Notable Alumni - Gemma New

Bachelor of Music (Hons)

Internationally renowned conductor and Music Director

Gemma New

In 2013, Gemma New was declared by WQXR – New York’s classical radio station, as on of the top five female conductors in the world. She currently serves as Associate Conductor for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and as Music Director for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Ontario, Canada.

She is Founder and Director of the Lunar Ensemble in Baltimore, Maryland and a Dudamel Conducting Fellow of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In this role, she leads LA Phil Symphonies for Youth, Symphonies for Schools and Community Concert programs and is mentored by LA Phil Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel.

In February 2022, Gemma was appointed as the principal conductor and artistic advisor to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. We spoke to her about this latest adventure:

Can you tell us about your new role as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor with the NZSO? What are you most excited about!
We are creating some amazing programs for Christchurch, so I hope everyone can come and enjoy these! I am most excited about the special experiences we will all create and cherish together through these live music performances. 

What goals do you have during your term with the NZSO?
I want every concert to be a transformative experience for our audience. There are so many ways a live performance can reach deep into our current selves and uplift us; bringing such a range of messages, from amazement to comfort, from beauty to visceral confrontation. My goal is to explore how we can best make these connections and experiences for New Zealanders at the NZSO. 

With a decade overseas under your belt, was coming back to NZ always your plan?
It is such a pleasure to be rejoining the New Zealand music community! I am grateful to those mentors who taught and inspired me as I grew up in New Zealand, and I want to be able to contribute to the arts in New Zealand and to support the next generation of Kiwi artists. My career is now spread over three continents, so home base will be somewhat in the middle, in California.

As someone who is very unfamiliar with classical music, what would you recommend people listen to to get a taste of what you’re about?
I would recommend going to a live concert of the orchestra performing any program you think you might like! There is a wonderful variety of programs the orchestra programs, from the baroque, classical, romantic, 20th century and contemporary, to broadway, jazz, movies, rock, hip hop, even heavy metal! There’s concerts for all ages too, where the orchestra welcomes people to the hall to learn more about the different instruments and styles of the orchestra. Music is about delighting in what relates to you, and broadening your horizons with new encounters.