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Around the worldFrom Afar

In 1990 composer Hilary Tann spent four months in Japan studying traditional music, particularly that for the bamboo flute, the shakuhachi. An orchestral work 'From Afar' based on that experience was premièred in 1996 by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and will now receive its UK première by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on 12 January in St David's Hall in Cardiff conducted by Charles Hazlewood.


Pires sabbatical

Andreas Haefliger replaces pianist Maria Joao Pires in engagements in January and February with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam (26 January at the Concertgebouw) and London, playing Mozart's K488 concerto, and Stafan Valdar will now play in Japan.

The orchestra's performances of Mahler's 8th Symphony (14 and 16 January) are sold-out, but there's still chance to hear Mahler's 4th Symphony, two pieces by Ligeti (Lontano and Atmosphères) and Tuning Up (in the Chou Wen-chung performing version) by Varèse on 21 January, 8.15pm in the Concertgebouw (conductor - Riccardo Chailly, soprano soloist Ruth Ziesak).


Instrument petting zoo

Performances on 20, 21 and 22 January by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Music Director Stephen Gurzenhauser) feature Samuel Rhodes playing a viola concerto ('Do not go gentle') by Wernick (winner of the duPont award to a living American composer). The third of these performances on 22 January is Educator's night, during which the orchestra honours the areas teachers with a reception after the concert.

The orchestra's family concerts on 29 and 30 January ('Beethoven Lives Upstairs - a Tale of Genius and Childhood', featuring Susan Hammond's Classical Kids) are preceded by an 'instrument petting zoo' (one hour before the performances). Details of further concerts in their 1999-2000 season are available on the orchestra's website.


Millennium songbook

The Millenium Songbook for soprano and chamber ensemble has been commissioned from five Scottish and Scottish-based composers for première on 2 and 3 February in Glasgow (Royal Concert Hall) and Edinburgh (Queens Hall) respectively. This is presented in the Hebrides Ensemble Concert Series, and the composers involved are David Horne, Lyell Cresswell, Sally Beamish, Craig Armstrong, and Helen Grime.


Holliger directs

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is directed by Heinz Holliger for a concert in St John's Smith Square, London on 11 February presenting three works: Haydn's Symphony 44 in E minor Trauer, the Sinfonia Concertante in B flat, and Mozart's Symphony 38 in D Prague. Soloists for the Sinfonia are from the orchestra: Lukas Hagen (violin), William Conway (cello), Douglas Boyd (oboe), and Matthew Wilkie (bassoon).


Toronto on tour

From 25 February for 14 days, Yukka-Pekka Saraste and Canada's Toronto Symphony Orchestra are on tour in Europe - the orchestra's first overseas tour since 1991, and will be playing in Stuttgart's Liederhalle, Berlin's Philharmonie, The Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt-Höchst, Cologne's Philharmonie and Budapest's Patria Hall, before beginning a three day residency at the Vienna Musikverein - the first such residency by any Canadian orchestra. Many of the concerts are already sold out. New Canadian music - Gary Kulesha's The True Colour of the Sky and Fire by Peter Lieberson - will be performed alongside music by Beethoven, Dvorák, Rachmaninov and Bartók.

You can hear the Toronto orchestra with Saraste (the orchestra's Music Director) on two new recordings from Finlandia Records - the Symphony No 2 by Dutilleux and the Sibelius Lemminkäinen Suite.


Where the world comes to play ...

Concert-goers in Glasgow, Scotland, have a chance to hear pianist Evgeny Kissin in recital on 15 March, 7.30pm, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Tickets: +44 (0)141 287 5511. Future recitals include Murray Perahia on 29 March and Emanuel Ax on 11 April. Orchestras appearing in Glasgow include the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (18 and 26 April) and the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra (18 May).




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