Born in Valencia but now living in Lucerne, Francisco Coll has seen a rapid growth of international interest in his music over recent years, with major commissions from the likes of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. Coll’s reputation is also growing in Switzerland, where the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra have commissioned him to write a surprise present for its departing Chief Conductor James Gaffigan. Dedicated to Gaffigan, the 10-minute work entitled Hímnica will be premiered on 31 March 2021 at the KKL Luzern.
Technically speaking, Coll writes, 'Hímnica is a kind of passacaglia, or chaconne, in which a hymnic theme develops in different ways within one adagio tempo. This hymn enabled me to compose this piece during the strange events of 2019 and for me it represents life in all its beauty and ugliness'. It is scored for the same forces as Schumann’s Fourth Symphony (the first time Coll has written for such a line-up). Gaffigan is no stranger to Coll’s music, having previously conducted the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra in his Four Iberian Miniatures violin and chamber orchestra. He has also programmed the Miniatures with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
Numa Bischof Ullmann, Artistic and Executive Director of Lucerne Symphony Orchestra writes: 'James Gaffigan has been our chief conductor for more than a decade. We’ve achieved a lot of beautiful things together, putting the orchestra on the international map. For James’ farewell season, I planned a couple of special projects I knew are dear to his heart. He’s always mentioned Francisco Coll as one of his favorite rising composers. The fact that Francisco lives in Lucerne made it a perfect match'.
The premiere of Hímnica comes after Coll’s time as Composer-in-Residence with Camerata Bern, with whom he conducted the premiere of Les Plaisirs Illuminés, his Double Concerto for Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Sol Gabetta in 2019. A recording of the Double Concerto was released on Alpha Classics in January to positive reception.
Coll’s future projects include a Cello Concerto for Sol Gabetta as well as works for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Trio Isimsiz.