September 10, 2019
Shai Wosner Premieres Christopher Cerrone Piano Concerto with ECCO in Memphis, Philadelphia, and New York, October 2019
Left to right: pianist Shai Wosner; composer Christopher Cerrone
Left to right: pianist Shai Wosner; composer Christopher Cerrone
Marco Borggreve; Jacob Blickenstaff

World premiere // Wednesday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m. // University of Memphis; Philadelphia premiere // Friday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. // Perelman Theater; New York premiere // Sunday, October 27, at 3:00 p.m. // 92nd Street Y

Program also features Mr. Wosner in
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (September 10, 2019) — Recognized for his insightful interpretations of a broad repertoire—from classics to the music of today—pianist Shai Wosner appears with ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra) next month in an eclectic pairing of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major and the world premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s The Air Suspended, written for Mr. Wosner. This new concerto for piano and strings, which was “inspired by changes of weather, and the enormous reserves of energy required to accomplish such a transformation,” is performed by Mr. Wosner and ECCO in Memphis, Philadelphia, and New York, in the latter case presented by co-commissioner the 92nd Street Y. He subsequently performs the work with the Ithaca-based Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in November and with co-commissioners the Albany and Phoenix Symphonies in March—in total championing the new concerto in six U.S. cities this season.

The world premiere takes place on Wednesday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Memphis, followed by the Philadelphia premiere on Friday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, and the New York premiere on Sunday, October 27, at 3:00 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y. Ticketing information is available via CIMemphis.org, PCMSconcerts.org, and 92Y.org, respectively.

In the program notes for The Air Suspended, Mr. Cerrone describes the role of the soloist, saying:

“The solo pianist is the energy source: he—in this case, the spectacular Shai Wosner—plays highly kinetic music continuously throughout the 16-minute work. The string orchestra captures his musical material, which it transforms, accretes, and dissipates, like weather patterns.”

The title is drawn from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, and the work’s three movements—“From Ground to Cloud,” “Dissolving Margins,” and “Stutter, like rain”—are inspired by weather-related passages in writings by Ben Lerner (I & III) and Elena Ferrante (II).

This new concerto is one of numerous works premiered by Mr. Wosner over the course of his career, including compositions by Anthony Cheung, Michael Hersch, Vijay Iyer, Missy Mazzoli, Jeremy McGill, and Andrew Norman. Reflecting on the new commission and the prospect of performing it alongside a classic by Mozart, Mr. Wosner said:

“I am incredibly excited to team up with the brilliant musicians of ECCO, one of my favorite ensembles, for the premiere of The Air Suspended. Chris has such a special way with strings, his ability to draw amazing sounds and textures out of these instruments is truly rare and that is what sparked the idea to have him write a piece for piano and strings. It also happens to be a combination that I particularly love, where you have an immediate connection to each of the musicians in the group. So for me it is twice the fun to play an exciting new work alongside one of the greatest of Mozart's Piano Concertos in this version, especially with a group as creative and versatile as ECCO!”

The Air Suspended is the second piano concerto written for Mr. Wosner and was preceded by Michael Hersch’s along the ravines, which the pianist commissioned after winning the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. Mr. Wosner premiered the work with the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz in 2012, with subsequent performances taking place in 2014 with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie led by Tito Muñoz. This past summer, Mr. Wosner also performed in the world premiere of Jeremy McGill’s four-hand piano concerto Concerto d’avorio with longtime duo partner Orion Weiss and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta.

Additional highlights of Mr. Wosner’s 2019–20 season include a solo album of Schubert sonatas to be released by Onyx Classics in January 2020, which continues his career-long, critically acclaimed engagement with the composer’s music; solo recitals around the world exploring the genre of the piano sonata through works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Schubert, and Frederic Rzewski; and a variety of chamber collaborations, including concerts in New York with the Dover Quartet and musicians of the New York Philharmonic.

 

Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight. His performances of a diverse repertoire reflect a degree of virtuosity and intellectual curiosity that has made him a favorite among audiences and critics. A frequent recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, he is known for imaginative programming that links music of widely divergent styles and eras. He is a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. He has performed with such orchestras as the Los Angeles and Vienna Philharmonics, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and the Baltimore, BBC, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto Symphonies. He records for Onyx Classics. For more information, visit shaiwosner.com.

# # #

Wednesday, October 23 // 7:30 p.m. // Harris Concert Hall, University of Memphis
Presented by Concerts International Memphis — Memphis, TN
Friday, October 25 // 7:30 p.m. // Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center
Presented by Philadelphia Chamber Music Society — Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, October 27 // 3:00 p.m. // Kaufmann Concert Hall, 92nd Street Y
Presented by the 92nd Street Y — New York, NY

ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra)
Shai Wosner, piano

BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso” (arr. Mahler)
C. SCHUMANN Selected Works (arranged for strings)
GEMINIANI Variations on La Follia (arr. Michi Wiancko)
CHRISTOPHER CERRONE The Air Suspended for piano and strings*
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major, K. 449

*World, Philadelphia, and New York premieres

For ticketing information, visit CIMemphis.org (October 23), PCMSconcerts.org (October 25), or 92Y.org (October 27).

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