Berkeley Symphony will be guest conducted by Elim Chan tomorrow night, in a pair of works including the US premiere of Scottish composer James MacMillan’s Symphony No. 4. It was a co-commission with Pittsburg Symphony and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. They’ll also play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with soloist Shai Wosner.
There’s more information about the concert at the Berkeley Symphony website.
James MacMillan gave the symphony as a 60th birthday present to Donald Runnicles, the Conductor Emeritus of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who led its world premiere at the BBC Proms two years ago. “He has these images, he has church music that he’s quoting,” Elim Chan says. “This joyful celebration – it’s a birthday gift for Donald. And all this virtuosic writing, in the brass, in the strings, so it’s just like a picture. Little bits of and pieces of puzzle that came together to form this huge symphony.” Although the Hong Kong-born Chan hadn’t conducted any of MacMillan’s orchestral music before this, she was familiar with his work. “I’ve always adored his music. His music is really visceral in the very… it’s very powerful, and it’s really getting you to feel something. It’s physical… I’ve sung some of his choral works, and they really make you go somewhere very intense.” She’s most recently been a ‘Dudamel Fellow’ at Los Angeles Philharmonic, assisting (and having to be ready to fill in for) the charismatic conductor, including during their recent California tour.