Peter Thomas

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From the soaring Jerusalem and patriotic Rule Britannia to iconic Brit pop and much-loved classics, Auckland Symphony Orchestra will take you on a musical journey that will have you dropping your cuppa and singing your heart out! So, warm up your voice, start waving your Union Jack and get ready for the feel-good concert of the year. 

Last Night of the Proms’ Best of British musical selection is conducted by Peter Thomas and features over 150 performers including soprano Morag Atchison, mezzo soprano Sarah Court, Stellar Singers, Paradisum Choir and Milford School Dancers.

We fired a few questions to conductor Peter Thomas ahead of this weekend's shows. 

When did you get your start as a conductor? 

My piano teacher got me to conduct an adult string Orchestra who were performing the four seasons by Vivaldi. I think I was still at school at the time and it was a wonderful experience and then I got into working with youth Orchestras and that set me on my path. 

How did you become the conductor for the Auckland Symphony Orchestra? 

The position came up about eight years ago and I served a trial period and then I was selected to be the conductor and music director of the Auckland symphony Orchestra. I had been conducting for close to 20 years by that stage. 

What is the biggest challenge being a conductor? 

One of the biggest challenges is choosing the right program and giving the audience and the orchestra members things that they want to listen to and want to play but also to challenge them and extend them. Sometimes when I am coordinating a big choir, soloists and the full orchestra, that can take a lot of extra focus and thought. But I do relish these challenges and some might say I thrive on them. 

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

I am really proud of the development of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra under my tenure. To have the privilege to work with so many wonderful musicians and to put together challenging concerts which are well received by the public is very special. Our recent performance of the Enigma Variations by Elgar, was a real highlight for me and the orchestra. 

You’re going to be conducting for Last Night At The Proms. Is this a show that you’ve done before? 

This will be my seventh season with the ASO and my seventh last night of the proms. I've also conducted last night of the proms with other orchestras. 

For someone who has not attended a Last Night At The Proms before, what can they expect? 

It's an amazing experience to be part of. The traditions of the British concert series with the flags waving, the audience singing along and a really lovely mix of music from the old to the new is something to behold. The choirs, dancers, opera singers and the full symphony orchestra will make it a night to remember. 

Following Last Night At The Proms, what plans do you and the Orchestra have in the pipeline? 

We have our regular concert season continuing after last night of the proms, culminating in our Christmas celebration at the town hall. 

We will also be part of a unique experience later in September. However the promoters of this gig have not unveiled their plans as of yet so watch this space. 

Peter Thomas conducts Last Night of the Proms, Friday 23 June, 7.30pm at the Bruce Mason Centre and Sunday 25 June, 5.30pm at the Auckland Town Hall.  

For more info visit aucklandlive.co.nz or call 0800 111 999