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News - Wolfe: Concerto for a Unique Beast

Jack Vartoogian
Saturday, April 1, 2006
“I love Julia’s music.” George Steel, director of Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, comments simply and directly in anticipation of his conducting the Gotham Sinfonietta’s 22 April world premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Accordion Concerto, which features soloist Guy Klucevsek.

“I have been crazy about Julia’s music since I first heard it,” Steel enthuses. “She is certainly a Miller Theatre favorite, in that we’ve presented her in a Composer Portrait and performed a cycle of her complete string quartets.” Wolfe’s Accordion Concerto was commissioned as part of a three-year project to create and introduce new pocket concerti, and the work premieres during this first year of the series. Steel continues, “I wanted to include Julia in this project from its conception... I asked her what kind of concerto she would like to write, and she chose the accordion — and it’s an ideal match of composer and instrument, I think. She also chose the wonderful Guy Klucevsek. He is, of course, an amazing player, and he is the ideal partner in creating the world premiere of this wonderful work.”

Wolfe chose to write for the accordion because, as she describes, “It is a unique beast. It has ‘lived’ in such great contexts. Guy’s been terrific at guiding me through the terrain and it’s a kind of ecstatic ballad with flying glissandos and pulsating chords. It’s a wild, crazy, emotional, beautiful piece.” Steel adds, “I’ve had a sneak peek at the music — it is amazing. I can’t wait for the rehearsals to begin!”

At the end of April, Wolfe travels to Berlin to serve a week-long residency with the Berlin Komische Oper, which will present the German premiere of her orchestral work Window of Vulnerability.

Accordion Concerto 20'
Solo Accordion; 111(bcl)1/1+Ctpt.11/perc/

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