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Mark Adamo's New Cello Concerto "Last Year"


"The virtuosic and endlessly curious cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and I had been looking for an opportunity to work together for years; but between my work in the opera house and his as the principal cellist for quartets like the Kronos, the time, alas, never seemed right," Mark Adamo told The Violin Channel. "And then it was: four orchestras came on board for the commission, and dates — in New York, San Francisco, Houston, ad Manitoba — were set.

Part of the inspiration for "Last Year" came when Adamo had been listening to a recording of Vivaldi's Four seasons, while simultaneously hearing the news of a terrible flood in Houston. He thought that if Vivaldi were alive today and knew what we know now, it would seem almost impossible to compose those scores. Adamo wondered, however, "If Vivaldi was asked to; what might he make?"

Adamo's compositional approach is always: "imagine the piece first, and the music will follow."

"It began with the aforementioned idea; continued with a lot of free-associative sketching in a journal — along the lines of 'What should this piece do? What are its highest and lowest emotional points, and how do they sound?.' This was then developed into a long, multicolored sketch, in which every minute of the piece’s duration, every shift of register and technique, every thematic idea, and every instrumental color were mapped out like an electrocardiogram; and only then did it evolve into the actual pitches and rhythms that the musicians would play and the audience would hear.

"By filtering what so many of us are feeling about the world through the twin screens of the Vivaldi and the Dies Irae, I’m hoping this piece could make it more possible for us to experience, and thus work with, the emotions that we, certainly I, can find powerful to the point of immobilizing.

For inspiration, Adamo had the Emily Dickinson poem taped to his computer monitor:

"Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb Surprise"




upcoming events

july 2024

16julAll Day27Johann Sebastian Bach International Cello & Baroque Cello Competition(All Day) Thomaskirche Leipzig, Thomaskirchhof, Thomaskirchhof 18, 04109 Leipzig, GermanyEvent Type :competitions Event TagsBaroque Cello Competition,Cello Competition,Johann Sebastian Bach International Cello Competition

august 2024

19augAll Day24Tibor Varga International Junior Violin Competition(All Day) Ferme-Asile, Promenade des Pêcheurs 10 1950 Sion SuisseEvent Type :competitions Event Tagscompetition,Tibor Varga

22augAll Day01sepKloster Schöntal International Violin Competition(All Day) Schöntal Monastery, Klosterhof 6, 74214 Schöntal, GermanyEvent Type :competitions Event TagsKloster Schöntal International Violin Competition

26augAll Day30London Classic Violin Competition(All Day) Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2BS, United KingdomEvent Type :competitions Event TagsClassic Violin Olympus International Competition,violin competition

30augAll Day01sepBanff International String Quartet Festival(All Day) The Banff Centre, 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive Box 1020 Banff T1L 1H5 Canada Event Type :Other Event TagsBanff International String Quartet Festival,string quartet


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