Review: National Youth Orchestra of the USA gives Tan Dun premiere

Posted on: July 14, 2015

“Charles Dutoit, a major maestro with a special affinity for French repertory, has conducted Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ with many of the world’s great orchestras,” writes Anthony Tommasini in Sunday’s 6/12) New York Times. “But it’s hard to imagine he has ever worked with more eager, attentive players as he had on Saturday night at Carnegie Hall when he concluded a concert by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America with a colorful, probing account of that demanding staple. The orchestra, a training program founded and run by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, began in 2013. This summer, it selected 110 gifted instrumentalists between the ages of 16 and 19 from … 37 states.… [The concert] opened with a new piece by Tan Dun, then offered the pianist Yundi as soloist in Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto.… The orchestra is taking this program to China for a two-week, seven-city tour. So it made sense to open with a commissioned work by the Chinese-born Mr. Tan. His 11-minute Passacaglia, ‘Secret of Wind and Birds’ … teems with imagination and enticing sounds.… At crucial moments during the piece, the players of the orchestra (and preselected audience members) activated their phones to create a ‘poetic forest of digital birds.’ ”

Posted July 14, 2015