Dvořák: Carnival Overture
Magnus Lindberg (b. 1958): Piano Concerto No. 2 (World Premiere, New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra)
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
Among the leading figures in the flourishing classical musical culture that Finland has nurtured for itself in recent decades is Magnus Lindberg, now internationally recognized as one of the preeminent composers of his generation.
During Lindberg’s 3-year tenure as composer in residence of the New York Philharmonic (2009-2011), audiences have had the opportunity to hear a substantial portion of his most notable creations, including, this past October, Kraft (1983-85), which started life as a piano concerto but evolved into something else. It was the result of a commission for a piano concerto by the Helsinki Festival, but instead became be a huge ensemble work that, of course, featured the piano. After a hiatus, Lindberg turned his attention to his first “real” concerto, called at the time simply “Piano Concerto,” completed in 1990-94. Though the piece has a comparatively lighter feel, the score fairly bristles with notes, and any soloist would have his or her hands full. It was premiered by Paul Crossley and the Finnish Radio Orchestra, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting. Now comes the Piano Concerto No. 2, commissioned by the Philharmonic, and featuring Yefim Bronfman as the premiering soloist.
Magnus Lindberg was born in Helsinki in 1958, began to study piano and music theory as a youngster, and entered the Sibelius Academy in 1977 as a composition student of Einojuhani Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen, two of Finland's finest composers and pedagogues. Lindberg's teachers encouraged him to expand his professional training beyond his Finnish homeland, so, while fulfilling the curriculum at the Sibelius Academy during the next four years, he also worked at the Stockholm Electronic Music Studio, attended Franco Donatoni's composition courses in Siena, and studied with Helmut Lachenmann and Brian Ferneyhough in Darmstadt and with Vinko Globokar and Gérard Grisey in Paris. During his undergraduate years, Lindberg founded, with Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jouni Kaipainen and other of Finland's most gifted young musicians, the "Open Ears Society" to study and perform contemporary music. Lindberg established his reputation soon after graduating from the Sibelius Academy in 1981, and he has since devoted himself largely to composition through the support of many prestigious commissions and government subsidies, though he has also appeared as conductor, pianist and percussionist with contemporary music groups, consulted on new music with the Helsinki Biennale, Meltdown Festival in London and Helsinki Festival, and taught summer courses in Finland, France, Germany, Sweden and Spain.
Lindberg achieved particular notoriety for Kraft, his breakthrough work of 1985, scored for large orchestra with solo parts for amplified cello, clarinet, piano, percussion, and electronics; the percussion battery is fortified by objects collected, as per the composer’s instruction, from a local junkyard. He has since frequently been commissioned by the world’s leading orchestras, such as the London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and New York Philharmonic, for whom he currently serves as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence.
Lindberg's works, most for conventional orchestral and chamber ensembles (occasionally augmented by tape or electronics), embrace a wide variety of references – from the canonical music of Bach, Purcell and Sibelius to such iconoclastic modernists as Varèse, Stockhausen, Boulez, Xenakis and Babbitt, as well as minimalism, free jazz, progressive rock and ethnic music of East Asia – within a distinctive personal idiom. "Characteristic of Lindberg's music," wrote Ilkka Orama, a faculty member of the Sibelius Academy, "is a sense of continuity and direction, an ultimate goal, that controls a work's development from beginning to end according to a carefully designed plan."
New York Philharmonic
Alan Gilbert, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
New York Philharmonic Website
Detailed schedule information: