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In February, the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble gives the world premiere of Turnage’s New England Etudes.

Mark-Anthony Turnage's new piece for percussion sextet, New England Etudes, receives its world premiere on February 6 with the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble. This work was co-commissioned by the New England Conservatory, Colin Currie Group, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Eastman School of Music, ensembleNEWSRQ, Geneva Percussion Ensemble, The Juilliard School, The New World Symphony Percussion Consort, and the Southern Methodist University.

New England Etudes is made up of six different etudes. Turnage dedicated the piece to Will Hudgins, the recently appointed head of the percussion department at New England Conservatory and longtime member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The two met as fellows at Tanglewood in the summer of 1983, and have remained close friends since.

Will Hudgins comments: “Turnage incorporates a variety of traditional instruments throughout the work. His interest in jazz music is a consistent source of inspiration in his output and is immediately evident as this piece has a swinging lilt from the opening measures. The use of a drum set-style setup and two vibraphones also adds to his nod to the genre. Odd meters and the sharing of motives throughout the group abound. The exception to this style is the fifth etude, entitled 'Bells for Ukraine,' a movement that stands apart from the others in its solemnity. This eighteen-minute work is a tremendously welcome addition to the percussion repertoire, and we are pleased to present the work with the composer in attendance.”

Shortly after the world premiere, ensembleNEWSRQ performs New England Etudes on March 13 in Sarasota, Florida, with additional performances to be announced in the 2023-2024 season.

Other major Turnage performances this season include the world premiere of his brass quintet ONYX 23 with Onyx Brass in London (March 21); the Swiss premiere of his trumpet concerto Håkan with trumpetist Hakan Hardenberger, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Daniel Harding (April 5); and the Japanese premiere of Time Flies with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Kazushi Ono after being postponed in 2020 (April 21).

>  Further information on Work: New England Etudes

Photo: James Bellorini

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