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The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) has confirmed that the opening performance for Bayleys Great Classics: Houstoun Plays Rachmaninov will now take place on Thursday 25 March at 7.30pm.

The APO was forced to abandon its original performance date of Thursday 18 February after Auckland went into sudden level 3 lockdown that week.

The performance had sold out and was to be concert pianist and NZ Arts Foundation Laureate Michael Houstoun’s final engagement with the APO as he had planned to embark on a year of retirement engagements across 2021. 

No stranger to COVID induced disruption, Michael has chosen to adopt a defiant approach to the challenges wrought by the global pandemic.

“What the virus has shown me first and foremost is the vanity of making plans. I had actually planned a full year of retirement engagements in 2020 but the virus skittled the whole shebang…  I enjoy playing the piano and so I never see my practise as being wasted. So let’s hope we get to play on March 25 after all – but come what may I’ll roll with the punches.”

Music lovers throughout Auckland and New Zealand will be breathing a sigh of relief at the news that the APO has successfully rescheduled Houstoun Plays Rachmaninov so swiftly.  

Maestro James Judd, who was originally on board to conduct the performance, will unfortunately not be able to join Auckland’s orchestra for this new date due to previous commitments. In his place the APO is fortunate that Vincent Hardaker as NZ Associate Conductor-in-Residence, a position funded by Creative New Zealand, will step in to conduct this special performance at the Auckland Town Hall on Thursday 25 March.

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