Violinist Leila Josefowicz will solo with the San Francisco Symphony this week, as Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the concerto he wrote for her in 2009. It’s a work that won the Grawemeyer Award in music composition in 2012, and although tailor-made for Josefowicz, has become a work taken on by several other major soloists and conductors.
There’s more information about the concert program at the San Francisco Symphony website.
“It’s just such a pleasure to live with this piece year after year after year,” Josefowicz says. “And to hear and feel new things going on inside of it.” Much has changed since she first performed it with the Los Angeles Symphony, as Salonen was about to leave as Music Director after 17 years. “I see it definitely as a different time, in life, personally as well as musically. I mean, I was really kind of a youngster in many ways. I had had many experiences with newer music, but compared to now, I have so much more… I appreciate the different things that are being said in this piece, of course, in a different way now. The third movement is such… It’s just such a rebellion in so many ways.” She says it’s confronting many of the norms that had come before. “All of this tradition and expectation and arrogance of what can be overtaking classical music, he’s saying, ‘No. We’re going to break that down. We’re going to just slash it. We’re going to get rid of it, and we’re going to move instead.’ And then to have really something very very deep and delicate following that, it’s a real swift change emotionally.” That fourth movement is called ‘Adieu.’ “It’s so powerful after what you think is the end-all celebration of the third movement. Then it’s like, ah… something isn’t quite as we thought. I can’t quite get this final satisfaction that I thought I had.”