BBC Symphony Orchestra, 'Composer Focus', February 8 & 22; May 24
72nd Aldeburgh Festival, Artist In Residence, June 7-23
"The text and the sounds are not juxtaposed, the tones also do not only illustrate the words (which they sometimes do very vividly), but text and sound carry, inform and interpret one another. With the intention that the grandiose, disturbing and shrewdly beautiful lines of Bachmann keep their secret, the questions they raise in the mind are passed onto the soul." Leipziger Volkszeitung on Alle Tage
The three concerts presented by the BBC Symphony Orchestra that comprise Thomas Larcher's 'Composer Focus' start on February 8 with the UK première of Larcher's Alle Tage, continue on February 22 with Nocturne-Insomnia and conclude on May 24 with the UK première of Chiasma. The following month, Larcher is one of three Artists in Residence at the Aldeburgh Festival where his first opera The Hunting Gun will receive two performances during the opening weekend. Additionally, Larcher's Aldeburgh residency features the world première of an Aldeburgh Festival commission for pianist Paul Lewis; the orchestral work Red and Green; Ouroboros for cello and orchestra; Larcher's four string quartets; and A Padmore Cycle, composed for fellow Aldeburgh Artist in Residence, Mark Padmore.
The BBC orchestras have frequently programmed Larcher's music. His Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and performed by Viktoria Mullova, Matthew Barley and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov at the 2011 BBC Proms; A Padmore Cycle, originally composed for tenor and prepared piano, and later re-composed as an orchestral score with voice, was premièred by Mark Padmore and the BBC SO under Edward Gardner at the Barbican in November 2014; and Larcher's Symphony No. 2 received its UK première from the BBC SO at the 2016 BBC Proms under Semyon Bychkov who also conducted the world première with the Vienna Philharmonic.
Alle Tage, a co-commission with ZaterdagMatinee/Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, was first performed by Matthias Goerne at the Concertgebouw under Jaap van Zweden in April 2015, and has subsequently been performed by the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Vienna Symphony. The structure of the 43-minute song cycle is influenced in part by Ingeborg Bachmann’s poems. The first three come from the same cycle Anrufung des Grossen Bären, while the epilogue uses Alle Tage from an earlier and much more politically outspoken cycle, Die gestundete Zeit. Alle Tage will be conducted by Karina Canellakis with baritone, Thomas Oliemans.
Nocturne-Insomnia received its UK première at the 2017 BBC Proms performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Robin Ticciati: "Nocturne-Insomnia is the first piece in a projected series of independent ensemble pieces. Various manifestations of tonality have appeared like a thread throughout my last pieces. Musically, I have been strongly moulded by the classical and romantic traditions. This became clearer as I began to delve more deeply into composition. Thus I deal with my background not in order to find my way back to it, but in order to use it as a point of departure for my own music." Nocturne-Insomnia will be conducted by Sakari Oramo.
The 10-minute Chiasma was commissioned by the Leipzig Gewandhaus to celebrate Andris Nelson's inaugural season and, following its Leipzig première, was performed on tour in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, Baden-Baden, Köln, Paris and Madrid. Following Alle Tage, it is the second work that the Gewandhaus has commissioned from Larcher.
Larcher was born in Innsbruck and grew up in the Austrian Tyrol. After studying piano and composition in Vienna, he embarked on a career that combined composition, performance, teaching and festival direction, turning progressively to composition as the number of commissions from musicians and institutions grew.
Larcher is Artistic Director of Musik im Riesen and in addition to his close relationship with the BBC he frequently collaborates with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Wigmore Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus. Recent commissions include those from the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, San Francisco Symphony and Vienna Konzerthaus. His Symphony No. 2 Kenotaph was awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale of the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco in October 2018 and in April will receive its US première with the New York Philharmonic under Semyon Bychkov. Thomas Larcher is currently writing Symphony No. 3.