Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New is currently Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She was recently appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, a position she will assume in the 2019/20 season.
This Fall, New led the opening concerts of the St. Louis Symphony’s 2018/19 season on a subscription program featuring Sibelius, Kernis and Elgar. Of the performances, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote: “New is authoritative on the podium, with easy confidence, and great rapport with the orchestra. She’s a rising star in the musical firmament.” In November, she made her debut with the New York Philharmonic on a Young People’s Concert program at David Geffen Hall.
During the 2018/19 season, New conducts the Toronto Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Florida Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Winnipeg Symphony and the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester in Germany. In April 2019, she leads a second St. Louis Symphony subscription week on a program of works by Adès, Mozart and Strauss.
In Summer 2018, New made appearances at the Grant Park Music Festival and Chautauqua Festival. She spent the summer as a Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, where she led the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s “In America”. Boston Classical Review called it “a rousing premiere” and the Berkshire Eagle wrote: “For the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and Vocal Fellows led by contemporary music specialist Gemma New, a TMC Conducting Fellow, the performance was a triumph”.
In 2017, New received a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. Her guest conducting has taken her internationally with orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester, Malmö Symfoniorkester, Filharmonia Szczecin and Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, and back home to New Zealand with the Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony, Opus Orchestra and more. In North America, she has conducted the Atlanta Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Albany Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Omaha Symphony and many others.
New’s work as Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic has been committed to deepening the artistic level of the orchestra and expanding its reach into the community. She recently launched the HPO’s first “Intimate and Immersive” concert series, creating a closer-to-the-music atmosphere by combining treasures of the orchestra canon and contemporary music, electronic indie music, lighting and visual art installations. Her programs present wide-ranging repertoire including works by core masters such as Beethoven and Mahler, and extending through today’s most active composers from Canada and New Zealand, such as Zosha di Castri, José Evangelista, Salina Fisher and Kevin Lau.
A former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New has led youth, school and community programs with the LA Phil, and assisted Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen and guest conductors. She served previously as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. She is the former recipient of the David Karetsky Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and an Ansbacher Fellowship in which she was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic to take up residence at the Salzburg Festival. As a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellow, she studied Mendelssohn’s music with Kurt Masur in Leipzig and led the Leipziger Symphonieorchester in the historic Lindensaal of Markkleeberg.
Having a strong interest in new music, New made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013 where she led works by John Adams and Andrew Norman on the American Soundscapes series. In 2010, she founded the Lunar Ensemble, a nine-member contemporary music ensemble that premiered 30 works over six seasons.
New has conducted several contemporary operas and in the 2016/17 season, she led Jean-Pierre Arnaud’s arrangement of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio. She has assisted on productions from Verdi to Ravel and Poulenc to Gershwin, and at the LA Phil she assisted on semi-staged productions of Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
Gemma New holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she studied with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. She graduated with honors from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance.