You know it is not your regular Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra concert when the town hall stalls have been rendered seatless, populated by roving folk in jeans and the occasional hoodie.

The APO's Remix the Orchestra came across as a lively end-of-term celebration, a show-and-tell for the great work being done by the orchestra in South Auckland; an initiative that is not only ongoing, but positively thriving.

The result was immensely entertaining and one marveled at the cool precision with which a complex presentation fell into place.

Predictably, we were in for some playful confrontation between classic and contemporary.


The opening Hip hOp era had Tamsyn Miller rapping against torrid Vivaldi, with Miranda Adams fiddling up an amplified storm. Here, and elsewhere, Kenneth Young conducted with a fatherly eye and a steady beat.

Minutes later, rapper Anonymouz took on Beethoven, Mozart and Wagner; maybe I'm biased, but a bizarre Ride of the Valkyries was the winner -Wagner's witches were electrifying in every sense of the word.

Alas, overall, the sound was not kind to the sung or spoken word. When DJCXL introduced Make a Change as a song about child abuse, it would have been good to have heard and understood his message.

In general, it was the slightly Celtic-tinged tunefulness of Laybeq's A Brighter Day and the happy reggae of Damien Rice's My Home that came off best.

In amongst the young dignitaries of South Auckland hip hop was Hamiltonian Jeremy Mayall, a young composer who has a real crossover track record. His Symphony for Orchestra and Turntables has been picked up by no less than five orchestras around the country.

Mayall presided over turntables for the evening, and, as a composer, was responsible for a Fanfare for a New Millenium, which spun some impressive orchestral clouds around Bridget Miles' clarinet.

The benefits of this cross-culturtal project are mutual, and a handful of orchestral players had important solos alongside the singers. A particularly funky turn in Syah's Carina Street gave Ingrid Hagan the chance to put forward a very good case for the bassoon as surrogate smoky sax.

What: Remix the Orchestra
Where: Auckland Town Hall
When: Thursday