Introducing the 2008/2009 season...

This entry goes somewhat behind the scenes of my new season, to divulge some of the (perhaps) more hidden excitements which it contains...Of course, I'm looking forward to several more renditions of Jennifer Higdon's explosive concerto(Phoenix, Cincinnati, Edmonton, Seoul, Dublin, North Carlolina etc) and various orchestral debuts for me with the MacMillan concerto(notably with the Royal Flanders Philharmonic in Antwerp and the De Doelen Hall in Rotterdam) but this season will also see new works and new collaborators. Of exceptional interest to me is the opportunity to be working with British pianist Nicolas Hodges, with whom I played Stockhausen's "Kontakte" at this year's Proms. This Autumn we take on Harrison Birtwistle's coruscating "Axe Manual", and with musical audacity put it alongside Joe Duddell's "Parallel Lines" in a Wigmore Hall recital. Those in or near London, mark down the 24th of October for visceral sounds in graceful surroundings! My valuable relationship with American conductor David Robertson continues in a thrill-seeking vein this season, with "Currie x 3" at the St Louis Symphony Orchestra. I look forward very much to taking the stage in three different works in as many days with one of the hottest conductor/orchestra combos of the day(with my father Iain, who is coming on the trip, cheering from the sidelines!)...This will be a challenging event for all the performers concerned and it will be great to be sharing the experience with such a supportive group.

November sees the premiere of Steve Martland's "Starry Night" for String Quartet and Marimba, which looks like an epic, judging by the recently downloaded pdf of the 57 page score. I first met Steve 13 years ago and it will be excellent to have this new piece to add to my 4tet and percussion repertoire(which took such a boost last season with the Goehr premeire "Since Brass, nor Stone...")

Also new is Kurt Schwertsik's Marimba Concerto "Now you hear me, now you don't" whose title refers to the way the Marimba lines emerge and recede from the String accompaniment. It will be terrific to get a run of seven concerts at the premiere of this work and great to be with my native Scottish Ensemble once again.

Of course, no season is done until Hakan and I get together, and after two really fine concerts last year(San Fransisco and Bruges) in which we really felt that we had finally cracked the programme, I'm in the blocks for more this year with concerts in the UK and Germany, including a muscular premiere from Joe Duddell.

So, I hope that offers a little personal slant on the season ahead and I look forward to reporting more as it progresses. Once again, thanks to all of you who do stop by at the site and for your variously amusing and thoughtful emails which you occasionally send my way...

Best wishes, Colin.