Susanna Mälkki returns to the Cleveland Orchestra podium this week, to lead the ensemble in two performances featuring two masterpieces by Sibelius, the musical hero of her native Finland. On February 6 & 8 at Severance Hall, Leila Josefowicz introduces a Violin Concerto by Oliver Knussen, a composer long near and dear to the Cleveland Orchestra.
Sibelius’ First Symphony opens with mystery, giving way to gorgeous, romantic, searching melodies. One of his more straightforwardly Romantic works, Knussen conceived of his Violin Concerto as a high-wire act: “At times the violinist resembles a tightrope walker, progressing along a (decidedly unstable) high wire strung across the span that separates the opening and closing sounds of the piece.” For more information and tickets to the concerts, click here.
In December, Mälkki led the LA Phil New Music Group in a special tribute concert that commemorated her beloved colleague Oliver Knussen. Ms. Josefowicz joined Susanna in the co-curated chamber music program that surrounded three of Knussen’s compositions, alongside works by his friends, colleagues, and students. Writing in the LA Times, Mark Swed described the duo’s performance of Knussen’s Violin Concerto: “Mälkki loves a good blockbuster, and the exhilaration she and Josefowicz brought to Knussen’s Violin Concerto carried over after intermission to her knockout Beethoven, as if Knussen’s shadow ecstatically spurring her on.” (LA Times)