Just in: New Zealand calls for Gemma

Just in: New Zealand calls for Gemma


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2022

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has appointed Gemma New as its next principal conductor, starting immediately.

Gemma, 35, has a three-year contract.

A New Zealand citizen, she is presently Music Director of Canada’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.


  • MacroV says:

    She conducted the National Symphony a couple weeks ago. The conductor’s work really is in rehearsal, not in their podium choreography, but she came across very well IMHO.

  • Freewheeler says:

    Disgusting. Couldn’t they find a Maori to do the job?

  • One Musketeer says:

    They offered her Music Director in December, which she declined. This is a relegation prize for them – she’s on to bigger things.

    • Ramesh Nair says:

      So I heard about turning down the MD position.
      Naxos has offered the NZSO a small stream of recording work over the past couple of decades. If this is still ongoing, she may get a chance to increase her profile through this, the way Inkinen early in his career was able to record a Sibelius symphony cycle with the NZSO. The North American orchestras are so expensive that it’s almost impossible for a relatively unknown conductor to be given a recording contract. The orchestra labels in North America eg Seattle, Cleveland, Chicago Resound etc mainly showcase their Music Directors for these recordings.

      With so many conductors in their 20s and 30s in competition for jobs, hopefully New’s management is making an attempt to sweet talk Naxos into giving her some work she can use as calling cards, eg a ‘woman conducting a female composer’ angle, the way Erato has Laurence Equilbey on a Louise Farrenc symphonies series.

      • TI says:

        Here’s a suggestion – get her and the NZSO to (re)record the works of Salina Fisher and John Psathas – that way you kill three birds with one stone, you show New’s abilities with contemporary music, give a broader platform to two of NZ’s best composers and increase the audience for the NZSO and NZ composers !

        Here’s hoping for good things – it’s fantastic that we can recruit a Kiwi on the way up and hopefully that can also apply to some of the soloists we see in future years?

        PS: We don’t need another Sibelius or any other cycle, frankly. It would have been brilliant if the Mahler symphonies under Edo de Waart could be released somehow as they were all excellent concerts.

  • Hans says:

    A great musician, and a very humble person. Many congratulations!

  • Bill Nerenberg says:

    She was a student of mine at the Peabody Conservatory. I knew then that she was headed for success. Lovely young woman with unlimited potential.

  • Barbara says:

    Great to have her in NZ. Kia Kaha