Concert Review: National Symphony premieres Higdon piano concerto

Posted on: December 4, 2009

In Friday’s (12/4) Washington Post , Anne Midgette reviews the National Symphony Orchestra’s Thursday night concert. “The main event of this week’s program was the world premiere of the first piano concerto by Jennifer Higdon, whose work is fairly familiar to NSO regulars; this was, the conductor Andrew Litton said in some onstage remarks, the fifth work of hers the orchestra has performed. However familiar her work, it’s commendable for the orchestra to commission (or be able to commission, thanks to the Hechinger Commissioning Fund) a full-length, half-hour piano concerto rather than the five- or 10-minute curtain-raiser that too often represents the ‘contemporary’ component of many orchestras’ programming. Higdon upheld her end of the bargain by producing a big, meaty, somewhat discursive concerto that offered a lot to listen to, and a lot you wanted to hear.” The soloist was Yuja Wang, 22, who just garnered a Grammy nomination for her Deutsche Grammophon debut. “Higdon, who has a knack for tailoring pieces to her soloists, took advantage of this talent by having the piano play almost without cease for the entire concerto.” Also on the program were Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1.

Posted December 4, 2009