March 10, 2010

RPO Debuts New Violin Concerto by Allen Shawn

New York City-born composer Allen Shawn (pictured at left, photo: Tony Cenicola, New York Times) grew up hearing his brother Wallace play the violin, and first learned to love the instrument by reading through the classical repertoire with him and writing pieces for them to play together. “Although I am a pianist myself, I can’t help thinking of the violin and its repertoire as something close to the very soul of music,” Shawn remarked.

The RPO performs the world premiere of Shawn’s Violin Concerto tomorrow night and Saturday (click here for details). He describes his concerto as “a singing, lyrical piece,” with moments that are suave and dance-like. This new work was commissioned by the RPO for Concertmaster Juliana Athayde, thanks to support from Ron and Donna Fielding. Use this link to read a Democrat and Chronicle interview with Shawn and Athayde.

By the way, Allen Shawn and his brother have collaborated together on other projects since childhood. In 1981, Wallace Shawn co-wrote the film My Dinner with Andre (in which he also starred), and Allen Shawn wrote the score. In 2006, their innovative opera The Music Teacher debuted in New York. Click here to read a feature story about the brothers in the New York Times.

And in case you wonder why you recognize Wallace Shawn – he also played the Sicilian kidnapper Vizzini in Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride. “Inconceivable!”

No comments: