On 28 March Sean Shibe joins Delyana Lazarova and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for the UK premiere of Francisco Coll’s Turia, in its new version for guitar and chamber orchestra, at Glasgow’s City Halls.

Turia (2017, arr. 2021) is a guitar concertino in five movements, lasting 18 minutes. The work takes its name from Valencia’s river – a special river that contains no water but whose dried-out bed is now home to gardens, fountains, cafés and even an opera house by architect Santiago Calatrava.

‘As a child,’ Coll explains, ‘I used to walk in this unusual river, full of light, flowers and people. I always thought that one day I would write the music of this river…[Turia] was my opportunity to write a piece for guitar and ensemble with Spanish luminosity. This soundscape evokes the light and the respective shadows of my country.’ Flamenco, an ever-present touchstone in Coll’s music, infuses the spirit of Turia, although it is always filtered through Coll’s distinctive sonorous imagination.

Turia was originally written for guitar and chamber ensemble and premiered by Jacob Kellermann and the Norrbotten NEO Ensemble, conducted by Christian Karlsen in December 2017; their recording of the work was released in 2020. The version for guitar and chamber orchestra was also commissioned by Karlsen and Kellermann, who gave its first performance in October 2021 with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra at the International Guitar Festival in Uppsala.

Shibe gave the UK premiere of the first version of Turia with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in May 2021 at the East Neuk Festival, with Thomas Adès conducting. In August 2023 he also give the UK premiere of Coll’s trio …de voz aceitunada for guitar, flute, and viola, with Adam Walker and Timothy Ridout at Snape Maltings.

On 5 April Coll will take to the podium for two performances of Lilith (2019-2020) with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, with whom he is undertaking a multi-season artistic collaboration. The 10 ½-minute work expresses Coll’s fascination with the mythological figure for which it is named, who is also a preoccupation of his artistic hero Anselm Kiefer.  Musicologist and composer Jesús Castañer has called Lilith “one of the most provocative, enigmatic and symbolism-laden compositions that Coll has written to date". The concerts in Asturias follow Coll’s conducting debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on 22 March in London, giving the UK premieres of Aqua Cinerea and Hímnica.