Daniel Barenboim conducted the premiere of Johannes Boris Borowski's Encore in May, and is soloist in the composer's new piano concerto Stretta on 15 November.
Berlin-based composer Johannes Boris Borowski is enjoying collaborations with Daniel Barenboim this year including two major premieres. His ensemble work Encore was commissioned for the opening season of the new Boulez Concert Hall at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin and premiered last month under Barenboim’s baton.
November brings the first performance of Borowski’s new piano concerto Stretta, with Daniel Barenboim as soloist and the Staatskapelle conducted by Zubin Mehta at the Berlin Philharmonie. The new 23-minute work was commissioned by the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin. The special concert at the Philharmonie is in honour of Barenboim's 75th birthday and also features Barenboim as soloist in Beethoven's Emperor Concerto.
It is rare for a composer to have two substantial works for piano and orchestra premiered so close, but this year also introduced Borowski’s earlier Piano Concerto. Composed in 2010-11, the work was recorded by Wergo with Florent Boffard as soloist, who returned for the belated premiere in Cologne in March with the WDR Symphony Orchestra under Manuel Nawri.
Both works explore the dramatic relation of soloist and orchestra: in the Piano Concerto the keyboard acts under reflex like a marionette seeking emancipation, while in Stretta the music moves from monumental structures to playful character episodes. Borowski quotes Barenboim: "Music is not about being safe. Music is about courage, and courage means risk".
Borowski's current projects include a piano cycle Miniaturen and a clarinet trio As if for the Eclat festival in Stuttgart due for premiere in February 2018.