17 Jan 2024

At age 12, Richie Tu will be the youngest musician on stage at the annual Mitre10 Sparks outdoor concert, where he will be performing with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

The Medbury School student has been learning music since the age of six and first picked up a cello aged eight. Richie says, “What I love most about playing the cello is the deep rich sound and that when you practise, you get to sit on a chair.”

As a founding member of CSO Virtuosi, the youth orchestra, the talented cellist was elated to be chosen to feature alongside CSO at Mitre10 Sparks for a performance of Allegro Moderato from Goltermann’s Cello Concerto NO.4 In G Major.

“Performing with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra is amazing because you get to play with some of the top musicians in New Zealand.”

Mitre10 Sparks features both traditional orchestral masterpieces and contemporary music like pop songs, iconic film scores and cultural collaborations.

Richie says he’s most looking forward to “playing in front of a huge public crowd and showing my generation that music is the key to life.”

One day, Richie hopes to join CSO or NZSO and perform overseas in world-class venues.

Auckland-based conductor David Kay, who is also MC for the show, says he’s thrilled for the young star.

“It's a real delight to showcase these young musicians on stage, and for the audience, it's a special moment to connect even closer with their local community and then continue to follow these young players through their careers,” he says.

“The Sparks concert is such a fun way to start off the year with crowd-friendly music, a community spirit and of course the famous fireworks finale spectacular. The fabulous musicians of CSO are a joy to come and work with each year, and the 2024 concert is looking just as exciting as usual!”

Mitre10 Sparks is an all-ages concert held in North Hagley Park on Saturday 3 February from 6.30 – 9.30pm. The show is free to attend and is proudly produced by Christchurch City Council and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Find all the details at What’s On.

Image: Richie Tu performing with CSO in December 2023 for ‘CSO Presents: Festive Christmas at the Christchurch Town Hall’