Radio New Zealand Concert

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Radio New Zealand Concert
Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa Concert
RNZC logo.png
Broadcast area New ZealandNew Zealand

FM: various List
Freeview: Channel 51
Sky Digital: Channel 502

Live Stream Windows Media
Format classical and jazz music
Owner Radio New Zealand
Webcast Live stream

Radio New Zealand Concert (Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa Concert) is a publicly funded non-commercial New Zealand FM fine music radio network owned and operated by Radio New Zealand from its Wellington headquarters. The network's playlist of classical, jazz , contemporary and world music includes an extensive and growing collection of original recordings of mostly local musicians and composers. Around 15 percent of its airtime is given over to live concerts, orchestral performances, operas, interviews, features and specialty music programmes, many of which are locally recorded.[1][2]

The network's specialist production department also commissions work, initiates music programmes, and records live broadcasts of concerts and recitals from local and visiting international artists. Radio New Zealand Concert is one of the few individuals or organisations to receive the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Governors' Award acknowledging a significant contribution to the arts in New Zealand. The award is honorary and only issued on occasion, and Otago University and New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery are the only other recipients to date.[3]

Radio New Zealand Concert also draws content from its international counterparts, including ABC Classic FM, the European Broadcasting Union, the WFMT Radio Network and BBC Radio 3.[4] The network was renamed on 22 January 2007, to associate it more closely with the Radio New Zealand brand. It was previously known as Concert FM, is also known as the Concert Programme, and has historically broadcast as the AM "YC" stations - 1YC in Auckland, 2YC in Wellington, 3YC in Christchurch and 4YC in Dunedin. Until the launch of the AM Network, the network also carried live coverage of the proceedings of the New Zealand Parliament.

Live performances[edit]

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra[edit]

Recorded performances of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have been one of the cornerstones of the Concert programme since the orchestra was first formed. The national orchestra was first proposed with the founding of the Radio Broadcasting Company in 1925, and broadcasting studio orchestras operated in major cities from the late 1920s. A national orchestra was formed in 1939 for New Zealand's Centennial Exhibition in 1940.

The orchestra became permanent in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II. It was managed as a department of the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, which later became Radio New Zealand, as the NZBC National Orchestra and later the NZBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1975 it became the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and in 1988 it became fully independent of Radio New Zealand.[5][6]

Several New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performances of Gareth Farr compositions have been broadcast on Radio New Zealand Concert.

Despite the formal separation, Symphony Orchestra performances continue to be recorded, broadcast and archived by Radio New Zealand Concert. Auckland Town Hall, Wellington Town Hall and Michael Fowler Centre performances are broadcast live-to-air and streamed online, and performances in other centres or overseas cities are usually recorded and broadcast at a later date.[7] On many occasions the pieces are from prominent composers, like Gustav Mahler, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Ludwig van Beethoven, Sergei Prokofiev or Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. On other occasions, they are the work of local composers like Gareth Farr, James MacMillan or Chris Watson.[8]

Young composers[edit]

Each year, young composers studying musical composition at university are also given the opportunity to have their work performed by the Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on the Concert programme. The NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composers Award provides nine finalists with firsthand mentoring on orchestral composition and the chance to have their composition workshopped, rehearsed and performed by the full-size, professional orchestra. Each finalist is interviewed for a Concert feature programme, with a judging panel deciding the award winner.

University of Otago student Sam van Betew won the competition in 2014, and said it was an honour to have "one of the world's best orchestras" performing his music.[9] University of Auckland and New Zealand School of Music graduate Robin Toan was a finalist in 2008, and described it as one of the most valuable experiences a young composer can have.[10]

In 2005, Robin Toan was also the first young composer to be selected as composer-in-residence for the National Youth Orchestra - one of two Symphony Orchestra subsidiaries whose performances have been recorded for the Concert programme. Performances of the NZSO Chamber Orchestra were also recorded and broadcast by the Concert programme over the 13 years they performed.[11]

Other groups[edit]

Chamber Music New Zealand, Wellington Chamber Orchestra and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra regularly perform for broadcasts and podcasts, and around five Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra performances are recorded every year.[12][13] New Zealand String Quartet concerts have featured on Radio New Zealand Concert, as well as being broadcast by Deutsche Welle, CBC Radio 2 and ABC Classic FM.[14][15]

Performances by church and private school choirs are often featured, including those of Wellington's Cathedral of St Paul and Christchurch's St Andrews School.[16][17] Auckland's Musica Sacra chamber choir has had several concerts recorded since 1998, and Wellington's Nota Bene chamber choir has had its concerts regularly recorded since 2004.[18][19] Winners of the Royal Overseas League Arts International Scholarship for a New Zealand Chamber Ensemble also have their performances recorded for broadcast.[20]

Recorded music[edit]

Local artists[edit]

Featured New Zealand pianist Read Gainsford is based at Florida State University.

Over several decades the Concert Programme has recorded and broadcast many New Zealand compositions, and featured many local musicians. Its archive of recordings, currently held by Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, has become a record of the history of New Zealand fine music.[21] Some of the only remaining audio recordings of composer Douglas Lilburn are two interviews with the Concert programme and a recorded performance of him playing his own piece From the Port Hills.[22]

Many New Zealand musicians and composers, like Kiri te Kanawa, have had their work recorded and broadcast by Concert while pursuing further musical study and career opportunities abroad in the United States, United Kingdom or Europe.[23] New Zealand-born Florida State University piano professor Reed Gainsford has had his work recorded by Concert and BBC Radio 3.[24]

Composers and composing musicians like Michael Williams, Phillip Brownlee, Yvette Audain, Nigel Keay and Ryan Youeans have had their work featured on Concert.[25][26][27][28][29] Several conductors, like Martin Setchell, have also been involved in Concert recordings.[30]

University of Waikato pianist and chamber soloist Katherine Austin, singer Judy Bellingham and organist Michael Stewart have performed for Concert recordings and fine music networks overseas.[31] [32][33][34] Singers Morag Atchison, Stephanie Acraman and Valerie Wycoff, violinists Amalia Hall and Natalie Sharonlin and pianists Charmaine Ford and Rachel Thomas have performed for Concert.[35][36][37] [38] [39] [40] [41]

International artists[edit]

Many international artists have had their work recorded for broadcast in New Zealand and other countries. For example, Bulgarian pianist Hristo Kazakov has been featured on Concert and other radio stations in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Peru, Taiwan, Estonia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Israel and Turkey. [42]

Canadian barotone David Pike and Australian violinist Robin Willson have both received international exposure on the Concert network, while also being played by their own local fine music stations.[43][44]The compositions of Britain's John Gardner have been performed for Concert,[45] and University of Hull music lecturer and clarinetist Rob MacKay has performed his music for the network.[46]


The station has live continuity presentation between 6am and midnight, and automated music overnight. Four full-time continuity presenters, Rick Young, David Morriss, Christine Argyle and Clarissa Dunn, present alongside a range of casual presenters and contributors. Former BBC Radio 3 presenter and music journalist Charlotte Wilson is a regular presenter and contributor to Concert programmes.[47]


Radio New Zealand Concert's breakfast programme, Classic Morning, runs from 6am each weekday. The programme includes about fifteen pieces over three hours and a weekly competition at 7.30.[48] The daily Live Diary events guide is broadcast every morning at 8.10, featuring listings of fine music events and lunchtime concerts.[49]

Composer of the Week airs from 9am, with experts like New Zealand School of Music jazz lecturer Norman Meehan presenting an introduction to the work of particular composers.[50] For ten weeks of the year, specialist programmes on particular topics or scenes run in the show's place - one special in December 2011 focusing on the history of the ukelele.[51] Musical compilation The Works broadcasts from 10am, with eight pieces from different time periods and styles.[52]


Upbeat, a 90-minute music and arts current programme, is Radio New Zealand Concert's daily flagship. Host Eva Radich discusses developments in a wide variety of music genres, interviewing and playing the musical selections of various musicians, composers, choreographers, dancers, actors, directors, artists and other creators and specialists.

Hundreds of local and international arts guests have appeared on the programme, ranging from artist Roger Boyce and dancer Alexa Wilson, through to pianist Jason Bae and composer Paul Lewis.[53][54][55][56] Regular guests have included music critic Peter Mechen,musicologist Peter Walls, concert reviewer Samuel Holloway, dance critic Deidre Tarrant, writer Graham Reid and music reviewer Robert Johnson.[57][58] [59][60][61][62][63] World music reviewer Shelly Brunt and music theorist Keith Chapin are former contributors.[64][65]


Concert's afternoon programme includes a selection of music from a particular era at 1.30pm, afternoon postal and email requests from 2pm, a selection of CD tracks from 3pm, and recordings of New Zealand performers and composers from 4pm.[66]

The network's drive time programme, Cadenza, includes up to fifteen short well-known classic pieces such as opera arias and choruses. It also includes a weekly competition Monday to Thursday at 5.30pm and a themed segment at around 6pm.[67]


The weeknight Concert line-up begins with a repeat of Composer of the Week or Critic's Chair, a long-form interview, a music special or a documentary series. Often the theme is a prominent New Zealander like Carmen Rupe, or a topic like the influence of German musical traditions on New Zealand.[68][69][70][71] A live concert is broadcast every evening from 8pm - often a lecture-concert or special event on Mondays, an overseas concert on Wednesdays, an Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concert on Thursdays and an alternative music concert on Fridays.[72] The evening ends with a series of easy-listening pieces.[66]

On Tuesday nights Kate Mead hosts the Sound Lounge, a five hour programme of contemporary music from the 20th and 21st centuries with music ranging from classical to jazz and avant-garde to popular music. The show usually includes a live concert at 8pm, a feature programme and a final section of uninterrupted music.[73] Mead also serves as Concert's production manager, having previously worked for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM UK.[74]


Jazz at Lincoln Center is often broadcast on Saturdays.

Concert's Saturday schedule includes fifteen mainstream fine music tracks in Classic Morning from 6am, highlights from the Upbeat interviews of the previous week at 9am and two hours of requests from 10am.

The Radio New Zealand Concert Classical Chart at 12pm includes the week's top ten best-selling classic musical discs. The Art of Jazz with Phil Broadhurst, Jazz at Lincoln Center or another jazz programme airs from 1pm. World music programme Global Sounds is scheduled at 2pm, and a matinee repeat of a live performance airs at 3pm, followed by New Zealand music.

An hour of vocal music, a New Zealand Symphony Orchestra concert and some easy-listening music round out the night.[66]


Sunday mornings feature a spiritual music programme Sanctuary, Hymns for Sunday morning, shorter track show Grace Notes and compilation show The Works. Hymns became part of the Sunday morning line-up in 2012, after it was removed from Radio New Zealand National as part of a network spruce-up.[75]

The Critic's Chair begins at midday, with a range of reviewers like Robert Johnson giving their take on new classical releases.[76] The afternoon continues with selection programme The Vintage Years and the Sunday Feature slot - featuring a rotation of music documentaries on topics like the staging of opera and the Brilliant Brass series on jazz, orchestral, solo and band music.[77][78] On some Sundays the network features an Opera on Sunday, often from the Metropolitan Opera - in other weeks it features fine music events like the New Zealand Choral Federation's Big Sing Secondary School Choir Festivals.[79] New Zealand music plays for the rest of the afternoon.

William Dart's rock, popular, country and folk music show New Horizons has been part of Concert's Sunday night line-up since April 1980. Dart was given the opportunity to design the cover of an issue of the New Zealand Listener to celebrate the launch of the show, and chose Ry Cooder, XTC, The Kinks, Sparks, Randy Newman, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello and Jonathan Richman.[80] Sometimes New Horizons is replaced by documentaries on the history of pop music, like the 2011 Chris Bourke series Blue Smoke, which documents the history of pop music before the days of rock'n'roll.[81] Later in the evening Young New Zealand showcases the work of up-and-coming New Zealand artists, and easy-listening music plays until midnight.[66]


Radio New Zealand Concert uses the Radio Data System in its FM signal, broadcasts in mono on FM, and is available online in stereo.[82]


Other broadcasting methods[edit]


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External links[edit]