Eric Schultz To Perform John Corigliano's Iconic Clarinet Concerto With The Chelsea Symphony

The performance will take place on June 15 at 8pm.

By: Jun. 11, 2024
Eric Schultz To Perform John Corigliano's Iconic Clarinet Concerto With The Chelsea Symphony
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As John Corigliano's first commission from the New York Philharmonic, the Clarinet Concerto launched his career into the stratosphere. Premiered in 1977 under the baton of Leonard Bernstein, the concerto is a notorious crowd-pleaser and still sounds new to this day. "The work starts unexpectedly with this luminous whirlwind of colors from the clarinet. It's just magical. You really haven't heard a concerto until you've heard this one," said Eric Schultz, featured soloist. Notably, Corigliano's father, former 23-year concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, had passed right before writing the work. In stark contrast to the virtuosity of the outer movements, the desolate second movement is written in his memory. With impossibly long lines passing between the clarinet and violin that never seem to resolve, Schultz remarked, "It's one of the most profound representations of loss and grief that I have ever encountered in music."

Alongside the Clarinet Concerto, The Chelsea Symphony's June 15 season finale also features vibrant Latin American idioms in Leonard Bernstein's beloved Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Gabriela Ortiz's exuberant Kauyumari. Known for socially engaged programming and advocating for living composers, The Chelsea Symphony has previously performed Corigliano's music, including his First Symphony during NYC Pride in 2019, marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt, Corigliano's First Symphony commemorates the friends he had lost, and was losing, to the disease. Schultz commented on the experience, "Now more than ever, I fear that LGBTQ history is being lost. It was a privilege to perform this significant work during such a meaningful event." He continued, "Few orchestras ever attempt the Clarinet Concerto because of its magnitude and difficulty. To be returning five years after the symphony to close out this season, in celebration of pride, performing mere blocks from where this masterpiece premiered is an indescribable honor."

Schultz recently played through the concerto for the composer. Corigliano commented, it will be "a sensation."

John Corigliano is one of the most celebrated composers alive. Local to New York and faculty at the Juilliard School, his many accolades include a Pulitzer Prize, a Grawemeyer Award, five Grammy Awards, and an Academy Award. He is best known for his Grammy award-winning First Symphony and his Academy award-winning film score to The Red Violin. Eric Schultz is an uncompromising advocate for the music of our time whose unique voice on the clarinet has inspired many of today's finest composers. Hailed a "mastermind" in the Myrtle Beach Herald, Schultz was recently selected as a quarterfinalist for the 2025 Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award.