February 6, 2024
By Micha Oostenbrink
A thrilling performance of New Music is coming up on March 14, and ESO Resident Conductor Cosette Justo Valdés will take to the podium to lead the orchestra and skilled soloists. This concert, curated by Véronique Lacroix, founding director of the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, features a program of vibrant and captivating music, all by contemporary Canadian composers.
“New Music is the literal expression of our times, who we are, what we are dealing with – our dreams and fears – all through the language of music, the most pure and direct form of art. I think the more we play the music that is written today, the more we will grow as human beings and connect with each other,” says Justo Valdés. “In a purely artistic sense, we discover so much about orchestration and extended techniques. We experience new sounds as composers continuously make discoveries about our instruments and share it with us.”
Justo Valdés is most excited about performing Ringelspiel by Montreal-based composer Ana Sokolović, which is one of three pieces that will have their ESO premiere that evening. “To most of us, a merry-go-round (the meaning of Ringelspiel) brings back memories of childhood and conjures up emotional responses of nostalgia and naivety. This connects me deeply with my own childhood,” she says.
In addition to Sokolović’s warmhearted work about a merry-go-round, listeners will be treated to Nicolas Gilbert’s dazzling concerto for marimba and vibraphone titled Moment de joie en coupe transversale. Matthew Ricketts' Piano Concerto No. 2 is fiercely dramatic and will be performed by pianist Roger Admiral, making his ESO debut. The program is rounded out with two unique works for solo instruments – harp and tam-tam – by Kati Agócs and Vincent Ho.
Solos in this exciting performance will showcase the talent of some familiar faces, including some of the ESO’s own musicians. “I am so happy to have Nora Bumanis (ESO Principal Harp) play a wonderful solo work for harp by Kati Agócs titled Every Lover Is a Warrior,” says Justo Valdés. “Jacob Kryger will perform with the ESO again playing the marimba and vibraphone, and I cannot wait to join him on stage.”
Castles & Warriors: Transcendent Sounds takes place on March 14 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are selling fast – get yours before it’s too late! Click here to purchase your tickets.