21 Mar 2019

Bringing the electric feel to Auckland

From Upbeat, 12:00 pm on 21 March 2019

Leading ondist Cynthia Millar returns to New Zealand this week to perform with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Cynthia Millar

Cynthia Millar Photo: Steven Nilsson

She’ll be performing on her ondes martenot in Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony on Saturday night as part of the Auckland Arts Festival.

  • RNZ Concert will be broadcasting the concert live as radio and video in Music Alive.

The ondes martenot is an early electric instrument and was invented in the 1920s. It is a keyboard–theremin hybrid, creating wavering like electric sounds.

Created by French inventor Maurice Martenot, he was inspired by the cello and the tones of military radio oscillators.

The instrument has been used in different music genres. It is used in the classical world, chamber music and most recently by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood in his compositions for the band’s 2000 album Kid A.

Cynthia Millar is one of the most famed ondists in the classical realm. She’s performed with top orchestras across the world including the London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Orchestre de Paris and BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms.

Millar last visited in 2003. At the time she spoke to Tim Dodd about her early electric instrument.