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Posts tagged 'Jonathan Biss'

A Busy Weekend for Timo Andres

(Illustration by Dadu Shin for The New Yorker)
(Illustration by Dadu Shin for The New Yorker)

Timo Andres has had a busy run of recent performances across the country, including concerts in New York, Jacksonville, and Big Sur. On September 26th, Andres participated in a marathon performance of Erik Satie's Vexations—a four-line piece for solo piano that tells the performer to repeat it eight hundred and forty times. Among a roster that included Christian Wolff, Philip Corner, and David Del Tredici, Andres performed Vexations at 2.20am on September 27th, commenting to the New York Times that though he thinks about all music sculpturally, "vexations takes on a very dark presence". 

Two days later, Andres' piano concerto The Blind Banister was performed by the Jacksonville Symphony featuring Jonathan Biss, for whom it was written and dedicated. A finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize, The Blind Banister respnds to Beethoven's second piano concerto, and is part of Biss' Beethoven/5 project with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, which asks composers to respond to Beethoven's piano concerti. 

And to cap off the week, in idyllic Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, Andres performed his own piano music as a part of Philip Glass' "Days and Nights" Festival, in a program that also featured Claire Chase, Jennifer Curtis, Pauchi Sasaki, and the Philip Glass Ensemble. Andres has frequently performed with Glass, and has performed Glass' complete Piano Etudes around the world. 

Timo Andres's "The Blind Banister" at Caramoor

After becoming a Pulitzer Prize Finalist this year, Timo Andres's third piano concerto, The Blind Banister, will finally premiere in New York at Caramoor on Sunday, July 10th. Dedicated to and composed for pianist Jonathan Biss, The Blind Banister is Andres's response to Beethoven's second piano concerto, echoing Beethoven's own late revision to this early work. Biss will perform the piece along with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein.


(Illustration by Dadu Shin for The New Yorker) 

In a brief profile for The New Yorker, Russell Platt calls Andres "a modern modernist", and hails The Blind Banister as "a deeply complex tribute to Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2". He writes:

Like John Adams and the late Steven Stucky, Andres has succeeded in carrying forward the mainstream tradition of orchestral modernism [...] in a way that is no less distinctive for seeming so ironic and abashed: the piece is at once gently private and powerfully communal in its gestures and devices.


Check out a video of Andres performing his recent completion of Mozart's "Coronation" Concerto:

Two New Works by Timo Andres

It's hard to claim a real achievement in the month of November. For many, surviving the transition to colder weather, the pressures of the work week, and the onslaught of holiday advertising is enough. But PSNY composer Timo Andres is different: on top of his performing career, which saw him perform Christopher Cerrone's Sonata for Violin and Piano with Tim Fain at LPR earlier this month, he'll also see two new compositions premiered by the Takács Quartet and Jonathan Biss with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

Andres' new string quartet Strong Language premiered on November 15th at Shriver Hall. The Baltimore Sun praised Andres' piece for creating "fascinating little journeys" in a "clear, vivid, and commanding" performance by the Takács Quartet. On November 19th, the piece will be performed again at Carnegie Hall, which co-commissioned the work. With three movements lasting roughly 23 minutes, Strong Language is a concise exploration of three musical ideas, one per movement. Get a taste with an excerpt from Andres's earlier string quartet, Thrive on Routine:

As Andres describes, The Blind Banister, his new piano concerto for Jonathan Biss and the SPCO, is a kind of "fraternal twin" to Strong Language; the pieces were written back-to-back, and share a 3-movement structure. However, Andres' piano concerto sees him writing for much larger forces— including, for the first time, timpani. In the meantime (and if you can't make it to Saint Paul for the premiere), check out a sample of Andres's recent completion of the Mozart "Coronation" Concerto:

 

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