Hamilton, ON – A two-year search for Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s music director has ended with the appointment of Gemma New, a native of New Zealand and a violinist by training who became a professional conductor while still in her teens.

“Gemma New embodies everything we want in a music director,” says HPO chairman of the board Robert Savage.  “She’s an outstanding musician and an experienced conductor; she’s also smart and creative. And on a personal level, she’s warm and down-to-earth.

“We think Gemma is a great fit not just for HPO but for the city as a whole, given Hamilton’s emergence as an arts and culture hub,” Savage added. “She really embraces the role of art and culture in a city’s development.”

New, 28, is associate conductor at the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and founder/director of the Lunar Ensemble, a new music collective based in Baltimore, Maryland. In the 2014-15 season she was the recipient of the prestigious Dudamel Fellowship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and will conduct eight education concerts in Los Angeles in spring 2015.

“I am very excited to be coming to Hamilton as music director,” New says. “I was so impressed with the orchestra and all the people I met during my audition.”

New replaces former music director Jamie Sommerville, who announced he was leaving HPO in spring 2013. An international recruitment process brought six short-listed candidates to Hamilton to audition as guest conductors over the 14-15 HPO season. Each of the six was also taken to community events to meet people and interviewed by the search committee.  Audience members and musicians provided feedback to the search committee following each audition.

“The short-listed candidates are all extremely talented, and the search committee’s task wasn’t an easy one,” Savage said.  “We’re thankful for their interest in HPO.”

HPO musician spokesperson Marsha Moffitt said they are “thrilled to be working with Gemma New, who is known around the world as a rising star. Working alongside our orchestra, we’re confident we’ll achieve new heights.”


Media Contact:
Diana Weir, Director, Communications and Development | Tel: 905.526.1677 x230 | Email: dweir@hpo.org

The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1884 as The Hamilton Orchestral Society and grew to become one of Canada’s major professional orchestras. Today, the HPO is a leader in Hamilton’s robust arts community where it provides professional orchestral services and music education programs to address the needs of the community. The HPO continues to commission and premiere works and is one of the artistic jewels of the Hamilton area. The combined musical talents of its artists continue to enrich the community and enhance the quality of life for its residents.