03 Jun 2010
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s growing international reputation as “an orchestra on the rise” was a key reason for Irishman Ronan Tighe to move from London to take up the role as the APO’s new manager of artistic planning. Ronan (35) joined the APO in late May after six years at leading international artist management company IMG Artists in London where he worked in the Conductors and Instrumentalists Division.
“Internationally, the APO is considered as an orchestra on the rise and when the opportunity came up to work with one of the most dynamic orchestras in the region, there was no way I could turn it down.”
Ronan replaces Antony Ernst at the APO and in his role he will be working closely with the orchestra’s musical director Eckehard Stier.
“We haven’t worked together before, but I had heard about the positive impact he has had on the APO. We’ve had lengthy conversations about music and repertoire, and I think we are singing from the same song sheet.”
Eckehard says Ronan’s broad musical knowledge, contact with great soloists and negotiating skills will be key to the APO. “He has many brilliant skills and such a broad knowledge of music history, very good taste and a real feeling for the different concert programmes,” Eckehard says. “What will make us even better as a team will be that we can inspire each other and develop new and interesting ideas.”
APO chief executive Barbara Glaser says Ronan stood out amongst a field of strong candidates. “I could see he would fit in very well at the APO and his style suits working with Eckehard. We’re very excited to have him on board.”
Ronan says that when he was looking at the position with the APO, the orchestra’s strong education programme was a major drawcard. “I know how important and life-changing music can be.”
Ronan hails from County Mayo where he says live orchestral music experiences were few and far between. As a 10-year-old he heard a local wind band perform and decided to start learning clarinet, then four years later he went to a concert by Ireland’s National Youth Orchestra performing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. “It blew me away. Until then I had no idea that music could be so visceral and exciting.”
Ronan majored in clarinet performance at the Conservatory of Music in Dublin and the National University of Ireland, then worked as a freelance musician and instrumental teacher before completing post-graduate studies in Arts Management at University College Dublin.
He worked as Administrator for the Irish Baroque Orchestra before moving to London to work at IMG Artists, where he worked with major international artists including renowned Czech maestro Jiri Belohlavek, the legendary Itzhak Perlman, Bolshoi Theatre chief conductor Alexander Vedernikov and Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski.
“Many of the artists I worked with at IMG were thrilled to hear I was heading to Auckland and a number are very keen to be invited to play with the APO.
“The prospect of performing with an orchestra of the calibre of the APO is really attractive for high profile artists and conductors and I will certainly be continuing the APO’s well-established tradition of having top international conductors and soloists featuring with the orchestra.”
Ronan is excited about working on the programming for the APO’s season in 2011 and beyond and says while the mainstay of any orchestra season programmes is the core repertoire from the classical, romantic and 20th century periods, “there is amazing and exciting music being written today internationally and in New Zealand which can be included in a context that makes sound musical sense and spices up the programme a bit.
“Our programming philosophy will continue to be music that is appealing to audiences, sometimes challenging but always compelling.”