Gemma New will be sticking around for a few more years.
The New Zealand-born, San Diego-based maestro has just re-upped as the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s music director for three more seasons.
New was appointed music director in the spring of 2015, and made her mainstage debut in February 2016. Her initial three-year contract had been extended through July 2021. This most recent extension will commence next September and run through 2023-2024.
“The contract renewal happened naturally through the satisfaction of our work together over the past seasons, and open conversations about planning for the future of the HPO,” New told The Spectator from Wellington, New Zealand, where next week she will begin rehearsals with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for a concert there on Nov. 20 and in Auckland the following evening.
Over the past six years, New has spearheaded a number of initiatives at the HPO. In her inaugural season, she implemented the Marz Homes Family Concert series and, in 2016-2017, launched the Intimate and Immersive series. On the education front, she re-established an annual daytime concert for schools, regularly welcomed students to sit onstage during HPO rehearsals, and encouraged a close relationship with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. New has also overseen the hires of Jessie Brooks as principal horn, Dominic Desautels as principal clarinet, and Aleh Remezau as principal oboe, plus first section violinist Lyssa Pelton.
Not surprisingly, the HPO top brass are tickled pink to have inked New to an extension.
“Gemma’s vision in programming ambitious and engaging works for the mainstage along with developing new and diverse programs for the community has brought the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra to new heights,” said HPO board of directors chair Anne Tennier in a news release. “We are delighted that we will continue to share in Gemma’s artistic vision and leadership.”
HPO executive director Kim Varian was just as effusive.