Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Steven Mackey's CONCERTO FOR CURVED SPACE Premieres In Boston

Inspired by the idea of simultaneous, multidimensional realities in the universe, Mackey created what he calls a “trippy” fantasy-like concerto for orchestra.

Steven Mackey's CONCERTO FOR CURVED SPACE Premieres In Boston

On January 26-28, Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Steven Mackey's Concerto for Curved Space, co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

A physics major in college, Mackey has frequently written works that reflect his awe and wonder of the universe, such as String Theory (1998) for string quartet and his first orchestral piece The Big Bang and Beyond. The title of new piece, Concerto for Curved Space, references a book Mackey read 30 years ago called Sphereland: A Fantasy About Curved Spaces and an Expanding Universe. A central theme of the book is the inability to accept a possible reality that lies beyond one's perception, as various beings who exist in different two- and three- and four-dimensional planes refuse to acknowledge or comprehend each other's realities.

Inspired by the idea of simultaneous, multidimensional realities in the universe, Mackey created what he calls a "trippy" fantasy-like concerto for orchestra, full of musical portals that transform musical material, as well as multi-layered themes that crossfade, overlap, and engage in counterpoint. The piece is 30 minutes long and written in four movements.

Mackey describes the piece:

Concerto for Curved Space is a fantasy that revels in the space for imagination that lies between our curiosity and perceptual limitations. It's a psychedelic and kaleidoscopic journey-a 'trip' that attempts to fuse the childhood wonder of lying on my back staring up at the stars, majoring in physics in college, and a lifetime of developing my craft as an orchestra composer. Curved Space is merely a prompt to explore non-straight continuities and otherworldly textures.

One musical idea-first introduced at the beginning of the piece-appears throughout the score and acts as a "musical portal": It can have a transformative effect on the surrounding musical material, or transport the music to a different space, or perhaps simply appear and disappear, leaving the music it encounters untouched. Mackey describes this music as the "most literally 'curved' because of the microtonal inflections in and out of a symmetrical harmony. In my mind it is a portal to other (musical) dimensions ... or maybe it is the hum of the universe."

Steven Mackey's CONCERTO FOR CURVED SPACE Premieres In Boston

Concert Information

January 26 at 7:30pm ET

January 28 at 8pm ET

Symphony Hall | Boston, MA

Concert info

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons

Baiba Skride, violin

STEVEN MACKEY Concerto for Curved Space (World Premiere)

Dmitri Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 2

JOHANNES BRAHMS Symphony No. 4



Chester Theatre Company Announces 2023 Season Photo
Recently appointed Co-Producing Artistic Directors James Barry and Tara Franklin have announced Chester Theatre Company’s 2023 season, the first under their direction. Barry and Franklin are known for their award-winning work on the Town Hall Theatre stage, and they are now heading the organization and programming works for Chester audiences.

Silkroad Presents TRAIN STATION TRIOS: Songs & Stories Of The American Railroad Photo
 Silkroad has announced a new series of concerts, Train Station Trios: Songs & Stories of the American Railroad, that is tied to its multi-year initiative led by Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens. In the series, local scholars and Silkroad artists will gather to shed light on hidden chronicles and powerful stories through new music and storytelling, painting a richer and more accurate picture of the origins of the American Empire.

Neal McDonough to Star in HUNTING WHITEY at Bostons Historic Wilbur Theatre for One Night  Photo
Neal McDonough will return to his native Boston to play notorious Irish crime boss James 'Whitey' Bulger in the stage adaption of the true crime bestseller Hunting Whitey: The Untold Story of the Capture and Killing of America's Most Wanted Crime Boss at Boston's historic Wilbur Theatre for one night only - Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Enjoy February School Vacation Fun at Cotuit Center for the Arts! Photo
Cotuit Center for the Arts will offer a wide variety of family-friendly programming during February school vacation, running daily Tuesday-Friday, February 21-24, 2023. 


More Hot Stories For You


Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais Will RetireBoston Ballet Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais Will Retire
February 7, 2023

Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen announces the retirement of Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais from the Company and his appointment to Boston Ballet School's Professional Division at Walnut Hill as Full Time Faculty. Arrais joined Boston Ballet as an artist of the Company in 2010, was promoted to soloist in 2011, and to principal dancer in 2012.  

Chester Theatre Company Announces 2023 SeasonChester Theatre Company Announces 2023 Season
February 7, 2023

Recently appointed Co-Producing Artistic Directors James Barry and Tara Franklin have announced Chester Theatre Company’s 2023 season, the first under their direction. Barry and Franklin are known for their award-winning work on the Town Hall Theatre stage, and they are now heading the organization and programming works for Chester audiences.

Silkroad Presents TRAIN STATION TRIOS: Songs & Stories Of The American RailroadSilkroad Presents TRAIN STATION TRIOS: Songs & Stories Of The American Railroad
February 7, 2023

 Silkroad has announced a new series of concerts, Train Station Trios: Songs & Stories of the American Railroad, that is tied to its multi-year initiative led by Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens. In the series, local scholars and Silkroad artists will gather to shed light on hidden chronicles and powerful stories through new music and storytelling, painting a richer and more accurate picture of the origins of the American Empire.

Neal McDonough to Star in HUNTING WHITEY at Boston's Historic Wilbur Theatre for One Night OnlyNeal McDonough to Star in HUNTING WHITEY at Boston's Historic Wilbur Theatre for One Night Only
February 6, 2023

Neal McDonough will return to his native Boston to play notorious Irish crime boss James 'Whitey' Bulger in the stage adaption of the true crime bestseller Hunting Whitey: The Untold Story of the Capture and Killing of America's Most Wanted Crime Boss at Boston's historic Wilbur Theatre for one night only - Tuesday, May 16, 2023.

Enjoy February School Vacation Fun at Cotuit Center for the Arts!Enjoy February School Vacation Fun at Cotuit Center for the Arts!
February 3, 2023

Cotuit Center for the Arts will offer a wide variety of family-friendly programming during February school vacation, running daily Tuesday-Friday, February 21-24, 2023.