Dear Readers! It's amazing to look back on the last 12 months and survey the works added to the percussion repertoire. With the greatest of enthusiasm, I can say that the landscape is in a state of constant creative flux and development - and with an enormous amount of stylistic variety too. All of the works premiered by me last season see repeat performances in the coming months - yet I am also very proud to focus on a new set of pieces that will be heard for the first time in the Season 2012/13. First of all, I give the Premiere of Dave Maric's Chamber Concerto "Towards Future's Embrace" at The Luosto Classic Festival in Finland. The ninth Premiere I have given by this composer, Maric is the writer whose work I have performed the most and who, arguably, understands my development as a player the best (we played in a band together when I was a teenager and have worked together ever since). This new ambitious work crackles with his typically syncopated energy, reflective and haunting expressiveness, and provides an opening for several lengthy (notated) solos on the timbales, realising a burning desire of mine!
Julia Wolfe writes a new concerto commissioned by the BBC, which I will play as part of my Artist-In-Residence arrangement at London's South Bank Centre. A long-standing fan of her music and the way she understands percussion instruments, their power and sonority, this work is my first collaboration with a Bang-on-Can composer and promises to be an entertaining and visceral addition to my repertoire.
For the third successive occasion, I am involved with the Premiere of the "test-piece" for the TROMP International Festival and Competition. This time, American sensation Nico Muhly is the composer in question. He is writing a Double Concerto for two percussion soloists, which I will premiere with each of the TROMP finalists in turn, allowing for perhaps a world-first for a composer - hearing a new work performed three times in one day each time with a different soloist! The piece promises to be a brilliantly inventive affair - sharp and highly imaginative. We (myself and the "the victorious") tour it, with the Britten Sinfonia, around Europe later in the season.
Max De Wardener fulfils a commission from L'Orchestre National du Bordeaux Aquitaine for a special gala event that pairs his work with "The Right of Spring". This Premiere will chart a very thorough and thoughtful investigation of the percussion sound-world, and De Wardener's broad and daring orchestral landscape has me raring to go for this new work.
Crucial though, as already stated, is the continuation of performances of recent works. As such, Einojuhani Rautavaara's "Incantations" gets a French Premiere, Simon Holt a German one, Elliot Carter's "Two Controversies and a Converstion" will be heard in Paris, Kurt Schwertsik's Marimba Concerto arrives in the USA, and Joey Roukens has his fabulous concerto presented once again in Rotterdam by way of triumphant return. Kalevi Aho gets extensive play with Finnish, US, Swedish and Australasian Premieres, and Jennifer Higdon's concerto continues its inexorable success-story, a concerto I have played on average (more than) once a month for every month of every year since its Premiere in November 2005.
I kick the season off for three great orchestras - with The Oslo Philharmonic (my debut) which includes a tour to Austria's famous Graffeneg Festival, The Bochum Symphony (another debut) and with the terrific and close colleagues of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. Other debut appearances include concerts in Luxembourg, Dusseldorf, Gothenburg, Singapore and with the Melbourne Symphony.
I'm pleased also to be focussing on Christopher Rouse's Fantasy for Percussion and Orchestra "Der Gerettete Alberich" this season, with concerts of this work in Germany, Portugal, Australia, with the Baltimore Symphony and, excitingly, with The Philadelphia Orchestra, which marks my return there following my debut in 2005.
Project work continues apace, with a US Tour together with The Miro Quartet including new works for percussion and string quartet (all written for myself) by Michael Torke, Steve Martland, Alexander Goehr and Dave Maric. The Colin Currie Group performs continually in the UK and, in a rich coup for the ensemble, tours to Japan with Steve Reich himself for two exceptionally prestigious concerts at Tokyo Opera City.
With two new Cds just released (MacMillan on Challenge Records and Rautavaara on Ondine) I hope to be reaching a big audience this season. Please stop by some of these events if you are able, and I do hope you enjoy this marvellous new music!!
All best wishes, Colin