Esa-Pekka Salonen is best known in the music world as a Finnish conductor. Since the last decade of the 20th century, he has also been extremely productive as a composer, with a list of more than 40 compositions for symphony orchestra, solo instruments, as well as works in the chamber or vocal genre. He has won such prestigious awards for his music as the UNESCO Rostrum Award, the Grawemeyer Award and the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. E-P. Salonen’s creative voice is strong, radical, permeated with avant-garde colours. His works exhibit the influence of I. Stravinsky, O. Messiaen and L. Berio.
The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and dedicated to pianist Yefim Bronfman, the composer’s friend and, according to E-P. Salonen, “one of the greatest musicians of our time”. The work’s world premiere conducted by the composer took place at Lincoln Center in New York on February 1, 2007. Being a great conductor, E-P. Salonen is an expert of the orchestra’s nuances and subtleties, so the basis of the Concerto is thickly textured grandiose symphonic canvas. The piano part is technically challenging, captivating, expressive and full of virtuoso passages. The Concerto resembles a musical kaleidoscope showcasing intense tempos, poly-rhythmics, mystical timbre effects and hints of music of different epochs and styles.
In the three-movement E-P. Salonen’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra shares the stage with Andrius Žlabys, one of the most renowned contemporary Lithuanian pianists. The podium is graced by Giedrė Šlekytė, a young conductor conquering the world’s big stages.
ORCHESTRA: LITHUANIAN NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
CONDUCTOR: GIEDRĖ ŠLEKYTĖ
PIANO: ANDRIUS ŽLABYS