"I had in mind what the French philosopher Gilles Lipovetsky calls the World-City...A very explosive and intense way of living." Francisco Coll

On 9 June Gustavo Gimeno gave the world premiere of Francisco Coll’s latest orchestral work Elysian with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Roy Thompson Hall. Elysian was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Gustavo Gimeno (music director), and the Orquesta de València. The 12-minute piece follows hot on the heels of another world premiere from Coll in May – his orchestral work Lilith in Valencia, conducted by the composer.

Coll writes of Elysian,

I have long been fascinated by the phenomenon of the hypermodern city, and from the very beginning of my work on this orchestral piece – back in the early days of 2020 – I conceived of it as a portrait of such a place. I had in mind what the French philosopher Gilles Lipovetsky calls the World-City; a metropolis that could be Toronto or Valencia, with all its dynamism, the angular layout of its streets and the spectacle of its citizens. A very explosive and intense way of living.

From a purely structural perspective, what has emerged is a kind of Rondeau, which alternates two faces of the same subject. The title Elysian stems from the idea of the city as a world-in-itself, a refuge for its citizens.

Gustavo Gimeno has been a keen advocate for Coll’s music, conducting and recording a range of his pieces including Aqua Cinerea, the Violin Concerto, Hidd’n Blue, and Mural with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Münchner Philharmoniker. His orchestral portrait disc, released by Pentatone in 2021, won a BBC Music Magazine prize in May this year, and an ICMA award.

Next season Gimeno will conduct the North American and Canadian premieres of Aqua Cinerea with the LA Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In August he leads the Concertgebouw Youth Orchestra in performances of Hímnica in Amsterdam and the Elbphilharmonie.