St. Louis Symphony to present U.S. premiere of Tan Dun’s “The Wolf”

Posted on: November 24, 2015

“For Thanksgiving weekend, music director David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra have put together a program built largely around fairy tales and folk stories,” writes Sarah Bryan Miller in Sunday’s (11/22) St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri). A featured work will be “the U.S. premiere of Chinese composer Tan Dun’s Contrabass Concerto, ‘The Wolf.’ … based on an historic novel by Chinese author Jiang Rong, ‘Wolf Totem.’ … The story shows the twin loss of Mongol culture and the Mongolian wolf as both disappear. Tan Dun’s concerto ‘is about how we greet otherness,’ Robertson says…. ‘Wolf Totem’ has an element of environmental cautionary tale, Robertson adds.… ‘The Wolf’ is a co-commission by five widely separated orchestras: the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam [world premiere, Jan. 2015], the SLSO, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Taiwan Philharmonic. The principal bass player in each orchestra is to be the soloist in the piece…. In St. Louis, principal bass Erik Harris will solo.” Says Harris, “I feel Tan Dun has composed a concerto for the erhu (Chinese violin) or Mongolian horse-head fiddle, a cousin of the erhu. I feel like I’m channeling those ancient Chinese instruments through the bass.”

Posted November 24, 2015