Entries in Britten Sinfonia (45)


Thomas Adès, Pekka Kuusisto and Britten Sinfonia Concentric Paths: The music of Adès, Couperin, Stravinsky and Ravel Saturday 11 February – Tuesday 28 February 2012  

Britten Sinfonia has developed an outstanding reputation for finely played and programmed concerts developed alongside a series of guest artists.  For its first major tour of 2012, the orchestra is joined by Thomas Adès as both conductor and piano soloist in a programme of shifting sounds, sweeping musical geometry and mercurial harmonies.

The programme features Adès’s 2005 Violin Concerto (with soloist Pekka Kuusisto) alongside works by composers who have been key influences on Adès:  Igor Stravinsky, and at its heart, the 18th century French baroque composer François Couperin.

A six-date tour travels internationally to Dijon, Dublin and to the Lincoln Centre for Britten Sinfonia’s New York debut, and in the UK to Cambridge, Norwich and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (11-28 February).

Had Thomas Adés not had an epiphany in his teens that led to his composing he may have chosen a career as a pianist, and it is at the keyboard that the concert begins with Adès playing Couperin’s aptly named Les baricades mistérieuses for solo piano.  Adès own arrangement of the work for chamber orchestra follows, exploring the structures and rhythms of the delicately intricate original, together with Adès’s orchestral arrangements of three further Couperin piano works, Three Studies from Couperin.

Couperin’s music has long held a fascination for composers and musicians, including his compatriot Ravel.  The orchestrated version of Ravel’s chamber orchestra homage to 18th century Baroque piano music, Le Tombeau de Couperin (written shortly after the First World War in memory of friends and colleagues who died during the conflict) also features in the programme.  Prominent rhythms and bold orchestral coloring mark Stravinsky’s Suites Nos 1 & 2 for Small Orchestra and the Air and Chinese March from his opera, The Nightingale (with soloist and regular Britten Sinfonia artistic collaborator, Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto).

The concert climaxes with Adès' own Violin Concerto, performed by Pekka Kuusisto. Subtitled Concentric Paths, each of the concerto's three movements has its own circular design containing spiralling high jinks, shifting harmonic sands and other-worldly soundscapes.

Britten Sinfonia last worked with Thomas Adès on an all-English programme of music by Tippett, Birtwistle and Britten at the Aldeburgh Festival in 2004. The orchestra’s association with the mercurial Kuusisto has included a thirteen date European tour of English and American music with Mark Padmore in 2010, and most recently, an acclaimed tour to South America.


UK Tour Dates:

Monday 20 February at 7.30pm, West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge

Saturday 25 February at 7.30pm, Theatre Royal, Norwich

Monday 27 February at 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, London


International Tour Dates:

Saturday 11 February at 8pm, Opéra de Dijon

Wednesday 22 February at 7.30pm, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Centre, New York

Tuesday 28 February at 8pm, National Concert Hall, Dublin


Full details at

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