Premiere of the Month: Basic instinct

Missy Mazzoli pc Caroline Tompkins

A violin concerto exploring society’s response to drastic events

When confronted with disasters, humans have often resorted to rituals to cope. This simple and alarmingly pertinent notion forms the basis of American composer Missy Mazzoli’s new violin concerto. The idea came to her while on the Swedish island of Fårö, once a hiding place for those escaping the plague. ‘Humans have always been trying to control things we have no control over,’ she says. The work evolved out of a decade-long collaboration with violinist Jennifer Koh, with whom she proposed the concerto to the work’s commissioners, the National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra. ‘Jenny can play anything, so I felt free to stretch myself.’…

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