Longing from Afar is a piece by Dai Fujikura that was commissioned and premiered online on 30 May 2020 by Music Director Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony. The piece was inspired by and recorded using the video conferencing software, Zoom.
Dai Fujikura, composer/sound engineer Thierry Fischer, conductor Utah Symphony, orchestra Andrea Peterson, video editor
“As a result of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was considering how all musicians make sound together even when we are all physically far apart…[performing] at home due to lockdown. Inspired by this, I designed this work to be performed with a conductor, which is unlike many other open score works. The conductor has a direct influence on the sound of the music working ensemble with other musicians.” Dai Fujikura
Thierry Fischer, together with the Utah Symphony, have premiered a new commission by composer Augusta Read Thomas.
The new piece was commissioned in April this year, and it came about through contact made by Clovis Lark, principal librarian of the Utah Symphony and Thierry Fischer with the composer. Augusta Read Thomas was to create a new, four-minute fanfare that could be performed by the Utah Symphony, with the stipulation that each musician would be performing alone from their homes.
The resulting piece, Fanfare of Hope and Solidarity, was composed in late April and early May, and it was a mere two weeks from that phone call until the time that Augusta delivered a full orchestral score and set up orchestral parts.
Watch and listen to the virtual world premiere here:
“The world has momentarily stopped. Our desire for creativity is multiplied,” said Maestro Fischer, whose active support of contemporary composers has been one of the calling cards of his decade-long tenure as music director. “New music is a call to look, listen, and guess what is rarely said. New music reveals the gods and demons hiding in the depths of our souls, and then transforms them into a transfiguring beauty’.”
“How fortunate to have been able to collaborate on the world premiere of a new piece of hope with the dear talented, imaginative, poetic and understanding composer Augusta Read Thomas,” said Maestro Fischer. “She has immediately responded to our offer with the same urgency for new ideas and innovation which are driving the Utah Symphony during this unprecedented times.”
Beginning on 5 March, Thierry begins as Music Director of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, conducting Beethoven Missa Solemnis in Ré Maior, Op.123 at the Sala São Paulo.
Thierry said the following about the engagement:
“Beethoven was constantly striving towards new horizons, and I so I cannot imagine a more fitting start to my new relationship in Sao Paulo, than to join forces with the OSESP choir and orchestra for his revelatory Missa Solemnis”.
This follows “an electrifying Beethoven 7 from a faultless Brussels Philharmonic and an utterly committed Thierry Fischer” two weeks ago at Brussels Flagey; “ brisk tempi, springy rhythms, a sense of suspense, irrepressible energy, properly surprising transitions…very taut, invigorating, electrifying…and yet with finelly chiselled articulation” – Resmusica, February 2020.
The first concert on 5 March, will be broadcast live on the São Paulo Symphony’s Facebook, Youtube and also on Arte 1.
Thierry was recently interviewed by OSESP Artistic Director Arthur Nestrovski regarding his youth as Principal flute player for the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the influence of conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Read the full interview here.
The programme, titled “Unrequited Love”, begins with Tcherepnin Prelude to the Distant Princess, followed by Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op.43, where Thierry and orchestra will be joined by pianist Andrei Korobeinikov.
The concert will close with Thierry conducting through Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, Op.14.
Continuing their critically acclaimed Saint-Saëns cycle, Thierry conducts the Utah Symphony through a new recording of Saint-Saëns Symphony No 1 & Carnival of the Animals, released on Hyperion this month. Recorded at Abravanel Hall, the album features Symphony No 1 in E flat major Op 2, Le carnaval des animaux and finally the Symphony in A major. Click here to purchase the album from Hyperion Records or click here to purchase from Amazon.
Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the cycle was released earlier this year and was warmly received by the press, with Limelight Magazine praising Thierry and the Utah Symphony for their blend of “American muscle and Gallic lyricism”.
Click here to purchase Volume 1, and here to purchase Volume 2.
In June 2019, Thierry was announced as the new Musical Director of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra from 2020. The orchestra now announces its 2020 season of performances.
In celebration of Beethoven’s 250 years, the orchestra presents a season comprised of symphonies, piano concertos, piano sonatas, choral works and cello pieces by the legendary composer. Thierry will conduct symphonies 1 through 8, with the 9th presented later in December as part of the orchestra’s farewell to conductor Marin Alsop.
In addition to works by Beethoven, the season features a bold selection of repertoire. Thierry will conduct twentieth century works featuring Schoenberg, Webern, Berg and Boulez as well as a Latin America Premiere of a new work for Cello by Tristan Murail.
Thierry launches the O. C. Tanner Company Masterworks Series with the Utah Symphony on 12 September at the Browning Center for the Performing Arts in Utah. With repertoire ranging from John Williams Star Wars to Holst The Planets, Thierry explains his inspiration: “Since coming to Utah more than 10 years ago, I have often been awestruck by the beauties and majesties of its natural landscapes.”
Subsequent concerts in the series follow at Abravanel Hall, Salt Lake City on 13, 14, 27 & 28 September.
Thierry makes his debut conducting the Cleveland Orchestra on 19 July at Severence Hall, interrupting his vacation to replace Heras-Casado at short notice in a programme culminating in Debussy’s La Mer. They perform again together at the orchestra’s Blossom Music Festival in Cuyahoga Falls on 21 July. Thierry is a highly respected interpreter of French repertoire from the dawn of the 20th century; his Saint-Saëns symphony cycle on Hyperion with the Utah Symphony continues to attract glowing reviews:
” easily the finest performance the work has yet received on disc. Not only does the Utah Symphony play with the same conviction and finesse it brought to its superb recent recording of the Organ Symphony and the little known incidental for the forgotten play La foi, but there’s also a sparkle and subtlety in its playing that will inspire slack-jawed admiration” Fanfare, July 2019
“An excellent reappraisal of symphonic Saint-Saëns … I hope there’ll be more” BBC Record Review, June 2019