New music showcased by CBSO

Three premieres take centre stage at Symphony Hall.

The CBSO has a long track record in the commissioning and showcasing of new music across its orchestral and choral activity and, in the remaining 2015-16 Season that tradition continues with the UK premieres of three important works by composers Osvaldo Golijov, Hans Abrahamsen and John Luther Adams.

The CBSO will perform Osvaldo Golijov’s Azul on March 9th having previously performed the UK premiere of the same composer’s opera Ainadamar in 2008. The piece, which has already had more than 40 performances in the Americas since its creation, will feature CBSO cello section leader and fellow Argentinian Eduardo Vassallo as soloist. Conducted by assistant conductor Alpesh Chauhan, a former pupil of Eduardo, it is a work filled with colour, the composer’s pallet also including a ‘hyper-accordion’ and a kaleidoscopic array of percussion.

Ilan Volkov conducts Left, Alone, (28th April) a new concerto for the left hand by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen. Inspired by physical limitation, the piece was composed for the French pianist Alexandre Tharaud, who joins the CBSO for the UK premiere. Two years ago another of Abrahamsen’s compositions, let me tell you, received its UK premiere with the Orchestra and soprano Barbara Hannigan, for whom it was written, and went on to win the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Music Award for Large-Scale Composition as well as the prestigious Grawemey Award

Finally, on May 19th the CBSO will perform Become Ocean, an epic recent score by the American John Luther Adams, whose music the Orchestra plays for the first time. This ambitious, atmospheric work for three orchestral ensembles provides a vision of the Pacific Ocean that crashed and swelled and lapped and tore at the beach in front of the composer’s Alaskan home. It has already won Adams the Pulitzer Prize and received a best-selling recording by the conductor of this concert, Ludovic Morlot. It was also featured in the trailer to the major Hollywood block-busting movie The Revenant, and it so inspired the singer Taylor Swift that she made a $50,000 donation to the Seattle Symphony, who had commissioned the work.

Stephen Maddock, CBSO chief executive said: “One of the things that we do very well here in Birmingham is to ensure that new music has a home and a place from which to grow. Since the Orchestra was created by the city of Birmingham almost 100 years ago, we have performed on average three new pieces of music each year, many of which we commissioned ourselves – something for which we are very proud.

“This year, we are especially pleased to be presenting major works by three of today’s most important international composers. All three of these works will sound wonderful in the sonicsplendour of our home at Symphony Hall.”

Tickets: £12.50 – £45 plus transaction fee. Tickets are available from Symphony Hall or Town Hall Box Offices in person, by phone: 0121 345 0499, or online: