12 May 2020

Peter Biggs appointed CEO of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

From Upbeat, 1:10 pm on 12 May 2020

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) has appointed Peter Biggs CNZM as the Orchestra’s new Chief Executive from a field of over 100 national and international applicants.

Peter Biggs, CEO New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Peter Biggs, CEO New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Photo: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Peter Biggs’ appointment was confirmed after a rigorous search process, comprising both external and internal advisors and decision-makers. Biggs has been the NZSO’s Interim Chief Executive since December 2019.  He replaces Christopher Blake who retired in February this year.

Chair Laurence Kubiak says, “We are delighted to have Peter Biggs as the Orchestra’s new Chief Executive and we have every confidence that he will lead from the front as the NZSO begins an exciting new stage of its journey.”

“In appointing Peter Biggs, we have a Chief Executive who has extensive knowledge of the orchestral sector within and beyond New Zealand. He was on the Board of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for some years and has been a Board Member of the NZSO since 2014. He was Chair of the Government’s Orchestral Sector Review in 2013.

“In addition, with a long career leading outstandingly successful advertising agencies in New Zealand and Australia, he has unparalleled experience and expertise in understanding the needs of audiences and how organisations can connect powerfully and relevantly with those audiences. He has led and inspired successful organisational transformations and also has extensive experience, as a Chair and Board Member, in leading public sector organisations.” 

Kristjan Järvi conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Kristjan Järvi conducts the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Photo: RNZ Concert

On Morning Report, Biggs outlined the plans for the NZSO in Level 2 of lockdown, admitting "It's going to be terrific to bring the orchestra back together to play for all New Zealanders".

The NZSO has been streaming up to four concerts a week during level 3 and 4 of lockdown with players collaborating from the safety of their own homes. Biggs is hoping the Michael Fowler Centre will be open from the beginning of next week for full orchestral rehearsals and for livestream concert performances.

Social distancing rules mean the 90 person orchestra won't have an audience in the concert hall, but they will livestream their performances for all Kiwis to enjoy while adhering to government guidelines and international best practice.