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Posts tagged 'Utah Symphony'

Andrew Norman Premieres "Split" at the New York Philharmonic

As Will Robin writes in his recent in-depth profile on Andrew Norman in The New York Times, a premiere of a new work by Norman is "a major event in the music world." Describing his somewhat hermetic, labor-intensive compositional practice, Norman reveals his dedication to the orchestral institution: "I love the orchestra, and I believe in it, and I think there’s a future there, and I think we should all be trying as hard as we possibly can to figure out where that medium can go." 

On the heels of his successful premiere of Switch at the Utah Symphony, and in anticipation of a new commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Norman will see his new work for the New York Philharmonic, entitled Split, premiere on December 10th, performed by pianist Jeffrey Kahane. Picking up on ludic cues from Switch, Split also involves a game-like architecture of percussive activation of large swaths of instruments—a feature that Norman culls from our saturated world of media, games, and screens. 

Clearly, Norman's vibrant, interactive musical style has resonated strongly with the contemporary orchestral landscape. In 2015, he has been one of the top ten most performed living composers in America, with nineteen performances of his orchestral works alone. And, only a few years after his Companion Guide to Rome was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Norman's Play, recently recorded by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Of course, Play has already shown up on year-end top-ten lists from NPR, Rhapsody, and others; Alex Ross and other critics have hailed it as "a modern classic"

Andrew Norman Premieres "Switch" at Utah Symphony

On November 6th, percussionist Colin Currie and the Utah Symphony premiered Andrew Norman's new work for solo percussion and orchestra, Switch. Norman's works for orchestra have been called some of the "best orchestral works that the 21st century has seen thus far", and we couldn't agree more. His landmark 2008 piece, Unstuck, has already become a staple of orchestral repertoire around the country; 2011's Try, for chamber orchestra, was commissioned and premiered by the LA Philharmonic to critical acclaim; and 2013's Play premeired to critical acclaim in both traditional and social media. 

So what has Norman composed this time? Switch, like its sibling works for large groups of musicians, explores the ludic possibilities of play between soloist and ensemble. Quite literally, the music acts like a "switch" between percussion instruments positioned in front of, and behind, the orchestra; these instruments act as "switch[es] that control other instruments in specific ways, making them play louder or softer, higher or lower, freezing them in place and settng them in motion again."

The Salt Lake Tribune, which called the premiere "electrifying" and "hyperkinetic", conducted a video interview with Norman and Toby Tolokan, the Utah Symphony's Vice President of Artistic Planning. Check it out below: 

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