About Us

In 1958, under the vision and direction of Professor John Ritchie, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra was formed.

Christchurch is a multi-cultural community bursting with artistic talent, at the heart of which are CSO players who live and work within the city. These talented musicians are the backbone of orchestra and play an integral role in the fabric of Christchurch’s cultural society. The CSO's players form the core of professional music teaching through private and itinerant classes within Christchurch.

The orchestra actively contributes to the cultural diversity of the community through a full and varied concert season, as the orchestra of choice for many touring artists and other arts organisations, through the CSO’s extensive Community Engagement programme, and at civic events.

Championing New Zealand composers and artists is hugely important to the CSO and it has, for many years, showcased, commissioned and premiered New Zealand works and performed with the best of New Zealand talent.

In 2016, the CSO received a Highly-Commended certificate in the Arts Access Awards for their collaboration with Christchurch dance company Jolt Interactive. The orchestra was also a finalist in the New York Festival Radio awards, along with Radio New Zealand, in the Best Music Special category for the live broadcast of the CSO’s first Lamb & Hayward Masterworks concert of 2015, Sea to Sky.

In 2018, the orchestra celebrates its 60th anniversary. 

  • More Info +

    In addition to our concert season we work extensively in the community with our Community Engagement Programme. Through this programme we are committed to making music accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. 

    Christchurch is a multi-cultural community bursting with artistic talent, at the heart of which are our CSO players who live and work within our city. These talented musicians are the backbone of this outstanding orchestra and play an integral role in the fabric of our cultural society. CSO's players form the core of professional music teaching through private and itinerant classes within our city.

    By presenting performances across a wide spectrum in our self - presented concerts, through collaborating with other music and arts organisations and through our dedication to music education we are committed to playing our part in ensuring Christchurch, New Zealand, remains a vibrant cultural city and community.

    As an orchestra we benefit and rely on the support of our patrons, funders and sponsors. Their investment and encouragement of our art is essential and we are most grateful for that.

  • Board +

    Dr Therese Arseneau – Chair

    James Baines

    Bruce Irvine

    Bill Luff

    Kathy Meads

    Peter van Keulen

    Steve Clarke

    Dame Adrienne Stewart – Advisor

  • Administration +

    Gretchen La Roche – Chief Executive Officer 

    Michelle Walsh – Marketing Manager

    Francesca Lee – Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator

    Luke Christiansen - Orchestra Manager

    Anneke Stewart - Head of Development

    Amelia Ryman - Philanthropy Manager

    Clare De Courcy – Artistic Administration Assistant

    Cathy Irons – Community Engagement Programme Leader

    Jenny Johnson – Librarian

    Kerry Dellaca – Finance Manager

    Ian Thorpe – Stage Manager