Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Philadelphia Orchestra to Present Philly Commissions Micro-Festival, 10/31-11/2
Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Commissions Micro-Festival
Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra present a Philadelphia Commissions Micro-Festival October 31-November 2, a key artistic initiative of Mr. Nézet-Séguin's second season as music director.
Three leading international composers have been commissioned to write solo works for three of the Orchestra's principal musicians. Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainenpremieres Tan Dun's Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, Symphony for Micro Films, Harp, and Orchestra (October 31 and November 1); Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner premieres Behzad Ranjbaran's Flute Concerto (October 31 and November 2); and Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa premieres David Ludwig's Pictures from the Floating World (November 1 and 2).
Over the course of three days, the Orchestra presents three distinct programs, each containing two of the three commissions in different pairings. Also featured on every concert are Bernstein's Overture to Candide and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances-the composer's final composition, which he dedicated to The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1941. All three composers will be in residence over the weekend to share their insights into the complex, creative process that exists between composer and soloist.
Passionate about the work of current-day composers and committed to showcasing the incredible artistry within the Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin says the Commissions Micro-Festival demonstrates the Orchestra's responsibility to champion new music, while also showcasing what he calls the ensemble's "genius" musicians. "They are among the most virtuosic and the best in their field," he adds, "and by partnering with 21st-century composers, they can develop a new language for their instruments. And to really celebrate these works we will focus on them over an entire weekend, giving audiences the chance to hear them in different combinations, hear their diversity of styles in contrast to one another."
Tan Dun's Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women, Symphony for Micro Films, Harp, and Orchestra, written for Principal Harp Elizabeth Hainen, is a multimedia work based on a disappearing language created in Hunan, China, in the 13th century. The piece incorporates video and audio of the handful of remaining women who still speak the language with music for orchestra and solo harp, which the composer chose because it's "the most feminine instrument." "This language was passed on ... always from a mother to daughter and always by singing," says Tan Dun. "I want the harp to serve as a very, very dramatic sound source to link this ancient tradition of the women's language-singing, and reading, and writing-to the future sounds of The Philadelphia Orchestra and modern orchestras." Their songs, words, and images, captured in "micro-films" lasting about one to five minutes long, became the foundation for Nu-Shu, which is a three-way commission between The Philadelphia Orchestra, the NHK Symphony, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and which received its premiere on May 22, 2012, in Tokyo with Tan Dun conducting the NHK Symphony.