Beyond Words Beyond Words
Aotearoa NZ

Beyond Words

  • Music
  • World Premiere Season

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra 
Te Tira Pūoro o Aotearoa

To mark the 5th anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque attacks, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra presents a unique collaboration promoting unity and peace through music.

Conducted by Fawzi Haimor, and featuring powerful Moroccan vocalist Oum and oud virtuoso Kyriakos Tapakis, the NZSO performs works from Valerie Coleman, Reza Vali, Arvo Pärt, and the world premiere of a new work from acclaimed Aotearoa composer John Psathas, ONZM.

Psathas’ Ahlan wa Sahlan, composed in collaboration with Oum and Tapakis, uses the Arabic welcome greeting to let people know they are in a place where they belong.
Beyond Words
is a symphonic expression of solidarity and peace performed as a prelude to Unity Week.

Valerie Coleman - Umoja, Anthem of Unity
Hamish Oliver - Hasbi Rabbi / Molla Mamad Jan  
Oum - Daba
Reza Vali - Four Movements For String Quartet And String Orchestra / Mvt. III: Funebre
Kyriakos Tapakis - Mantilatos
Arvo Pärt - Silouans Song (My Soul Yearns after the Lord…)
John Psathas - Ahlan wa Sahlan (New Commission)
Janna Ezat: A Journey Through Arabic Calligraphy
12.00-4.45pm, Balcony Foyer, Auckland Town Hall

In the Islamic world, Arabic calligraphy is more than an art form, it is an expression of devotion, identity, and cultural heritage.

In this exhibition, distinguished calligraphist Janna Ezat encapsulates the spiritual significance of written words, in a unique narrative that recounts her extraordinary life’s journey.

This exhibition unfolds with a welcome piece from New Zealand that sets the tone for a journey that spans continents and cultures. From her early years in Iraq, to furthering her studies of calligraphy in Egypt, and the subsequent chapters in the Emirates where both her son and daughter were born. The exhibition concludes with a powerful piece dedicated to Jannas son Hussein Al-Umari, commemorating his bravery, and honouring his legacy in the after math of the tragic attack.

The Sounds of Unity, Pre-Concert Artist Talk
2.00-2.45pm, Supper Room, Auckland Town Hall

Ahlan wa Sahlan composer, John Psathas, and Beyond Words conductor, Fawzi Haimor, and soloists, Kyriakos Tapakis and OUM, along with Ihklaq Kashkari past president of FIANZ and other invited panelists from Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington kōrero on the role the arts can have in unifying communities. This panel discussion provides context to the composition written for Beyond Words, as well as how other artists and organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand celebrate and practice unity and will be moderated by Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts festival Kaitohu Toi Artistic Director Shona McCullagh.

Beyond Words, Behind-The-Scenes

12.00-4.45pm, Deutz Bar Auckland Town Hall

Get a glimpse behind-the-scenes at preparations for the concert mixed with those for Unity Week.

John Psathas has written a new symphonic work celebrating Islam’s messages of peace and unity as we move towards Unity Week. This new work premieres in a concert in Ōtautahi Christchurch on March 7th and will then be performed in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland as part of Auckland Arts Festival before Ramadan begins at sundown on March 10th. The concert will be recorded by RNZ Concert for broadcast. 

To ensure audiences can fully engage, there will be a series of screens and headphones set up in the Fletcher Challenge Foyer of the Michael Fowler Centre for people to view before the concert.

Prayer Room

Available from 3.30-6.00pm, Supper Room, Auckland Town Hall

*Lowest standard public price with no restrictions
This work has been created with guidance from The Central Iqra Trust and Muslim communities from across Aotearoa.

From $59.90*

Buy now


  • Sun
    Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall


1hr 30mins inc interval and prayer time

301-317 Queen Street,
Auckland Central

+64 9 309 2677


Presented by Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts Festival in association with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Te Tira Pūoro o Aotearoa.


  • New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Te Tira Pūoro o Aotearoa)
  • Fawzi Haimor
  • Oum
  • Kyriakos Tapakis


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