NZSO-MMQ happy collaboration

New Zealand Orchestra and Modern Maori Quartet create new, fun music together.

New Zealand Orchestra and Modern Maori Quartet create new, fun music together.

BIG SOUND: The New Symphony Orchestra partners up with the Modern Maori Quartet to bring a big sound and wide range of tunes to audiences around the country. Pictures supplied
NZSO with Modern Maori Quartet

ALWAYS keen to try something a bit different, the New Zealand Orchestra was happy to work with the Modern Maori Quartet, says NZSO associate conductor Hamish McKeich.

Part of the motivation was to continue the NZSO tradition of working with musicians and singers from a range of genres. Part of it was to reach new audiences, including people who have never attended an orchestral performance.

“The Modern Maori Quartet are re-enlivening the Howard Morrison Quartet tradition,” says McKeich.

“They sing in close, four-part harmony and they perform a lot of their own material. They are multi-talented and very good at comedy.”

This has brought about some challenges for the NZSO. Because the quartet members are so good at improv. and ad-libs, this sometimes slips into the songs, says McKeich.

“But when working with something as large as an orchestra there does have to be some give and take. We’re both up to the task of getting it right to make it fun for everyone.”

Several New Zealand composers helped with arrangements of pieces in the programme, including the quartet’s original songs. This meant the partnership was very much a collaborative project with the NZSO, says McKeich.

“We aren’t simply a giant backing band for the quartet. We’ve joined forces to create new music. That’s where the magic happens. All the different arrangements brought different colours to the music. The quartet is really professional.”

The NZSO and the quartet partnership features new arrangements in English and in te reo Maori of showband classics and pop hits. The programme includes the rousing Haere Mai, Pakanga and Aroha medleys, singalong favourite Ten Guitars, and the 1970s R&B hit Float On.

The quartet have also written new original songs which will be performed with arrangements by seven New Zealand composers.

The Modern Maori Quartet’s James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora were eager to work with the NZSO.

“None of us expected to be approached by the NZSO, so we are all pretty chuffed and raring to share the aroha,” says Tito.

“Pretty flash too. One of the things I am excited about the most is working alongside some of Aotearoa’s best musicians and players. The NZSO are masters at what they do.”

ALWAYS keen to try something a bit different, the New Zealand Orchestra was happy to work with the Modern Maori Quartet, says NZSO associate conductor Hamish McKeich.

Part of the motivation was to continue the NZSO tradition of working with musicians and singers from a range of genres. Part of it was to reach new audiences, including people who have never attended an orchestral performance.

“The Modern Maori Quartet are re-enlivening the Howard Morrison Quartet tradition,” says McKeich.

“They sing in close, four-part harmony and they perform a lot of their own material. They are multi-talented and very good at comedy.”

This has brought about some challenges for the NZSO. Because the quartet members are so good at improv. and ad-libs, this sometimes slips into the songs, says McKeich.

“But when working with something as large as an orchestra there does have to be some give and take. We’re both up to the task of getting it right to make it fun for everyone.”

Several New Zealand composers helped with arrangements of pieces in the programme, including the quartet’s original songs. This meant the partnership was very much a collaborative project with the NZSO, says McKeich.

“We aren’t simply a giant backing band for the quartet. We’ve joined forces to create new music. That’s where the magic happens. All the different arrangements brought different colours to the music. The quartet is really professional.”

The NZSO and the quartet partnership features new arrangements in English and in te reo Maori of showband classics and pop hits. The programme includes the rousing Haere Mai, Pakanga and Aroha medleys, singalong favourite Ten Guitars, and the 1970s R&B hit Float On.

The quartet have also written new original songs which will be performed with arrangements by seven New Zealand composers.

The Modern Maori Quartet’s James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora were eager to work with the NZSO.

“None of us expected to be approached by the NZSO, so we are all pretty chuffed and raring to share the aroha,” says Tito.

“Pretty flash too. One of the things I am excited about the most is working alongside some of Aotearoa’s best musicians and players. The NZSO are masters at what they do.”

Summer Pops: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with the Modern Maori Quartet at the Gisborne War Memorial Theatre, 7pm, March 17. Tickets available from www.ticketdirect.co.nz and Stephen Jones Photography Ph 868 8288

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