Thursday 14 May 2020, 7.30pmRoyal Festival Hall, London

Philharmonia Box Office : 020 7921 3907

Joana Carneiro conductor

Esther Yoo violin

Steven Stucky Radical Light

Barber Violin Concerto


Copland Appalachian Spring Suite

Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story


Enjoy an evening of emotion-packed music by three great American composers of the 20th century.

Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, towering figures in American classical music, were lifelong friends and champions of each other’s work. Copland’s Appalachian Spring started life as a ballet telling the story of a young Pioneer couple. Around the cheerful melody of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts, Copland builds a web of beguiling music, beginning and ending in an atmosphere of deep peace. In Bernstein’s West Side Story, in contrast, powerful Latin dance rhythms depict the simmering, violent energy of two rival gangs. There’s idealistic young love here too though, in the dreamy, hummable tunes of ‘Maria’ and ‘Somewhere’.

Barber’s Violin Concerto, arguably his most popular work after the Adagio for Strings, has one of the most lyrical, serene openings in classical music. The pastoral mood of the Concerto is broken by its fiendish finale, a perpetual motion showpiece for the soloist. Esther Yoo, a regular collaborator with the Philharmonia, has both the “scrupulous technique and sweeping passion” (Bachtrack) to do justice to this wonderful piece.

Steven Stucky’s atmospheric tone poem Radical Light opens the evening. Stucky was inspired by the music of Sibelius to write a piece that moves through a range of moods ‘without ever turning any sharp corners.’