• Philip Glass
  • Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra (2002)

  • Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc (World)

Commissioned by the Northwest Chamber Orchestra by Charles C. and Diana Carey.

  • 1201/2000/str
  • Harpsichord
  • 20 min

Programme Note

Several years ago, I was invited by Charles and Diana Carey to compose a work for harpsichord and chamber orchestra to be performed by the Northwest Chamber Orchestra in September 2002.

I found the invitation intriguing for several reasons. For one, I have always been an admirer of the literature for harpsichord, had studied some of the music from the Baroque period quite thoroughly, and have played a bit of that music myself. Secondly, I knew that the modern day harpsichord was capable of a fuller, more robust sound than was available in "period" instruments and might make a handsome partner to a modern chamber orchestra.

I came up with a traditional three movement work which was completed last Spring. After that, I was in Chicago for an opera performance and was able to meet with our soloist, David Schrader. We spent an exciting and productive afternoon together, discussion details of the writing for the harpsichord as well as the accompanying orchestration. Concertos always are a tricky affair. I've written them for violin, piano, saxophone quartet, timpani, as well as a Concerto Grosso — and tinkering with the orchestration is an essential and always productive part of the process. The best result is always when the soloist and orchestra both have had the chance to shine in the musical spotlight. I will be delighted if this new work in some manner succeeds in that way.

Philip Glass


Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra: Movement I
Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra: Movement II
Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra: Movement III