Manawatu Sinfonia
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The MYO is pleased to announce the appointment of Vesa-Matti Leppänen as the Youth Orchestra’s Principal Conductor. It has also appointed Joanna Dann as Assistant Conductor. 

Vesa is well-known to New Zealand’s concertgoers. Born and raised in Finland, he was appointed Concertmaster of the NZSO, a position he has held since 2002. Vesa has an impressive record internationally as a violin soloist chamber musician and concert master and tutor. He is now pursuing a new aspect in his career as a conductor. 

Vesa says, “I’m very passionate in matching the expectations with the level of talent to make every project as rewarding as possible. This would involve creating a set of repertoire that is exciting for the audiences but more importantly for the keen youngsters.”

The MYO was also impressed with former Palmerstonian, Joanna Dann, who has recently completed postgraduate studies on cello at Waikato and Otago. She is now  developing her conducting skills to add to her music-teaching. The MYO decided to appoint Joanna to the new position of Assistant Conductor to help develop conducting locally and to rehearse when Vesa is fulfilling his NZSO commitments.

The appointments follow the resignation of long-time conductor Isaac Henderson at the end of last year. MYO president Jeff McNeill says being able to attract applicants of such high calibre reflect well on how Isaac had developed the orchestra during his tenure.

“I am sure the Youth Orchestra to continue to grow under our two new conductors. Our musicians will have a great time under Vesa who showed us during the auditions that striving for excellence in orchestral playing can also be fun. And we are thrilled to have Joanna join Vesa. Together they will make a great team.”

Jeff McNeill



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