James MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3, The Mysteries of Light, Receives World Premiere(March 2011)
Jean-Yves Thibaudet Performs New Work with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä, April 14-16, 2011
Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra will perform the world premiere of James MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3, The Mysteries of Light featuring renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, April 14-16, 2011. In recent years, Osmo Vänskä has become a champion of the Scottish composer's music, having performed his works in Minnesota and during his tenure as Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Piano Concerto No. 3, commissioned by Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, is the first world premiere by James MacMillan that the ensemble will present.
The new work for piano and orchestra is not liturgical or devotional, but is inspired by the Catholic Mysteries, and attempts "to revive the ancient practice of writing based on the structure of the rosary," as the composer states. For centuries, Catholics believed in three sets of meditations (Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries), with Pope John Paul II introducing the Luminous Mysteries in 2002. Written in five continuous sections, the work features plainsong melodies and dance-like episodes and culminates in a joyous, rhythmic refrain in the finale. (To see videos of James MacMillan discussing his new work, please click here)
MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3 is his first work for Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and the pianist noted: “I play a lot of music written by a religious French composer; his faith was one of the most important things in his life. The Mysteries of Life is inspired by religious motifs. I expect that there will be mystical moments in the performance of James MacMillan's new piece.”
James MacMillan has written more than 15 works in concerto form, including two previous pieces for piano and orchestra, The Berserking (1990) and Piano Concerto No. 2 (2003), the latter specially commissioned for the New York City Ballet. The Philadelphia Orchestra recently performed the first United States performances of his Violin Concerto (2009) in Philadelphia and New York, with The New York Times proclaiming, "Mr. MacMillan's estimable mastery of orchestral timbre and effect is evident througho...[showcasing] instrumental brilliance and heart-on-sleeve emotionalism." Other recent premieres of MacMillan's music include his new work for trumpet and strings, Seraph, which received its world premiere in London this past February featuring Alison Balsom and the Scottish Ensemble, and his Oboe Concerto, premiered in October 2010 in Birmingham by the Britten Sinfonia and soloist Nicholas Daniel.
James MacMillan is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation. He first attracted attention with the acclaimed BBC Proms premiere of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (1990). His percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (1992) has received over 400 performances worldwide by orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, New York and Los Angeles philharmonics and the Cleveland Orchestra. Other major works include the cantata Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993), Quickening (1998) for soloists, children's choir, mixed choir and orchestra, and the opera Inès de Castro (2001). He was featured composer at Edinburgh Festival (1993), Southbank Centre (1997) and BBC's Barbican Composer Weekend (2005). His interpreters include soloists Evelyn Glennie, Wayne Marshall, and Colin Currie; conductors Leonard Slatkin, Msitslav Rostropovich, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Osmo Vänskä, Marin Alsop, and Sir Donald Runnicles; and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon His recordings can be found on BMG/RCA Red Seal, BIS, Chandos, Naxos, Hyperion, Coro and Black Box.
> For a score sample of MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 3, click here.
> To watch videos of James MacMillan discussing Piano Concerto No. 3, click here.
> To watch a video featuring James MacMillan discussing his concertos, click here.
> To purchase tickets for the Minnesota Orchestra performances, click here.
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Photo: Eric Richmond
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