Nicholas Daniel and the BBC Symphony Orchestra will give the UK premiere of Milky Ways, a concerto for cor anglais by Outi Tarkiainen, on October 27. The performance at the Barbican concert hall in London will be conducted by David Afkham. The piece, which was composed for Daniel and co-commissioned by the BBC, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, was premiered in Helsinki earlier this year and subsequently won the Finnish Music Publishers Association Award for Large Scale Composition.
Milky Ways is a concerto inspired by motherhood and the circle of life. ‘We all began life on milky ways,’ writes the composer. ‘Transporting us through the concerto is the hypnotic sound of the cor anglais that soars from Mother Earth to the celestial Milky Way; to the sweet, solid, loving cradle of life.’ At the piece reaches its conclusion, the soloist moves gradually off-stage while a solo string trio (also off-stage) draws the listener's ear into the distance.
Outi Tarkiainen was born and lives in Finnish Lapland, having returned to the country’s northernmost reaches following studies in Helsinki, Miami and London. Motherhood and our deep connection to the natural world are themes that run through many of her works; in orchestral pieces including The Ring of Fire and Love (2020), as well as Songs of the Ice (commissioned by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 2019 and dedicated to the island’s Okjökull glacier) and its partner piece Midnight Sun Variations (premiered at the BBC Proms in 2019). Her first opera A Room of One’s Own, based on Virginia Woolf’s essay, was premiered at Theater Hagen in 2022.
Learn more about this distinctive composer in our Composing Myself podcast.