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Turangalîla Symphony


Sat 23 March, 2019
Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

Frenchman Olivier Messiaen was one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century and everything about his astounding Turangalîla Symphony is exuberant, colourful and monumental.

In the 2019 Auckland Arts Festival in March, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) and musicians from Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) united to form a massive line-up of over 100 players and two soloists for a rare performance of the 20th-century orchestral masterpiece.

The symphony’s name was coined by the composer from two Sanskrit words – turanga meaning “time which flows, movement or rhythm”, and lîla, meaning “a kind of cosmic love involving acts of creation, destruction and reconstruction”[1]. The composer therefore saw this work as a song of love or a hymn to joy1. Either way, Turangalîla Symphony is an extravagant celebration of love and life, and centres around a blissful movement called The Garden of Love’s Sleep.

Turangalila Hero.jpg

“A milestone of

20th-century music.”

– New York Times

Along with the huge orchestra, Turangalîla Symphony requires a mesmerising electronic instrument with an ethereal sound, called the ondes martenot. The world’s finest ondes martenot player Cynthia Millar and other soloists, including innovative pianist Joanna MacGregor, will join the APO and ANAM under the baton of Maestro Stefan Asbury.

The wider orchestra includes a brilliant array of instruments, including glockenspiel, celesta and vibraphone, whose combined sounds reproduce a similar sound to a Balinese gamelan ensemble, along with triangle, temple blocks, wood block, cymbals, Turkish cymbal, Chinese cymbal, tam-tam, tambourine, maracas, tubular bells, bass drum, side (snare) drum and a Tambourin Provençal.

Rarely performed, the opportunity to experience the Turangalîla Symphony live may only come along once in a lifetime. This historic event will be a highlight of Auckland Arts Festival 2019.

Earlier Event: 22 March
Ulster American
Later Event: 4 May
Kollywood Extra