Monday night’s event at SUBCULTURE featured the eminent Esa-Pekka Salonen, whose compositions were performed by musicians of the New York Philarmonic as part of their new-music series CONTACT!. In co-production with the 92nd Street Y, Salonen, worldwide renowned as a conductor, vividly emceed his own chamber works to an intrigued audience that evening.
all photo credits for this article: Chris Lee
The relatively new venue, (read article) which is quickly establishing its own identity within a small colective of ‘to go to’ downtown music hubs, offfered a great backdrop for Salonen’s nonchalant yet highly charged, energetic and innovative personality that is reflected in his work.
Just that week, Salonen conducted the new York premiere of his Violin concerto with soloist Leila Josepfowitz performing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall.
At his 92nd Street Y debut at SUBCULTURE now, the smaller ensemble groups performed a selection of his not-that-short pieces and made them shine and sound as if they were meant to be played in an environment as this one.
The athmosphere was totally friendly and welcoming; the lighting and sound adapted adequately to the changing formations of musicians on stage. Despite the close quaters, Salonen, who seemed genuinely in his element, as he tenaciously kept sweeping his strands of hair away from his
forehead, managed to have a drink at the bar almost unbothered by admirers.
Except for the fact that the room was a bit too warm for people sitting with their coats on their laps, it was a captivating production, which surely won over some new fans for Salonen’s work as well as some future collaboration opportunities for SUBCULTURE.
The next CONTACT! event planned at this venue is taking place on January 13, 2014. Pianist Yefim Bronfman, new York Philharmonic’s Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in -Residence, will perform with musicians from the Philharmonic.