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The Oregon Symphony Performs the US Premiere of Vijay Iyer's Human Archipelago

Jan. 29, 2023

The Oregon Symphony Performs the US Premiere of Vijay Iyer's <em>Human Archipelago</em>

Deanna Tham led the Oregon Symphony and cellist Inbal Segev in the US premiere performances of Vijay Iyer's cello concerto, Human Archipelago on January 13-16. Inbal Segev and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Edward Gardner, performed the world premiere of Human Archipelago on October 1 at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

The Boise Philharmonic and Inbal Segev gave the Mountain Time Zone premiere of Human Archipelago on January 21 under the baton of Eric Garcia.

The composer notes:

"Human Archipelago uses the concerto format to stage a series of precarious encounters among the soloist, the orchestra, and the “travelers,” a group of performers who play only by ear. The first movement, “Scenes in Free Fall,” sets a single melody in a series of unstable environments; the next, “Xenia,” imagines a blessed visit from strangers; and the last, “To be one of many,” builds a fugue-like collective polyphony before giving way to a coda where the soloist and travelers unite. 

This piece was born of our evolving relationship to two urgent, entangled global phenomena: climate change and mass migration. It is my hope that the music might offer an opportunity to reflect on our ethical responsibilities to our fellow human beings in the present and future — indeed to rethink our very notion of “us.” 

I am grateful to Inbal Segev for initiating this project and believing in my work; to Teju Cole and Peter Sellars, who helped me feel my way through the ideas; and to all of the performers for embodying the music with virtuosity and grace."

Vijay Iyer and Eric Garcia discuss Human Archipelago

Human Archipelago is part of New Music USA's Amplifying Voices program, which is powered by the Sphinx Venture Fund, with additional support from ASCAP, the Sorel Organization, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and Wise Music and The Wise Family Charitable Foundation. The Amplifying Voices program is a nationwide effort to increase the support and promotion of under-represented composers.

To learn more about Vijay Iyer, visit:

Vijay Iyer 
Human Archipelago (2022)
concerto for cello and orchestra
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