Gemma New Conducts Opening Concert on September 23, 2023 

Hamilton, ON, September 7, 2023 – The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to launch its 2023-24 season on Saturday, September 23 at 7:30pm with our opening night concert: Gemma Conducts Schumann & Mendelssohn! Music Director Gemma New leads this momentous occasion, one of three concerts she will conduct in this her ninth and final season as HPO Music Director. 

The concert also celebrates the 50th anniversary of our home, FirstOntario Concert Hall, formerly Hamilton Place, which opened on September 22, 1973, with a month-long festival. Audience members will take a fascinating trip back in time through a memorabilia and photo exhibition in the Concert Hall mezzanine that shares stories of the building’s origins and development, key figures in its creation, vintage photos, 1970s concert program images and newspaper articles as well as a four-page spread in our concert program. 

“More than 50 years ago the people of Hamilton had a vision to establish a place to share world-class music, theatre and dance,” says HPO Executive Director, Kim Varian. “Today, FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place), is just that – a jewel in Hamilton’s arts and culture scene and a special place for all to enjoy. The September 23 opening concert showcases outstanding new musical talent and the HPO’s commitment to mentorship and fostering emerging artists.” 
We are thrilled to open with the world premiere of Scherzo by Hamilton native Liam Ritz. The first HPO Composer Fellow (2018/19), Ritz was mentored by HPO Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte while he was a high school student and studied composition with her again at the University of Toronto.  

Tony Siqi Yun takes centre stage as soloist for Schumann’s Piano Concerto. The acclaimed Canadian-born pianist was the First Prize Winner and Gold Medalist at the First China International Music Competition in 2019.  

The evening closes with Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony. No. 3, a vivid work inspired by the life and times of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mendelssohn and Schumann are also connected through mentorship as the former worked closely with Schumann to help him in writing and re-writing his compositions. 

We are delighted to welcome Women in Musical Leadership Conductor Fellow Jennifer Tung who joins us as Assistant Conductor for a week of mentorship with Gemma New. Jennifer Tung is the artistic director of Toronto City Opera and assistant conductor of the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra.  

Adult tickets start at $35, senior tickets start at $30 and youth tickets are just $20 (fees and taxes not included). Subscription packages are also available. Visit for tickets and information. 

HPO Opening Night Concert Program

Gemma Conducts Schumann & Mendelssohn 
September 23, 2023 at 7:30pm 

Gemma New, Conductor 
Tony Siqi Yun, Piano

Gemma New leads the orchestra in celebratory season-opener! Acclaimed Canadian pianist Tony Siqi Yun performs Schumann’s dreamy and dramatic Piano Concerto. Hamilton native Liam Ritz dazzles with Scherzo and we round out the evening with Mendelssohn’s vivid and beloved ‘Scottish’ Symphony. 

Liam Ritz: Scherzo*
Schumann: Piano Concerto  
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, “Scottish” 
*World Premiere 

Twitter: @H_P_O 
Instagram: @HamiltonPhilharmonic 

About the HPO: For over a century, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has presented orchestral music and education programs with a mission to enrich the wellbeing of the greater Hamilton region. Music Director Gemma New and the professional musicians of the HPO present dynamic orchestral performances ranging from standard classical repertoire to popular music and world premieres by living composers. As one of Canada’s leading professional orchestras, the HPO has proudly contributed to the shaping of Hamilton’s cultural landscape and continues to uphold values of high calibre, inclusive and accessible orchestral music and education for all. 

Media Contacts: 

Kyla Lacroix Bardsley 
Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 
905.526.1677 x 211 
Megan Nourse 
Community Engagement Manager  
Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra  
905.526.1677 x 209  

Published on September 5, 2023