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New York Philharmonic Performs the World Premiere of Lera Auerbach’s “NYx: Fractured Dreams”

The violinist Leonidas Kavakos, who celebrated his 50th birthday on 30 October 2016, is a world-famous interpreter of Lera Auerbach’s violin works. The Russian-American composer has written her Concerto No. 4 for violin and orchestra for him, a work that bears the title “NYx: Fractured Dreams”. Kavakos will perform the world premiere of this work, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, on 1 March 2017 in New York (Lincoln Center). He will be accompanied by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert.

Leonidas Kavakos has commented on his collaboration with Lera Auerbach as follows:
“Lera is a very special personality. What she says is extremely profound and very essential,” (…) “It’s a great opportunity to play something for the very first time, but I don’t like to commission for the sake of commissioning. You don’t know what kind of birth it will be: it could be beautiful, but it’s a risk. Some composers one just trusts: Lera is one of them.”

In her work title, Lera Auerbach refers to Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night. According to her, this Violin Concerto is an experiment with dream fragments, as when dreams and nightmares in our sleep weave a carpet of hidden truths, revealing our most profound fears and hopes.

Lera Auerbach comments on her Concerto No. 4 as follows:
“’NYx: Fractured Dreams’, my Violin Concerto No. 4, was born at the request of the Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos. When the New York Philharmonic commissioned this work, they asked if it could be related to the night. This request delighted me. I am most creative during the dark hours when the world becomes quiet. When not touring, my days and nights are reversed; reality blurs and the silences pulsate, urging imagination forward.
A piece’s form, architecture and development are priorities in my work. Many of my compositions are in dialogue or are reactions to one another. In contrast to my Violin Concerto No. 3, conceived as 45-minute one-movement work, Violin Concerto No. 4 is an experiment in fragmentation, structured as 13 interconnected fractured dreams where silences play an important dramatic and constructive role.
In 1991, I arrived as a teenager in NYC after a childhood living in Chelyabinsk, a closed city at the epicenter of Soviet nuclear research and the gateway to Siberia. Growing up in this land of black snow, I often dreamed of ancient Greece, and the book of Greek myths was one of my favorites. The world of jealous gods and god-like humans in those pages seemed more real than the world outside of my windows: full of red flags and the Soviet trinity portraits of Lenin-Marx-Engels, with the occasional bushy eyebrows of Brezhnev looking down at me from the buildings’ walls. In some ways the two worlds blurred; the one outside made more sense through the perspective of Greek myths, where it was quite common for power-hungry gods to devour their children. My sudden transition to New York—although unfathomable (my family stayed back in Russia)—seemed strangely natural to me, just an insane and intense dream of an imaginative child, a dream that suddenly became reality.
Nyx, Greek goddess of the night and daughter of Chaos, is spelled NYx in the concerto’s title. While fractured and contrasting, these dreams are tied together—similar to how images and memories weave a tapestry of hidden truths in our sleep. New York is the city of dreamers, reflecting each person in his or her most vulnerable desires and unguarded self, a black mirror in which everything is possible yet just a fraction out of reach. It is a dream that can never be fully realized. Hopes are fears in disguise. Night wears many guises; in its fractured reflections one may glimpse shimmers of the morrow.”

Further performances of “NYx: Fractured Dreams” with the same interpreters will be given on 2 March (7:30 PM) and 3 March 2017 (8 PM) at the Lincoln Center.

1 March 2017
New York
Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall, 7:30 PM
World premiere: Lera Auerbach
“NYx: Fractured Dreams”. Concerto No. 4 for violin and orchestra
Leonidas Kavakos (violin)
New York Philharmonic
Alan Gilbert (direction)

Recently Lera Auerbach and Leonidas Kavakos met in Switzerland (photo below).


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