Cleveland goes for New Zealander

Cleveland goes for New Zealander


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2019

The Cleveland Orchestra has called in a late replacement this weekend for Bramwell Tovey, who is receiving medical treatment.

Making her Cleveland debut will be rising conductor, Gemma New, possibly the first New Zealander to lead a major US orchestra.


  • fflambeau says:

    Bramwell Tovey is not the music director or chief- conductor in Cleveland. Franz Welser-Möst is and he’s been there something like 17 years. I believe Tovey is only a guest conductor (he’s not even listed on the Cleveland Orchestra’s website under conductors).

    However, Gemma New is an up and coming, talented conductor. She’s an excellent replacement.

    • Nick2 says:

      I am curious. Where in the above does it say anything about Bramwell Tovey being the Music Director or Chief-Conductor? It doesn’t as far as I can see. So why bring it up?

  • fflambeau says:

    I’m looking at the Cleveland Orchestra’s schedule for the coming year and note that it has many outstanding, varied guest conductors:

    Jaap van Sweden, Herbert Blomstedt, Michael Tilson Thomas, Jahja Ling, Susanna Mälkki , Philippe Herewegge, Osmo Vänskä, Jakub Hrůša, Nicholas McGegan, Alan Gilbert, Dima Slobodeniouk, Asher Fisch, and more (I couldn’t get September to download on their calendar).

    That’s impressive.

  • John Crockett says:

    Gemma New has conducted the chamber orchestra of the Classical Music Institute in San Antonio, TX, several times. Her choice of repertoire, her pre-performance presentations, and her conducting itself were well regarded and appreciated.

  • Charles says:

    And Gemma New was an associate conductor of the NJSO for several years and has done gigs with the NY Philharmonic.

  • Gemma New fan says:

    She literally just finished up concerts with the San Francisco Symphony a week ago. So, your final claim may not be entirely accurate….

    Also, she led Young People’s Concerts with the NYPhil this past season, and has been working with other US orchestras, including St. Louis, in recent seasons.

    • M2N2K says:

      The post’s “final claim” – that Gemma New may “possibly” be “the first New Zealander to lead a major US orchestra” is in no way contradicted by what you wrote here. In fact, you may have actually strengthened its validity.

  • Hometown Pride says:

    Gemma is also the music director with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Southern Ontario! She is a wonderful presence in our community!

  • DC says:

    Gemma conducted in San Francisco on July 10, 13 and 14. And did so spectacularly!

  • J. Savage says:

    She’s a very capable conductor & will be a fine replacement for Maestro Tovey.

  • Marj says:

    She is great. Kiwis are proud of her achievements!

  • Ed says:

    To strengthen DC’s comment above, Gemma New conducted THE San Francisco Symphony in Beethoven’s 9th earlier in July. I was in Europe during this time, but the comments and reviews I saw were unanimously positive.

  • M2N2K says:

    She is a very pleasant person and a gifted conductor.