Music Director - Orchestral Conductor - Arranger - Composer - Record Producer



Musicals for Children
Accordion Compositions
Orchestral Compositions
Piano Compositions

Robyn Hood, The Musical
Gary Daverne
Music Director Emeritus - Auckland Symphony Orchestra

Reviews 1991 - 1999

Review November 28 1999

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra's Free Family Concert held on Sunday evening 28 November 1999 at the Auckland Town Hall was very enjoyable in its variety and execution. A programme of music from Dvorak's Symphony No.8 to music from the film Forrest Gump.

The concert started with a lively rendition of the Zampa Overture by Ferd. Herold which came across to the audience, more as an encore than an overture.

Graham Wardrop, a highly acclaimed Christchurch guitarist performed Cavatina by Stanley Myers and Classical Gas by Mason Williams. Both these pieces were a real treat to listen to, and provided a richness of sound in a unique performance which had the audience enthralled.

The 80 member orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, played superbly to an appreciative audience. Other highlights included on the programme was a premier performance of 'Caprice for Orchestra' composed by conductor and an arrangement of "Chess", by Phil Hickman, a former orchestra member.

By finishing off with "A Duke Ellington Suite", the audience left tapping their feet and humming the well known Ellington tunes.

Once again, a very enjoyable performance from the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.


Review From An Audience Perspective, 11 December 1998

The Managing Director
Lewis Eady Limited
PO Box 99-801
Dear Sir,

May I congratulate you for sponsoring the free concert at the Auckland Town Hall on December 11, by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.

It was a memorable experience for me to see and hear so many of Auckland's youth, thoroughly trained and singing with evident enjoyment, the well-known Christmas carols. I am sure it was an experience they will long remember also.

I had not previously heard the A.S.O. before, although I regularly attend orchestral concerts in the city and our party enjoyed their playing greatly. What a superb conductor Gary Daverne is, for both choir and orchestra.

Thank you for a lovely "warm-up' for Christmas and I wish you the compliments of the season.

Yours sincerely

Joy Fergusson



The Free Family Concert, 29 November 1998

Concert held Sunday, early evening, (29 November 1998) at the Auckland Town Hall with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, ONZM, was once again an outstanding success and very rewarding.

Usually these concerts start at 2.30 pm but due to the Santa Parade, the starting time was delayed till 6.30pm. This did not appear to affect the attendance as a near capacity audience of about 1400 people turned up, to hear this popular orchestra.

The theme for this concert was music by popular Russian composers and included:

Night on a Bare Mountain Mussorgsky
March Slave Tchaikovsky
Procession of the Nobles Rimsky-Korsakov
Saxophone Concerto Glazounov
Serenade Borodin
Waltz of the Flowers Tchaikovsky

concert.jpgThe family audience was warm and appreciative, especially towards the visiting guest conductor and saxophone soloist, Norbert Nozy, from Belgium. He performed the Glazounov Saxophone Concerto. His style, tone and technique, were stunning. His encore - Czardas by Monti, received a standing ovation with choruses of "bravo".

Norbert Nozy, has since 1985, been the director of the Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides. Together they have recorded in excess of forty CDs.

Mr Nozy also conducted two works, Night on a Bare Mountain and Marche Slave with strong direction and interruption. The orchestra responded as required, giving a fine performance.

Gary Daverne and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra must be congratulated for bringing such fine overseas talent, to Auckland audiences.

A second encore was played by the orchestra, the love theme from the film, Titanic. Hardly Russian, but never the less, thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. A good early Sunday evening's entertainment, was had by all. And it certainly showed, both with audience and orchestra.


The Free Family Festival Concert, 2 August 1998

The Free Family Festival Concert held last Sunday afternoon (2 August 1998) at the Aotea Centre with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gary Daverne, ONZM, was once again an outstanding success in every way. The Centre was filled with a capacity family audience of over 2000 people. As this concert was associated with the Youth Festival, there were many young people in the audience.

The 80+ member community orchestra, once again played superbly under the dynamic conductorship of Gary Daverne, to a warm, responsive and enthusiastic audience.

The programme was comprised of festive music, includifesng:
Academic Festival Overture Brahms
Music from the Royal Fireworks Handel
The Peanut Polka Robert Farnon
Amparito Roca Jaime Texidor
Entry of the Gladiators Julius Fucik
Taiwanese Folk Song Tung Yu-Shen

The real show stealers on the day were the two dance groups.

Firstly, the 24 young girls from the Dianne Wallace School of Dance, who square danced to the Pops Hoe-Down and then the 18 Irish dancers from the Connolly School of Irish Dancing, who tapped their way to exhaustion, to the Lord of the Dance.

Truly a wonderful afternoon's entertainment.


Free Family Concert Reviews, 17 May 1998

The Auckland Symphony Orchestra's Free Family Concert held Sunday afternoon 17 May 1998 at the Auckland Town Hall was an outstanding success in every way.

Richard Liu, a brilliant young Taiwanese pianist performed the 1st movement of the popular, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 with style and flare. The other soloist, James Tibbles was dynamic on the Town Hall organ, in the Saint Sa?s Organ Symphony.

The 75 member orchestra, conducted by their regular conductor, Gary Daverne, once again played superbly to a more than capacity audience, of 1600 people, with people sitting behind the orchestra on the choir rises in front of the organ.

The family audience was warm, responsive and enthusiastic.

Unfortunately, hundreds of people were turned away, as the hall was full to capacity, 15 minutes before starting time.

A tribute was made to Frank Sinatra, with the orchestra playing New York, New York.

Other works on the programme included:
London Suite Eric Coates
Spartacus (Onedin Line) Khachaturian
Andante Cantabile Tchaikovsky
'Sunset Boulevard' Selections Lloyd Webber
'A Billy Joel Song' Selection.  


NCO Teams Up With Daverne And Rott

Written by: Elise A Sulaiman
Publication: The Jakarta Post, March 15th, 1997

Classical music lovers should be proud of the Nusantara Chamber Orchestra's nearly perfect performance at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta earlier this week. It was successful not because the tickets were sold out, but because of the performance itself.

The concert displayed excellent teamwork between the NCO and the conductor, Gary Daverne, who comes from a different background and culture. Daverne's conducting showed his personal touch and ability to create a setting that is enjoyable both for the players and the audience.

Daverne is a professional conductor with extensive overseas experience, having just concluded a series of concerts inTurkey, Portugal and in England with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In March 1996, he conducted the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in a classical out-door extravaganza before an audience of 120,000.

Daverne, who has held the position of musical director of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra for 20 years, is well-known in television, radio, and the recording industry as a composer, arranger, and musical director.

The evening began with the concert overture Youth of Auckland composed by Daverne for Auckland's Secondary Schools Youth Orchestra, where he taught economics, accounting and music. Many of the songs and repertoires that he has composed for his students remain very popular and are regularly performed. His decision to perform Youth as an opening was suitable for the young and dynamic NCO musicians.

During the performance, some parts dragged a bit, but Daverne brought back the emotion with a perfect ending. The NCO had the talent and knowledge to play the piece but perhaps needed a little more experience and self-confidence.

In the second half, the NCO presented Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 95 by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904). The symphony opened with an introduction marked with adagio, which led to a vigorous allegro molto. The first movement was introduced by French horns. The second theme was taken from Bohemian folk characters with a modal flavor and was quickly modified to suit the demands of the full orchestra.

Daverne successfully expressed the character of Dvorak in the symphony called From the New World, which was composed during Dvorak's three-year stay in America. There were many things in the New World which fascinated him, as he kept telling his students in New York: "These beautiful and varied melodies are product of the soil. They are American, and a composer must return to them. Only in this way can a musician express the true sentiment of the people."

And so did Daverne. Many parts of the movement from this symphony contained Native American and African American characteristics.

The concert was closed with Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104, composed by Dvorak with Reynard Rott, a young and talented cellist. He has a strong character in expressing Dvorak's piece. The NCO performance with Gary Daverne and Reynard Rott was a great combination of teamwork, youth and experience.


Concert Lives Up To Spectacular Billing

Written by: Ian Evans
Publication: East Anglian Daily Times, May 29th 1995

East Anglia's own concert in the park lived up to its classic and spectacular billing on Saturday, with a well-orchestrated treat for the thousands who turned up. Orchestrelle '95 in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, was blessed with good weather which allowed for an impressive fireworks display to light up the town sky.

Music-lovers were not disappointed by the Royal Philharmonic which performed popular classics with the expected professionalism of one of the world's premier orchestras. The appreciative audience encamped on the banks of an ideal auditorium, lapped up the offerings of Bizet, Strauss and Grieg among others while tasting their own offerings from the vine.

The atmosphere could be best described as mellow as the social mix on their seats and rugs relished a performance sadly all too rare in the region. To the layman, the organisation must have been a major headache but the organisers carried it out to perfection - bar a mystery microphone relaying the musicians' chitchat during an interval. The music was of course excellent, but probably more important was the sound system which was top quality.

One must not forget the warm-up acts which whetted the appetite of the congregating audience. Doonican's Rant were well worth a concert on their own, albeit on a smaller stage, while Stefani Pleasance and Jessica Templer are the owners of obvious talent.

But it was for the main performance that the concert-goers had paid out 15 pounds a ticket which for nearly five hours of entertainment was a relative snip. It was one of those concerts where you wanted the performance to carry on well beyond the endurance capabilities of the musicians - and the firework technicians.

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture was always going to be the climax and the orchestra, conducted by New Zealander Gary Daverne, did not let the expectation down. The accompanying fireworks turned the night sky over Christchurch Park into a kaleidoscope of colour and fuelled the adrenalin of an already energised audience.

It was a fitting finale to an excellent evening from which it seems many chose to stay away. But as a spectacle it was impressive and professional, for which promoters Cobbold Mills should be congratulated.

Will there be another?


Record Reviews

Written by: Author unknown
Publication: The Press Newspaper, 1992

Leaving behind the "old" theme, this CD covers a cross section of work by an Auckland composer, Gary Daverne, not his debut recording, but one well worth the effort. Not only a composer but a multi-talented instrumentalist, he has a soft spot for the accordion, this instrument being a feature of "Rhapsody".

His approach to music is vigorous and relatively uncomplicated, with lyrical passeges to balance extrovert opening passages. The music owes much to the celluloid epics of film and TV. It does make attractive listening, especially at the big moments in the "Trombone Rondo" or the respective "Concert Overtures".

Home conductors will relish the chance to show their talents in the stirring passages and many are reminiscent of Copland, Ron Goodwin and Ferde Grofe. It would be unfair to take away anything from the originality of Daverne, with so much sparkling colour, humour, diversity and open-handed style that demands recognition.

This summary is summertime listening at its best.


Classical Jingles

Written by: Pat Baskett
Publication: New Zealand Herald, 1991

JINGLES (not the Christmas bell type) have the irk-some habit of going around in your head, imposing themselves on your thought processes and driving you mad. That's a measure of their success, as anyone from an adverising agency will tell you. But not many jingles include, in their life cycle, a stint with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under the baton of William Southgate or John Hopkins. Listen carefully to a CD the NZSO has made of music by Auckland composer Gary Daverne. There, in his Concert Overture - Youth of Auckland, is the tune from a British Airways television commercial that screened in the early 1980s

The main theme in his Rhapsody for Accordion and Orchestra is the jingle from the advertisement for state coal. Elsewhere on the CD, which contains six of Daverne's major compositions, is the theme from the Tip Top commercial. All of which Daverne wrote. "I just recycle", he smiles. Well, why not? Handel did it. Bach sonatas were rewritten for different instruments. Daverne loves writing jingles. He has the happy knack of being able to write music on demand and not, he explains with disarming ingenuousness, because he has anything to say.

Some other contemporary composers from the academic establishment give him sideways looks, or he feels they do. "They think I'm prostituting myself because I write for commercial reasons. But I'm an accountant". He was, too, among his former lives. Daverne trained as a secondary teacher in economics and accounting as well as music, and was head of accounting at Glendowie College. But he gave all that away in 1979 and has been a full-time musician since.

Like many of his ilk, he is something of a jack of all trades. His first instrument was the euphonium, a smaller version of the tuba, which he played in brass bands. Later, he switched to the clarinet and percussion, saxophone and piano, playing in rock groups, jazz bands and symphony orchestras.

Since 1975 he has been musical director of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, which he was involved in founding. There are more than 80 instrumentalists, who meet once a week under Daverne's baton and have performed many of his compositions for orchestra.

Their community-based ethos is close to his heart. Hundreds, he says, are turned away at their free concerts. Daverne travels the country conducting such groups, and loves it. Recently he was in Hawera. "There's such good music there".

His compositions for accordion and symphony orchestra are an attempt to bridge the gap between symphony orchestra and more popular music. The new CD includes the Rhapsody for accordion and Orchestra performed by Harley Jones. Daverne says this work has been performed more than 60 times overseas since he composed it four years ago. He doesn't play the instrument and his involvement with it was initially reluctant. He was known as an arranger for television shows, like Happen Inn, when the Air New Zealand accordion orchestra approached him to do arrangements for them.

They paid cash, so he agreed, and ended up joining them to tour America. He had never even heard them play until he went with them, but when he did "they blew my socks off!" Their association strengthened and he has gone with them to China, and , more recently, to Germany.

Hearing his own music performed gives Daverne a buzz; especially when it's one of the eight operettas he has written for schools. They have titles like Cats of Ponsonby, Robyn and her Women of Sherwood, Pooh and the Bees and their words are written by various scriptwriters. "I like happy, bubbly music", he says. His head is never silent. Going around in it is material for a collection of children's piano pieces. And what more suitable jingle than "I'm a San Bran fan…?"



Written by: Rex Fisher
Publication: New Zealand Herald Recordings Review Column

Versatility would perhaps best describe Auckland composer and conductor Gary Daverne, who has created in Fiedleresque image in Pops and youth music in this country. Crossover music is very much his forte, as displayed on this new compact disc. Daverne's love of film music is strongly apparent in his works.

His compositions have that Big Country feel that is reminiscent not only of Hollywood sound stages but also of the unforgettable musical pictures painted by Copland and Virgil Thomson - not to mention Vaughan Williams.

For instance, his tone poem Ka Puke Maeroero (the Southern Alps): with the services of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - John Hopkins at the helm - suitably long melodic lines, punctuated by big brass and percussion chords, graphically paint the capricious moods of the Great Divide.

His Rhapsody for Accordion and Orchestra, featuring Kiwi accordionist Harley Jones, has a bright Pops ambience about it and is something of a revelation on the compatibility of squeezebox and big band. Jones makes the most of its quiet melodies with a sensitive performance.

Daverne's empathy for brass is apparent in the Rondo for Trombone and Orchestra, with Marc Taddei as soloist. Here again, the wide open spaces are evoked. The sprightly first theme sets a happy mood that prevails throughout.

Not the least of the items on the disc is Three Songs for Choir and Orchestra, featuring Viva Voce (John Rosser). Man That Is Born of Woman makes special appeal, with its gentle cadences, harmonic invention and unsullied vocal beauty.

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