The new Flute Concerto by Marta Ptaszyńska—well-known Polish composer who is Professor Emerita of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago and honoree of the PMC’s 2005 Paderewski Lecture-Recital, as well as a significant donor to our unique Manuscript Collection—was world premiered on Sunday, October 29. The premiere performance was given by flutist Sean Gabriel and Cleveland Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Steven Smith. The afternoon program opened with the three-movement Set for Theatre Orchestra by Charles Ives and was followed by Constellation No. 6 by Christopher Auerbach-Brown, and Ptaszyńska’s Flute Concerto was heard after the intermission.Although commissioned in 2018 by Polish flutist Łukasz Długosz, due to the pandemic this Concerto wasn’t performed in Poland. Thus, the honor of world premiering this work came to Sean Gabriel, principal flutist of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony since 1995.

Cast in a traditional three-movement form, Ptaszyńska’s music reverberates with delicate and highly refined sounds rooted in her acute feeling of color and deep connections to mysticism and dramaturgy. This is especially evident in the first two movements—Moderato and Larghetto, molto cantabile—where stillness and lyrically long flute lines are sustained by rich harmonies of the orchestra. The last movement, Moderato sostenuto—Vivo veloce, ends on a lively and affirming note.

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