The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is an organisation I’ve had plenty to do with since I was a teenager. They played my first orchestral compositions (now blessedly forgotten); they ran the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra when I played double bass, their concerts introduced me to such key works as Mahler 3, Concierto de Aranjuez and the West Side Story Symphonic Dances; and that’s all before I’d left high school.
Now I’m an adult, I’ve done damn near everything for the orchestra except play in it. Composing, arranging, MCing, pre-concert talks (like next week’s concert), video production, tutoring high school composers for APOPS, and I regularly present radio broadcasts of their concerts on Radio New Zealand Concert (e.g. in two weeks’ time).
Yesterday, I added “conducting” and “fronting for commercial radio” to my APO CV.
Fletch, Vaughan & Megan present the breakfast show on the Top 40 station ZM, and one of their regular segments is “Fact of the Day”. The three of them perform the musical intro sting live every morning:
Last week they pondered having it performed by an orchestra. Long story short:
– ZM is part of The Radio Network
– TRN’s parent company is APN
– APN publishes the New Zealand Herald
– The Herald is the naming rights sponsor of the APO’s 12-concert Premier Series
– TRN talked to APO Sponsorship
– APO Sponsorship talked to APO Artistic
– APO Artistic talked to me.
The Artistic Planning Manager might have been thinking of these vocal mockups from 2011. They were part of my proposal to write the piece that would become Relish in Immature Bombast:
This isn’t thaat far apart from what Fletch, Vaughan and Megan do every morning. A few more voices, a few more octaves, but just as out of tune!
I did two different arrangements: one straight as per their style, and a sad version “for serious facts”.
(I actually worked on these arrangements while in the broadcast booth for Bach’s St John Passion.)
Then came the recording. The three ZM DJs, plus a cohort of videographers, soundies and social media folk, turned up to Philharmonia Hall in Mt Eden. They had their fun in and around the orchestra’s rehearsal space following the full orchestra’s James Bond rehearsal, while the Operations team, with their usual military precision, took exactly 15 minutes to clear the room of extraneous players and set up for an 18-piece string orchestra.
Then it was on me! I’m not a conductor by training or even by habit, but I did get to do these dozen bars as my professional orchestra conducting debut. Was a bit scary demonstrating musicality in front of full-time players who know me more as a composer and general loudmouth, but I got through it by summoning all of my conducting training (one semester with Dr Karen Grylls, nine years ago… I think I got an A- or B+).
It’ll be used for Fact of the Day on air tomorrow morning at about 8:20am, and it’s also in a video on zmonline.com! Click through to enjoy my conducting, Vanessa Carlton piano skills, and general social media fronting.
Freelancing. It’s a fun job.
Update: It’s in the morning show podcast, listen from 44:48)
Speaking of Vanessa Carlton, I uploaded this yesterday: