pots and pans and a metal ‘gizmo’

New concertos by Danny Elfman for cello and percussion respectively will receive their first performances this month in Vienna and London. Elfman’s Cello Concerto premiered at the Wiener Konzerthaus on March 18, with a further performance on March 20. Gautier Capuçon was the soloist, joined by conductor David Robertson and the Wiener Symphoniker. It is cast in four movements – like Elfman’s 2017 Violin Concerto and forthcoming Percussion Concerto – and lasts 36 minutes. The piece will receive subsequent performances in Paris in May and its North American premiere in San Francisco on November 11. The Cello Concerto is a joint commission from Wiener Symphoniker, Wiener Konzerthaus, Orchestre Philharmonie de Radio France and San Francisco Symphony.

Renowned percussionist Colin Currie will take the stage along with an impressive battery of instruments – some specially commissioned by him for the piece – in Elfman’s new Percussion Concerto on March 25 at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Ludwig Wicki will conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who jointly commissioned the piece with Soka Performing Arts Center at Soka University. The latter stages the US premiere next month.

The Concerto is cast in four movements - Triangle; D.S.C.H; Down; Syncopated – and promises real spectacle across its 25-minute runtime. In addition to the soloist’s extensive collection of instruments – the score lists 12, including an assortment of pots and pans and a metal ‘gizmo’ – five orchestral percussionists will add to the excitement. This is not Elfman’s first piece putting percussion centre stage: his Percussion Quartet received its first performance in autumn 2019 from Third Coast Percussion at Philip Glass’ Days and Nights Festival in Big Sur, California.