Piano Concerto

Piano Concerto


for piano and orchestra (30’)

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Completed in December, 2017.

Dedicated to Doris Stevenson and Ronald Feldman.

The first performance of the Piano Concerto took place on March 2, 2018 at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It was given by pianist Doris Stevenson and the Berkshire Symphony, conducted by Ronald Feldman. 

Commissioned in part by Kenneth Munro, and adapted from Longlac Tableaux

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Program note

Concertos are often framed as struggles between an individual (the soloist) and their society (the orchestra). But in this Piano Concerto, I wanted to explore less fraught emotions and relationships; here, the instruments variously work together, cajole each other, teach each other, and even make gentle fun of each other. The first movement, a slow "Invocation," summons sound from the lowest registers of the piano and orchestra, gradually assembling a melody from these turbulent fragments. The second, a Scherzo, takes a far more positive turn: bright, quick music in the piano and orchestra are occasionally interrupted by the insect buzzing and biting sounds that the title, "Tarantella," suggests. The middle movement, "Cosmogony," is slow, as brass and a cello solo lay out a rich bed of sound that contrasts with bright, soft music in the strings, flutes, and percussion. This movement includes the piano's only real cadenza, as its emotional turbulence gives way to star-like brightness. The fourth movement is a funeral march that begins and ends steadily but lashes out in a violent outburst in its central section. Then, the piece ends with a "Burlesque" Rondo, moving through energetic and sometimes bawdy music to a crashing conclusion.