Rolf Wallin: Concerto for Sheng world premiere

Rolf Wallin: Concerto for Sheng world premiere
Wu Wei
© Klaus Hinrich Stahmer

Rolf Wallin unlocks the secrets of an ancient Chinese instrument in his latest orchestral piece, a Concerto for Sheng, premiered by the virtuoso Wu Wei and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra this month. Wallin’s music is known for its wide-ranging influences – experimental jazz, rock and fractal mathematics among them – nor is he a stranger to writing for unconventional solo instruments, with concerti for timpani and bass guitar among his previous works. Wu Wei shares a similarly diverse range of musical interests, collaborating with musical ensembles of all styles, as well as commissioning new works from the world’s leading composers.

Lasting around 25 minutes, Wallin’s concerto comprises a short introduction followed by five movements: Water, Earth Wood, Metal and Fire. The composer worked closely with Wu Wei in the writing of the solo part, even borrowing an instrument so that he could get a hands-on appreciation of the instrument’s sonorities and potential.

The Concerto for Sheng and Orchestra has been commissioned by Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonie Zuidnederland, with funding from the Arts Council Norway. The world premiere with Stavanger Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Pascal Rophé on April 28 in a concert that also includes Wallin’s recent Mountainwave with soloists SISU Percussion. Wu Wei will perform the piece again with Philharmonie Zuidnederland conducted by Duncan Ward in Eindhoven (March 23 2023) and Utrecht (March 24 2023).

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