Tianyi Lu - Conductor
Michael Houstoun - Piano
Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 14
Richard Strauss: Aus Italien
Michael Houstoun has announced he will retire at the end of 2020, so this is possibly the last (or penultimate) chance to hear this giant of New Zealand music perform as a concerto soloist. His initial studies with Maurice Till included some time at Otago University, and he went on to gain significant success at three of the world’s most distinguished piano competitions: Van Cliburn (1973), Leeds Piano (1975), and the Tchaikovsky Competition (1982).
After a period in London and the USA, he returned to New Zealand in 1981, and has built a reputation as New Zealand’s preeminent pianist. The concerto he will play, Mozart’s Concerto No. 14, was described by the composer as “entirely special” and after Mozart had performed as soloist in its first performance in 1784 he said that “the new concerto I played won extraordinary praise”.
Tianyi Lu trained in Auckland and is now Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. She is clearly a conductor to watch and we are delighted to feature her for the first time.
Given the theme of a celebration of Otago University for the 2019 concerts, the programme opens with Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture which includes the ‘Gaudeamus igitur’ melody, the light-hearted song associated with universities around the world.
The concert closes with Richard Strauss’s Aus Italien. Brahms encouraged Strauss to visit Italy and this tone poem is the result. It consists of four wonderfully varied and evocative depictions of Italian scenes.