Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is the artistic adviser and principal conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. She also holds the titles of music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Hailed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as “a rising star in the musical firmament,” New won the prestigious 2021 Sir George Solti Conducting Award.
The 2022-23 season marks New’s eighth season as music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and her fourth season as principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. For the orchestra’s 75th anniversary season in 2022, New marked her inaugural year as artistic adviser and principal conductor of New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, where she led the 2022 Winter Festival with Hilary Hahn and Paul Lewis, Mozart Requiem with Voices New Zealand and contemporary works by New Zealand composers John Psathas, John Rimmer, Tabea Squire and Anthony Ritchie.
In 2022-23, New conducts the Toronto Symphony, Houston Symphony, New World Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony in Australia. Increasingly in demand in Europe, she leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Gävle Symphony, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestra della Toscana, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg in the final concert of Mozartwoche 2023. In June, she leads Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ production of Susannah.
New served for four seasons as resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, where she was music director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. In her final season, she led the 2019-20 season-opening concerts of the St. Louis Symphony and conducted a concert broadcast live with Chris Thile on the nationally syndicated variety show “Live From Here.”
New’s work as music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic has been committed to deepening the artistic level of the orchestra and expanding its reach into the community. She recently launched the HPO’s first “Intimate and Immersive” concert series, creating a closer-to-the-music atmosphere by combining treasures of the orchestra canon and contemporary music, electronic indie music, lighting and visual art installations.
New also launched a family series in her first year as music director and started schools' concerts in the 2019-20 season. She has welcomed students to sit onstage during rehearsals and encouraged a close relationship with the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, who now play side by side with the HPO annually. Her programs present wide-ranging repertoire including works by core masters such as Beethoven and Mahler, and extending through today’s most active composers from Canada and New Zealand, such as Zosha di Castri, José Evangelista, Salina Fisher and Kevin Lau.
A former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New served previously as associate conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. In 2018, she was a conducting fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, where she led the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s In America. She served previously as associate conductor of the New Jersey Symphony.
She is a former recipient of the David Karetsky Conducting Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and an Ansbacher Fellowship, in which she was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic to observe rehearsals and concerts at the Salzburg Festival. As a Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Fellow, she studied Mendelssohn’s music with Kurt Masur in Leipzig and led the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra. Before receiving the 2021 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, she won Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards in 2017, 2019 and 2020.
Committed to new music, New made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2013 with works by John Adams and Andrew Norman. In 2010, she founded the Lunar Ensemble, a nine-member contemporary music ensemble that premiered 30 works over six seasons. New has conducted works by Thomas Adès, Anna Clyne, Steve Mackey, Aaron Jay Kernis and many others.
New holds a master of music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she studied with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. She graduated with honors from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand with a bachelor of music in violin performance.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.