LA Phil & Gustavo Dudamel Give Daníel Bjarnason’s Blow Bright the Dazzling Premiere Treatment

The world’s hippest orchestra at the moment, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and their entertaining music director Gustavo Dudamel will give Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason’s piece “Blow Bright” the star treatment, premiering next week at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA. “Blow Bright” takes its title from the final lines of Philip Larkin’s poem “Night-Music.” Bjarnason had set the whole poem as a song for voice and small ensemble, but that version has little in common with his new orchestral piece, other than some similarity of atmosphere in the haunted string section of “Blow Bright.”

For Bjarnason, one of the budding composers out of the Icelandic classical scene, the marquee premiere of his work by the LA Phil is not only one of the biggest highlights of his career thus far but a major stepping point for contemporary classical composers overall, especially those stemming from Iceland. The LA Phil’s stamp of approval is a significant a nod of credibility for Bjarnason and could perhaps open the door for fellow contemporary peers in having their works commissioned by prominent orchestras in the US (outside of Nico Muhly of course, who is labelmates with Bjarnason on Bedroom Community).

The LA Phil’s commission of “Blow Bright” is also an aggressive stance by the orchestra in pushing new works and their backing of Bjarnason only adds to their “cool” factor that resonates so well with audiences outside of classical music. Outside the LA Phil in the United States, perhaps only the Philadelphia Orchestra is as willing and capable of handling such contemporary works.

Performance dates for Daníel Bjarnason’s “Blow Bright” below:

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Walt Disney Concert Hall

Friday, December 20, 2013
Walt Disney Concert Hall

Saturday, December 21, 2013
Walt Disney Concert Hall

Sunday, December 22, 2013
Walt Disney Concert Hall

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