The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has scrapped a number of upcoming shows to concentrate on recording music for The Hobbit sequel.

The orchestra was slated to play concerts in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland in September (13), but the performances have now been postponed so the musicians can work on the score for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which will be released in December (13).

They will record the work of renowned composer Howard Shore, who has overseen the scores of all the movies in the Lord of the Rings franchise, at Wellington Town Hall.

The orchestra's publicist Trudy Shannon says, "There have been a few noisy constituents as you'd expect, but overwhelmingly the public support is in favour of The Hobbit.

"People who have had this situation explained to them can see the financial benefits of a six-week full-time recording over a four-concert tour."

The film's director Peter Jackson adds, "We feel very lucky and excited to be able to work with the extraordinary talents of the Nzso in this world class auditorium as Howard Shore once again journeys into Middle Earth."