Rolf Wallin in Cleveland

Renowned Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin sees his Clarinet Concerto performed by the Cleveland Orchestra and receives a commission from the same institution.

Listen to a 30 second clip of Rolf Wallin’s Strøk
Listen to more tracks from the excellent Aurora compilation Sinus Seduction

Rolf Wallin

It’s not an everyday occurrence when a renowned US symphony orchestra picks out music by a Norwegian composer. This week sees Wallin in Ohio to supervise The Cleveland Orchestra for rehearsals for his Clarinet Concerto. Parallel to the Cleveland performance of his Concerto, Wallin will also finalise an agreement regarding a commission of a new work that is to be composed for the Cleveland Orchestra.

Says Wallin on his upcoming commission: What’s interesting about both the performance of my Concerto and the commission is that the initiative came from the orchestra itself. I believe the Clarinet Concerto was added to the Cleveland Orchestra’s programme after the ensemble’s artistic director, Peter Czornyj, had visited Oslo and leafed through my scores at MIC. This is the first time this Concerto is performed outside Scandinavia, and it’s fantastic that it will be played by such a magnificent orchestra.

His Clarinet Concerto awarded him the Nordic Music Prize in 1998, and has been performed several times by Nordic symphony orchestras. The Concerto was originally commissioned by the Oslo Philharmonic, and has also seen performances by the Gothenburg, Stockholm and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras.

The Cleveland Orchestra was founded in 1918, and it has in contrast to many other American orchestras established a musical profile that to a large extent focuses on 20th and 21st century music.

Wallin’s commissioned work for the Cleveland Orchestra will be premiered spring 2004.

“They have specifically requested a so-called opener – an energetic discharge that is to start a concert”. The commissioned work will be performed by a full, standard orchestra.

“I’m looking forward to compose for this setting – it’s been a long time since I’ve composed for a symphony orchestra” says Wallin.

The Cleveland Orchestra has come up with one minor request: the orchestra would appreciate to use its organ. However, the composer is somewhat reluctant “Apparently, there’s a magnificent organ over there, but this could actually lead to the work not being performed after its premiere. And then again, not everyone is interested in composing for an organ – so I turned the request down”.

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