In the New Year, Susanna Mälkki returns to California to conduct a series of performances with world class-soloists and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Kaija Saariaho’s Trans for harp and orchestra makes its US premiere with harpist Xavier de Maistre. Saariaho’s piece, composed in 2015, aims to “keep all instrumental colors of the orchestra available for this piece, but find musical situations to allow the harp to have its soloist space.”

With performances on January 18 & 19 at Walt Disney Concert Hall and on January 20 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony will conclude the program. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Cynthia Millar on the electronic ondes martenot highlight this massive work that the Kennedy Center describes as:

“Messiaen’s exegesis speaks of “joy, time, movement, rhythm, life and death.” In any event, the word is Sanskrit — and the juxtaposition of East and West is one of many Turangalîla antitheses. Messiaen’s symphony, which is also a non-symphony, is dissonant and tonal, brutal and lyrical, formal and sensual. Its sonic tapestries evoke India, Indonesia, and Walt Disney. Its birdcalls cite “the great musicians of the planet.”