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Oliver Knussen 60th Birthday Concert

 25 May 2012 at 7.30pm 

Oliver Knussen 60th Birthday Concert

CBSO Centre, Birmingham
Berkley Street, Birmingham
United Kingdom

Conductor: Oliver Knussen
Piano: Huw Watkins

‘No figure in British contemporary music is more respected than Oliver Knussen’
The Guardian

In his 60th birthday year, BCMG Artist-in-Association Oliver Knussen is widely regarded as a profoundly influential composer and one of Britain’s finest conductors. How better way to end our 2011/12 season than with a celebratory concert featuring his most recent composition and music by young composers championed by Knussen.

Energy, dance, darkness, glistening surfaces, collisions and juxtapositions, jolting rhythms and a slow-burning lyricism; all are present in Tansy Davies’ music. Amongst her works are striking concerti for saxophone (Iris, which BCMG recorded with Simon Haram in December 2010) and trumpet (Spiral House, inspired by the architecture of Zaha Hadid). Tansy’s new concerto for pianist Huw Watkins is inspired partly by the writings of Carlos Castaneda on sorcery and in particular on the symbolism of moths.

Sean Shepherd is one of America’s leading young composers. Oliver Knussen premiered his 2009 orchestral work Wanderlust with the Cleveland Orchestra, and now conducts the UK premiere of These Particular Circumstances, a sequence of uninterrupted episodes titled Floating, Circling, Spinning, Grinding, Sinking, Teetering, Soaring.

The second UK premiere in the programme comes from Magnus Lindberg - one of the most talented European composers of his generation. Souvenir is the latest commission linked to his residency with the New York Philharmonic and is a 25-minute, three movement work for 18 players.

In 1975 Oliver Knussen wrote Ophelia Dances for nine players, always intending to add to it; 35 years later comes Ophelia’s Last Dance for solo piano. Premiered in 2010 and revised in 2011, this ten-minute work continues a dance begun all those years ago.

Sean Shepherd : These particular Circumstances
Tansy Davies : Nature
Oliver Knussen : Ophelia Dances
Oliver Knussen : Ophelia’s Last Dance
Magnus Lindberg : Souvenir

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