On 27 April Ilan Volkov conducts the Scandinavian premiere of Cassandra Miller’s Swim with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra at the nyMusikk festival in Oslo. Around 16 minutes in length, Swim is scored for the same forces as Schumann’s Symphony No.3 (“Rhenish”), from which it took initial inspiration - its material is derived from the penultimate movement’s plaintive brass chorale.

The piece imagines Schumann going for a swim, evoking the repetitive motion of his arms, and letting his psyche dissolve in the deep water – not of the river Rhine, but rather a cool Canadian lake described by poet Anne Carson. “The piece is, all told, as much about Carson as Schumann”, Miller notes; each section of Swim explores images from Carson’s essay, “Water Margins: An Essay on Swimming by My Brother” (collected in Plainwater: essays and poetry, 1995).

It premiered on 16 September at the Glasshouse International Centre for Music with Dinis Sousa and the Royal Northern Sinfonia; the North American premiere of the work took place on 5 November with the Victoria Symphony, conducted by Kalena Bovell.

Miller writes of the piece,

At first, I took each two-chord gesture of the Schumann excerpt and repeated it, in right-left slowness (and blurred it, as if underwater). Each section of Swim then explores images from Carson’s essay, “Water Margins: An Essay on Swimming by My Brother” (as found in the publication Plainwater: essays and poetry, 1995). In Schumann’s original, his chords are imbued with heroic, romantic ideologies, sounding grandiose. In Swim, they take on my own ordinary and resolutely non-heroic feelings about swimming, via Carson’s imagery: dull and vivid colours, quotidian repetition, and cold revery.

With Charles Curtis and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Volkov conducted the world premiere of her Duet for cello and orchestra in 2015 – since hailed by the Guardian as one of the finest classical works of the 21st century; at the 2022 edition of Tectonics in Glasgow he premiered Miller’s collaboration with Silvia Tarozzi Bismillah meets the Creator in Springtime. In March 2023 Volkov and Lawrence Power premiered Miller’s acclaimed viola concerto  I cannot love without trembling with the Brussels Philharmonic, which receives its German premiere on 1 June at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele from Power and the festival orchestra, conducted by Ryan McAdams. It also appears at the BBC Proms on 31 July with John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic.