By Greg Cahill | From the November-December 2023 issue of Strings Magazine
Founded in 1992 by cellist Miriam Perkoff and violist Wieslaw Pogorzelski, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is one of the oldest conductorless string orchestras in America. In recent years, guest music directors have served in residency as soloists and to supervise the selection of the season’s programs. Violinist Daniel Hope filled those shoes in 2022, marking the New Century’s 20th anniversary with a strong program that deftly spotlights the ensemble’s core commitment to contemporary music.
Clearly, Hope—who also had collaborated with New Century during the 2017–18 season—feels right at home with the ensemble, which offers an engaging range of styles on this disc. Philip Glass’ Piano Concerto No. 3, performed here by Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov, had been given its US West Coast premiere by the ensemble in 2018. The other three works are world-premiere recordings: Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Lament for solo violin and strings; Tan Dun’s Double Concertofor violin, piano, percussion, and strings, which also features Botvinov; and an overture by Jake Heggie, written to mark the ensemble’s anniversary year (Heggie had contributed previously to Hope’s powerful Holocaust Violins project). I can’t speak highly enough of Hope’s solo abilities and of New Century as a model of professionalism and unwavering advocacy of contemporary music. For those in search of inspiration—or just looking to stimulate the mind—Music for a New Century beckons.