Sir Harrison Birtwistle's new piano concerto, titled Responses: Sweet disorder and the carefully careless, comes to life on October 24 with its world premiere at the hand of Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra in Munich under the baton of Stefan Asbury. As the English composer explains about the concerto, which was written expressly for Aimard, the subtitle is taken from an essay collection by Princeton architect Robert Maxwell, and is, he says, “the essence of what I’m doing. It’s a resonant phrase.”
The performance takes place as part of a quartet of international premieres with the four orchestras by which the concerto was co-commissioned. Next week brings the Portuguese premiere with Peter Eötvös leading the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música in Porto (Nov 1), followed by the UK premiere on December 6 with the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski during “Birtwistle at 80” celebrations at London’s Royal Festival Hall. In the New Year, Aimard and Jurowski reunite at the Boston Symphony to present the American premiere of Responses at Boston’s Symphony Hall (Feb 12–14).
Aimard and Birtwistle look back on a long artistic relationship, including performances of the composer's works that Aimard has championed as performer, programmer, and commissioner.