They came from Orewa. They came from Otara. They came from across Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland. And a bus load drove down from Whangarei.
More than 300 musicians and singers filled the Auckland Town Hall on Sunday 15 March, to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday.
“We had 201 musicians, a mixture of community players and professionals from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO), playing music from Beethoven’s 5th and 9th Symphonies,” said APO Music Director Giordano Bellincampi, who conducted the performance.
“We also had 103 singers, singing with the orchestra, as we performed ‘Ode to Joy’ from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.”
“They created a wonderful wall of sound. It was a celebration of some of Beethoven’s most memorable music,” Bellincampi said.
The score was specially arranged by APO Communities Composer Ryan Youens. “This enabled musicians of all ages and skill levels to experience the joy of performing Beethoven,” Bellincampi said.
Before performing, the musicians and singers observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the attacks on two Christchurch mosques, a year ago, on 15 March. Hoani Waititi Marae chairman Eynon Delamere delivered a karakia and Bellincampi spoke of the power of music to bring people together.
“Beethoven gave the world music, that everyone can enjoy. He gave us music that crosses borders, spans oceans and connects us all,” Bellincampi said. “It speaks to us, regardless of what language we speak, what country we come from, or what we believe in.”
“Music is the universal language. It has the power to bring everyone together. It brought us all here today.”
Admission to the hall was free. The performance was also broadcast live on the Auckland Live Digital Stage in Aotea Square, next to the Auckland Town Hall.
Beethoven’s Big Birthday Bash, kicked off the APO’s Beethoven 250 concert season. It features something the orchestra has never done before, perform a full Beethoven symphony cycle in four concerts over nine days.