St. Louis Symphony Announces 'New' Resident Conductor in Gemma New

By Philip Trapp on Jun 04, 2016 06:31 AM EDT

The St. Louis Symphony has named Gemma New as their new resident conductor. New joins the symphony from Ontario, Canada's Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. She will replace Steven Jarvi, St. Louis Symphony's current conductor, beginning with the 2016-17 season.

A part of New's responsibilities will be acting as music director for St. Louis Symphony's youth orchestra. St. Louis Public Radio reports that New is excited about the opportunity to again work with a youth orchestra, as she began her professional career with the Christchurch Youth Orchestra : 

"There's something very special about growing with young people, discovering this music and orchestral playing, and growing as people as much as becoming great musicians," New said.

In addition to her current post as music director for the Hamilton Philharmonic, New is also the founder and director of Baltimore contemporary musical collective Lunar Ensemble and associate conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Born in New Zealand, New spoke to James Strecker about her musical upbringing and people's perceptions of New Zealand as devoid of any classical music or culture:

"People sometimes say to me that because New Zealand is a small and remote country, they suspect we might not be in touch with the classical music tradition, but this is not the case. We have international stars visiting all the time, many professional and youth orchestras throughout the country, and many of our teachers and professional musicians are world class."

New, just 29 years old, graduated from New Zealand's University of Canterbury with a degree in violin performance and earned her Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Institute in Baltimore, under the direction of famed conductor Marin Alsop.

During the 2014-2015 season, New was a Dudamel Conducting Fellow for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she conducted the program "Symphonies for Youth" and other concerts. 

Watch a brief interview clip with New and the Hamilton Philharmonic:

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