“I’ve collected curiosities my whole life” Danny Elfman

On 3 August the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain premiere Wunderkammer, a 20-minute orchestral work from Danny Elfman, at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, conducted by Andrew Gourlay. Wunderkammer will also be performed at the BBC Proms on 6 August and at Saffron Hall, Essex, on 5 August as part of a tour. 

Wunderkammer will be Elfman’s third orchestral premiere of 2022, following the successful launches of his concerti for both cello and percussion in Vienna, London, Paris and Los Angeles earlier this year.

Elfman’s 3-movement piece promises to be a bravura showpiece for the young musicians of the NYOGB, who commissioned the work. “When I first met the NYOGB and heard them play I was so impressed”, Elfman said, “I immediately knew that I had to write something for them…I could sense that they were quite game for something wild and difficult.”

Elfman’s title refers to a cabinet of curiosities, a room or piece of furniture originating in the sixteenth century filled with a miscellany of esoteric and fantastical objects, which could include artworks, trinkets, curious, biological specimens, archaeological finds, or religious relics.

“I’ve collected curiosities my whole life”, says Elfman. “When the NYOGB asked me for a title that described how I felt about the music I’d written I couldn’t think of anything. Then this word came to mind. A collection of curiosities… I can’t wait for them to open this cabinet of curiosities that I've created for them.”