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Lawyer hopes classical passion hits the right notes

1 August 2015

For many in an age when mobile phones and technology rule, digitally switching off and sitting through a television show - let alone a classical music concert - seems like an absolute challenge.

Not if you ask Harris Tate Lawyers director David Foster who continues to ensconse himself in the orchestral scene after making his Auckland Youth Orchestra debut playing the French Horn in 1975 – the start of a 10 year association.

It is this passion that has seen Harris Tate become a long-time sponsor of the AYO, and instrumental in helping bring 2015’s 12-stop national tour to Tauranga’s Baycourt on Sunday, September 27.

In the past the Tauranga-based law firm has helped bring the musical brilliance to Katikati on several occasions – part of the excellent but affordable and accessible concerts and performances by AYO, annually attracting large audiences with diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and of all ages.

Founded in 1948, Auckland Youth Orchestra is the premier regional youth orchestra in New Zealand and was the first youth orchestra established in the Southern Hemisphere, designed to bridge the gap between school orchestras and adult professional groups.

The role of AYO is not just to perform concerts, but to train future musicians to feed into our national ensembles and orchestras, offering a comprehensive programme for musicians up to 28-years-old. Since its inception more than 2600 musicians have played in AYO.

Memories David looks back on fondly, given since his debut while at Auckland Grammar School he has gone on to build a stellar resume; 12 years in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, working with the NZ Symphony Orchestra, and recording session work.

And while playing has taken a back seat to his law career, it is still a dedication he has no intention of relinquishing, instead honing his attention on encouraging and supporting the next generation of musicians.

Especially when the likes of Spotify, Periscope and Tumblr are the latest technology-based trends to take rise.

“People’s attention span nowadays is so short. It’s a bit of change for people to sit down and not look at their phone for two minutes and have a completely ‘get out of where you are’ moment and be transported by music,” says David.

“It’s about exposing them to an age old art and challenging them to learn about it.”

David, still playing with the Opus Chamber Orchestra, adds the AYO plays an important role in audience development because its members are likely to be future audience members and supporters of the arts.

AYO is a healthy social experience for young people and makes an important contribution to the cultural life not just in Auckland but New Zealand.

“I still have a very strong connection with the Auckland Youth Orchestra because the friends that you make are still friends many years later, and it’s about giving something back [sponsoring the AYO].”

This year the AYO is proud to present Maria Mo, the outstanding young virtuoso pianist, in a performance of Mendelssohn’s sparkling and dramatic first piano concerto.

The concert also contrasts Kabalevsky’s brilliantly orchestrated Comedian’s Suite with Tchaikovsky’s tragic masterpiece, the Pathetique Symphony.

The Auckland Youth Orchestra will perform ‘Pathétique – The Liberal Arts Concert’ at Bayycourt on Sunday September 27 from 2.30pm.

For tickets visit www.baycourt.co.nz