Graham Fitkin meets NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra - Seasonal Concert 6
A musical journey along the annual rings of a birch tree. That is one way to describe Graham Fitkin’s new piece, premiering at NorrlandsOperan August 28.
Birch 1871 is a new orchestral work commissioned by NorrlandsOperan for the European Capital of Culture year. It will premiere at the opera house by NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rumon Gamba. The second half of the concert will feature Graham Fitkin's nine-piece band, in a remix of the orchestral work and involve members of the symphony orchestra.
Graham Fitkin is a UK composer. His music is often described as minimalistic or post-minimalistic. He writes music for orchestras, dance companies and ensembles around the world. Always with a distinctive artistic point of view and a theme. This time he wanted the work to be relevant for Umeå.
Graham Fitkin in his own words:
– I wanted an overarching theme, based around something abstract, which was still specific to the region. So I chose the birch tree – central to the Sami culture, omnipresent in the region and specific to Umea's history too. But I didn't want to merely 'represent' a birch tree – this would not have been interesting for me.
– After many conversations with Lars Östlund, forest historian at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, I decided that the piece could have at its root the growth history of a single birch tree from the area. Lars (who was very, very helpful) sent me scientific data and graphs from one single 141 year old natural tree and I worked out a structure for the entire piece based around this.
– This tree is still living and yet it has been alive through wars, inventions, changes of national borders, impressionism, modernism, futurism, neo-classicism, surrealism and so on. So although the music has a central singe theme of colliding pulses, I find the piece is imbued with a sense of journey and time travel. At least it is for me!
Please note that the date has been changed. The new date is August 28.
Music by Graham Fitkin (first performance)
Conductor: Rumon Gamba
NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra
Graham Fitkin Band
Read more about Graham Fitkin and his band here.
This concert is one of the eight seasonal concerts featured in The capital of culture year, Umea2014. At the start of each sami season NorrlandsOperan presents a new, highly artistic concert project, each with an exciting theme. The eight concerts not only have separate themes but they are also performed at different venues with a variety of artistic input and expressions.
In the photo: Graham Fitkin Band (Photo: Steve Tanner)