One of the highlights of Dudamel’s 2011-12 season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic is sure to be the world premiere of Mexican composer Enrico Chapela’s concerto for electric cello this fall. Titled Magnetar, the work will be heard for the first time on October 20 and 21, when Dudamel leads the orchestra and German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser in a program that features the new work as well as John Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.
Chapela’s composition style amalgamates elements of jazz, rock and the Latin-American tradition with classical serialist techniques. The new work has three movements: fast, slow, and brutal. As the electric cello is an electromagnetic instrument, Chapela decided to find the biggest possible magnet for the basis of his work, which led to his discovery and understanding of the biggest magnetic fields in the universe, known as Magnetars, a type of neutron star. Chapela, with the help of astrophysicists, learned about magnetars and their flares and discovered a way to translate scientific data of flare activity into sound frequencies--and therefore ultimately music notes--providing the base materials for this work.
Following the two concerts in LA, Dudamel, the orchestra and Moser travel to San Francisco to reprise the program on October 23. The next day, October 24, Dudamel and the orchestra present a second program at Davies Hall, this one featuring John Adams’s Tromba lontana, the U.S. premiere of Benzercry’s Rituales Amerindios, and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. These concerts are being presented as part of the San Francisco Symphony’s American Orchestra Series, which brings seven of the greatest American orchestras to Davies Symphony Hall.