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Debra Boraston
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Press release date: March 2010


IAMA Showcase: Jörgen van Rijen trombone

Amphithéâtre, Cité de la Musique 23 April 4.15-5.15pm

Martijn Padding Piece for trombone solo
James Fulkerson Force Fields and Spaces for trombone and delay system
Jacob ter Veldhuis I Was Like, Wow!

One of the finest young trombonists of his generation, Jörgen van Rijen has personally commissioned a new concerto from abundantly creative Finnish composer Kalevi Aho, using the remainder of his 2006 Borletti-Buitoni Trust (BBT) award to part-fund the enterprise. We are seeking orchestras and conductors to perform the new concerto.

As well as his position as first trombonist in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, van Rijen has also advanced a successful career as a soloist. He passionately advocates and demonstrates the validity of the trombone as a solo instrument through projects, programmes, recordings and performances designed to show the versatility of his instrument to an increasingly appreciative public. An important element of this mission is to commission new work as well as embrace the traditional repertoire.

Van Rijen has already used part of his 2006 Borletti-Buitoni Trust towards the recording of two CDs with Channel Classics for which he has been warmly praised: Sackbutt with Combattimento Consort which embraces the baroque repertoire, and I Was Like, Wow!, a personal, eclectic programme including the dramatic title work written for him by Jacob ter Veldhuis.

Van Rijen and Aho met recently to explore techniques and the dynamics of the trombone and decided together on the first and last notes of the concerto (‘C’). Aho has begun composing and the work will be ready for performance from 20011/12. It is being written for a normal size orchestra: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 horns, 2 trumpets, 1 baritone horn, 1 tuba, 3 percussionists, harp and strings. In some sections the 2nd flute may change to piccolo, the 2nd oboe to English horn, the 2nd clarinet to bass clarinet or the 2nd bassoon to contrabassoon.

The 2010 IAMA Conference showcase features van Rijen performing contemporary works and also explores the digital enhancements available to music today, as discussed in a session earlier in the day. A highly talented trombone soloist with a world premiere waiting to happen!

Jörgen van Rijen trombone
Besides his work as the principal trombonist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Jörgen van Rijen has become a frequently requested soloist with a special commitment to promoting his instrument by developing new repertoire and also bringing the existing repertoire to a broader audience. He has performed as a soloist in most European countries as well as the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Singapore and Australia and with various orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2004 Jörgen was awarded the Netherlands Music Prize, the highest distinction in the field of music from the Dutch Ministry of Culture. In 2006 he received the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and has won several other prizes, including first prizes at the international trombone competitions of Toulon and Guebwiller.

Many new pieces have been written for Jörgen, including a trombone concerto by Theo Verbey, commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Claudio Abbado asked him to perform the trombone solo of Mahler’s 3rd symphony with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. He teaches at the Rotterdam Conservatory and is an active chamber musician. He was one of the founders of the New Trombone Collective and the RCO Brass and is artistic leader of both of these ensembles.

CD Reviews

Sackbutt (Channel Classics 2008)
“The agility of his playing…is impressive…Fans of the trombone will no doubt find this of interest, but the music turns out to be far more worthwhile and rewarding than just a sackbutt showcase”
David Vickers, Gramophone October 2008

I was like, WOW! (Channel Classics 2009)
“fascinating portrait of a master trombonist… his virtuoso technique need fear no comparison with the best in his field.”
Guy Richards, Gramophone Magazine October 2009

“It’s difficult not to warm to a disc called I Was Like Wow! … In a glorious antidote to the trend of forcing instruments to do things they aren’t meant to do, here van Rijen has simply produced a disc with some cracking music on it in a sexy and appealing way…Van Rijen’s sound is rich, rounded and far removed from the laddish image his instrument is sometimes given…[he is] demonstrating that the trombone is capable of extreme expressiveness. Across a variety of standard pieces and specially commissioned works, he proves that the trombone can really make you go, like, wow.”
Hazel Davis, MUSO, June/July 2009

Kalevi Aho composer
Kalevi Aho, one of Finland’s foremost contemporary composers, was born in Forssa in southern Finland on 9th March 1949. He commenced violin studies in his home town at the age of ten, and his first compositions also date from this time. Aho studied violin and composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki; his composition teacher was  Einojuhani Rautavaara. After graduating as a composer (1971) Aho continued his studies in Berlin (1971-72) as a pupil of Boris Blacher at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst. He lectured in musicology at Helsinki University (1974-88) and was a professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy (1988-93). Since the autumn of 1993 he has worked in Helsinki as a freelance composer, and in 1994 he was awarded a fifteen-year grant from the Finnish state.

The central focus of Aho’s work consists of large-scale orchestral, chamber and vocal works: his output includes four operas (Avain [The Key; 1977-78], Hyönteiselämää [Insect Life; 1985-87], Salaisuuksien kirja [The Book of Secrets; 1998] and Ennen kuin me kaikki olemme hukkuneet [Before we are all Drowned; 1995/1999]), thirteen symphonies (1969-2003), three chamber symphonies for string orchestra, twelve concertos (for violin, cello, flute, tuba, bassoon, contrabassoon, double bass, clarinet, viola, two for piano and a double concerto for two cellos and orchestra), other orchestral and vocal music and a large amount of music for chamber ensembles and solo instruments. He has also made a number of arrangements and orchestrations of works by other composers. The most important of these is the completion of Uuno Klami’s unfinished ballet Pyörteitä (Whirls): Aho has orchestrated the ballet’s first act and composed the missing third act, with the concert title of Symphonic Dances. Since 1992 Aho has been composer-in-residence of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

Aho has also gained a reputation as an assiduous writer on music and columnist. His literary output currently runs to more than 500 essays, presentations, columns and other writings. He has occupied a number of important positions in Finnish cultural life and received many international and Finnish prizes.

Kalevi Aho was previously commissioned by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust to compose a new clarinet concerto for 2003 BBT award-winner Martin Fröst which was premiered by co-commissioner, BBC Symphony Orchestra, in 2005 and subsequently recorded on BIS (with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra).

Further information about this commission/performance opportunity:
Susan Rivers Chief Executive Borletti-Buitoni Trust
Tel. + 44 (0) 20 8993 0100 Mob. +44 (0)7711 421 369