“Quality programming and an excellent performance conducted by Peter Walls were both hallmarks of this very successful concert.” Waikato Times 15 September 2014
Ravel, Berlioz (Nuits d’Ete with Bianca Andrew), John Elmsly, Mozart (Masonic Funeral Music), and Haydn (Trauersinfonie)
Inspired programming by Peter Walls and the Opus Orchestra’s attention to rhythmic detail enhanced by a warm and rich tonal palette lead to a scintillating and engaging concert. Peter Walls’ performance captured Ravel’s beautifully languid slow tempi and expressive qualities with serenity.
– Andrew Buchanan Smart, Waikato Times 15 April 2014
Brahms, Bruckner, David Hamilton, and Gabrieli with Nota Bene
Peter Walls was guest conductor, and his vigorous yet sensitive conducting bore out a comment from Classics Today: “Peter Walls understands the overall period style and he obviously cares a lot about ensemble balance and uniformity of tone and colour.”
– Rosemary Collier, Middle C 29 March 2014
Mendelssohn, Weber, Body and Mozart with Opus Orchestra
Peter Walls gave us Mozart at his best; minute details captured with nuances evident. Opus and Peter Walls gave an all-round very strong performance
– Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times 16 September 2013
Haydn’s Creation with the Hamilton Civic Choir and Opus Orchestra
Right from the opening depiction of Chaos the shifting, weaving C minor soundscape drew us in – pulsating, swelling and mysterious. It was spellbinding, lump in the throat stuff. Peter Walls and Opus Orchestra had created the magic which continued for the rest of the performance.
– Russell Armitage, Waikato Times 29 July 2013
2012 (September) “Connections” Concerts with Opus Orchestra
Under the masterly direction of Peter Walls the Opus Orchestra excelled in its “Connections” programme . . . Schubert’s Symphony No. 4 in C Minor (the Tragic) again demonstrated the ability of conductor Peter Walls to evoke the spirit of Schubert’s own Viennese nature.
–Warwick Braithwaite, Bay of Plenty Times 1 October 2012
“a finely balanced and crafted performance by Opus and Peter Walls”
– Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times 1 October 2012
2012 (July) 21st Anniversary Concerts with Opus Orchestra
Conductor Peter Walls captured the architectural essence of the piece but infused each movement with its own character, from fate knocking at the door of the first movement, the beautiful lyricism coupled with military heroism of the second, the sneaky playfulness of the scherzo and from the entry of the trombones in the fourth a wonderful sense of triumph ended the concert. Michael Williams, The Waikato Times 23 July 2012
Opus has in Peter Walls an inspiring and perceptive conductor and there is an exceptional spirit among its players, so that their concerts are consistently alive and pleasing. . . Opus brought out strongly the human drama of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, with Peter Walls adroitly handling the composer’s sharp swings between a stark defiance to approaching deafness and music of sheer beauty. Hanno Fairburn, The Daily Post (Rotorua) 23 July 2012.
As we’ve come to expect from this orchestra, all sections played and responded beautifully to Maestro Walls’ clever phrasing. In the final movement, the orchestra erupted with truly magnificent fire and intensity. Chalium Poppy, Bay of Plenty Times, 23 July 2012
2011 Close Encounters with the NZSO
Thursday 15 December, 6.30pm
The NZSO brought its year to an end . . . with two ‘outreach’ concerts which gave retiring chief executive Peter Walls the chance to demonstrate both his conducting prowess and his distinctive gifts as a musical communicator, with words.
The hall was almost full, with many family groups, and lots of faces unfamiliar at regular orchestral concerts. This second concert, running little over an hour, dwelt on the emergence of Romanticism in music, where Walls drew frequent contrasts with the music of the classical period which he had discussed on the previous evening. His starting point was the famous 1808 concert that Beethoven mounted of his own works including both his 5th and 6th symphonies.
His introductory scene-setting: ‘On a cold, windy and wet evening in December’ – and he paused before saying – ‘1808’, prompted the audience, laughing, to recall the conditions outside (That amazing, four-hour concert also included the 4th Piano Concerto, parts of the Mass in C major and the Choral Fantasy, Op 80!) . . . Walls’s lively characterisation of the changes that the Romantic movement made to composers’ aims and expectations in music would have alerted the audience, particularly those who’d been at the earlier concert, to the greater attention to the expression of feelings as formal classical shapes, still very important, were no longer music’s main preoccupation. . . . the sound was big and rich . . . there was no doubt that under Peter Walls, the players were investing the music with full commitment and a warm Romantic spirit.
– Lindis Taylor, Middle C (15 December 2011)
since 2004 Music Director, Opus Orchestra (The Regional Orchestra for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty giving regular concerts in Hamilton, Tauranga, and Rotorua)
“Walls yet again demonstrated his impeccable gift for phrasing in both the orchestra’s string and woodwind sections; the musicians almost singing rather than playing their parts.” Bay of Plenty Times December 2011
Opus under the baton of Peter Walls is becoming a tour de force on the orchestral scene and performances like this can only enhance their reputation.” Andrew Buchanan-Smart, Waikato Times, 2 February 2008
2010 NZSO National Youth Orchestra, part of a concert with Placido Domingo, Katherine Jenkins and Eugene Kohn in the CBS Arena, Christchurch. (Peter had taken preliminary rehearsals with the NYO before Maestro Kohn’s arrival in the country and was then invited to conduct three items in the concert itself.)
“The NZSO National Youth Orchestra played their hearts out and offered a very professional supporting sound . . . Peter Walls, conducted orchestral excerpts from Carmen, which really came to life.” Timothy Jones (“Domingo oozes power in Christchurch”), Christchurch Press 7 October 2010
2009 Southern Opera, with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Puccini Gianni Schicchi – performances in Christchurch (4), Ashburton, and Oamaru).
“Musically, Peter Walls kept the performance secure and alive.” Christchurch Press 14 March 2009
2009 Voices New Zealand and Opus Orchestra, Fauré Requiem in the Tauranga Festival
2006 (and 2008) Guest conductor, Nota Bene (chamber choir). Both concerts were broadcast on Radio New Zealand Concert
“the beauty and purity of their singing for conductor Peter Walls made for some breath-catching moments in places.” Peter Mechen, Middle C
2007 Wellington Bach Choir with members of the NZSO: Handel Israel in Egypt
2006 Viola Viva at the International Viola Society Congress (Australasian premiere of Brett Dean’s Testament)
2000 Gisborne Opera Festival with the Victoria University Orchestra: Bizet, Carmen (also abridged concert performance in the Legislative Chamber of the NZ Parliament)