Announcing Season 17/18 – Premieres galore from Birtwistle to Dean to Akiho

This comes to you en route to New Zealand, for my third outing with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. This occasions brings together both of James MacMillan‘s percussion concertos – Percussion Concerto No2 tours with the NZSO flagship orchestra and Veni, Veni, Emmanuel gets outings with the NZSO Youth Orchestra. All concerts conducted by the composer, and in programmes of diverse British and contemporary music. A fine way to spend the adjoining passage of time between one season and the next – and herein some words on what’s occurring in 17/18!

I first met American composer Andy Akiho at the Aspen Festival back in 2011, a student of Chris Rouse who was keen to introduce us. All with good reason – Andy was emerging then as a distinctive writer with a fluent penchant for percussion via his numerous works featuring steel pans and multi-percussion, often for his ensemble, The Foundry. He was also cutting his orchestral chops – not least of all in a commission by a certain New York Philharmonic. A charming and energetic chap, we resolved easily to make something happen together when the time was right – and I’m thrilled that his resultant Percussion Concerto will be the highlight of  my closing season as Artist-in-Residence with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. My yearly visits to beautiful Portland have been extremely happy times, and this final fling will be a formidable conclusion.

Dave Maric remains my most frequent collaborator for project-based work; whatever the line-up, I can be sure he will furnish me with something deeply original and compelling. This Premiere sees us performing together as soloists, in a work for us to perform with the Scottish Ensemble this September. Our exact instrumentation is still a work in progress – but expect loops, Moogs, and an instrumental conglomerate that could only ever be THE DAVE-A-TRON.

More long-termed plans take shape this season too, as Brett Dean completes his duo work for myself and Hakan Hardenberger. Following the fabulous launch of his new opera “Hamlet”, Brett is not done with The Dane, as his duet entitled “The Scene of the Crime” sees its World Premiere in Malmo, suspiciously close to Copenhagen. Hmmm. Joe Duddell will also extend his work “Catch”, and the new version will be premiered in Snape Maltings, in November.

I’ll also be back collaborating with Mr Nicolas Hodges, an artist of exceptional finesse. As well as bringing Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s “Kontakte” to life once again, we will also premiere a new work by Harrison Birtwistle, a sonorous and buzzing new addition to the piano/percussion repertoire.

There is of course a bracing list of concerti, from recent premieres. Andrew Norman, Louis Andriessen, Steve Mackey, HK Gruber, Simon Holt, Einojunahi Rautavaara, Joey Roukens, Mark-Anthony Turnage, as well as my first time with John Corigliano‘s “Conjurer” (in my return to Houston Symphony) will all certainly keep me busy. My solo recital is out-and-about (mostly in the USA) and CCG keep Steve Reich‘s music present in the season following the composer’s celebratory 80th birthday.

Where/When? Keep an eye on the schedule section of the this site, or for snapshotted updates from the road, follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Remember to keep fighting “THE MAN” this year too. More important than ever, I suspect.

Cheers!! Keep listening.

Colin (with Sir James MacMillan in Utrecht, at the Premiere of Percussion Concerto No.2)

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