80+ member community orchestra, played superbly, to a warm, responsive and enthusiastic audience.

The programme was comprised of festive music, including: Academic Festival Overture (Brahms), Music from the Royal Fireworks (Handel), The Peanut Polka (Robert Farnon), Amparito Roca (Jaime Texidor), Entry of the Gladiators (Julius Fucik) and a beautiful Taiwanese Folk Song by Tung Yu-Shen.

The real show stealers on the day were the two dance groups. Firstly, the 24 young girls from the Dianne Wallace School of Dance, who square danced to the Pops Hoe-Down and then the 18 Irish dancers from the Connolly School of Irish Dancing, who tapped their way to exhaustion, to the Lord of the Dance.

Truly a wonderful afternoon's entertainment.


Review 7th December 1998

The Free Family Concert held Sunday, early evening, (29 November 1998) at the Auckland Town Hall with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, ONZM, was once again an outstanding success and very rewarding.

Usually these concerts start at 2.30 pm but due to the Santa Parade, the starting time was delayed till 6.30pm. This did not appear to affect the attendance as a near capacity audience of about 1400 people turned up, to hear this popular orchestra.

The theme for this concert was music by popular Russian composers and included:

Night on a Bare Mountain - Mussorgsky
March Slave - Tchaikovsky
Procession of the Nobles - Rimsky-Korsakov
Saxophone Concerto - Glazounov
Serenade - Borodin
Waltz of the Flowers - Tchaikovsky

The family audience was warm and appreciative, especially towards the visiting guest conductor and saxophone soloist, Norbert Nozy, from Belgium. He performed the Glazounov Saxophone Concerto. His style, tone and technique, were stunning. His encore - Czardas by Monti, received a standing ovation with choruses of "bravo".

Norbert Nozy, has since 1985, been the director of the Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides. Together they have recorded in excess of forty CDs.

He has won numerous national and international awards for saxophone.

In 1991 he was awarded the Fugue Trophy, by the Belgian Composers' Union, in recognition of his dynamic action in favour of Belgian music.

Mr Nozy also conducted two works, Night on a Bare Mountain and Marche Slave with strong direction and interruption. The orchestra responded as required, giving a fine performance.

Gary Daverne and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra must be congratulated for bringing such fine overseas talent, to Auckland audiences.

A second encore was played by the orchestra, the love theme from the film, Titanic. Hardly Russian, but never the less, thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.

A good early Sunday evening's entertainment, was had by all. And it certainly showed, both with audience and orchestra.


The Auckland Symphony Orchestra | Upcoming Concerts | 2010 Season
Past Programmes | Contact the ASO | Past Reviews