Composer Ilan Volkov presents the orchestral/experimental Tectonics Festival
The festival's opening concert features works by Frank Denyer, David Fennessy and Charles Ross
For many, the idea of ‘orchestral music’ will bring to mind only the great classical symphonists like Mozart and Beethoven, or those who came along a little later, maybe Dvorak, Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich. Taking a completely different look at orchestral music and how this long-established music-making machine can come right up to date in the 21st century is conductor Ilan Volkov and his Tectonics Festival, in partnership with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Israel-born Volkov, who made his début with the BBC SSO at the age of just 22, was the youngest ever chief conductor of a BBC symphony orchestra when appointed to that position with the same orchestra five years later. Still closely associated with the BBC SSO, Volkov places them at the centre of his first Tectonics festival in the UK.
Tectonics Glasgow is modelled on a similar festival curated by Volkov in Iceland, where he is music director and chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Aiming to break down musical barriers by bringing all sorts of experimental, rock and orchestral music together (see our interview with Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite for more on that), the opening BBC SSO concert presents a string of new pieces with intriguing names which are way far removed from ‘Symphony No 1, 2 or 3’.
‘The Colours of Jellyfish’ is English composer Frank Denyer’s title for the joint commission with the Iceland Symphony, performed alongside ‘Silver Are the Tears of the Moon’ by Pass the Spoon composer David Fennessy, and a UK premiere of ‘The Ventriloquist’ by Charles Ross. ‘How can an orchestra, the 19th century beast, be more radical and experimental? Is it possible?’ asks Volkov. ‘Tectonics Glasgow brings together musicians from different worlds and backgrounds for an audience that’s open and ready for new experiences and surprises. It will surely be an adventure for us all.’
City Halls, Glasgow, Sat 11 May.