Roberto Sierra (b1953): Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion (2016)*; Steven Stucky (1949-2016): Etudes (2000) Concerto for recorder & orchestra; Anthony Newman (b1941): Concerto for recorder, harpsichord & strings (2016)*; Sean Hickey (b1970): A Pacifying Weapon (2015) Concerto for recorder, winds, brass, percussion and harp*
*World Premiere Recording
Sierra: Michala Petri/Tivoli Copenhagen Phil/ Alexander Shelley (cond.); Stucky: Michala Petri/ Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Lan Shui (cond.); Newman: Michala Petri/Anthony Newman/Nordic String Quartet; Hickey: Michala Petri/Royal Danish Academy of Music Concert Band/Jean Thorel (cond.)
The late 17th and early 18th centuries were the Golden Age of the Recorder. Played by amateurs and professional and admire by musical connoisseurs, the recorder was everywhere. From Italy to England, the greatest composers of the day were writing hundreds of masterworks to meet the public’s demand! Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, a scrappy group of colonists were carving a new nation out of the wilderness… But where were the recorders??? It is one of the great ironies of the recorder’s long history, that despite being ubiquitous in nearly every American public music school program, few composers ever explored writing for it.
In order to set this egregious state of affairs to right, Michala Petri, the ﬁrst Lady of the Recorder, invited four American composers to make their own discovery of just what an Old-World Recorder can do! For the newest instalment of her ground-breaking Concerto Project, four works have been specially commissioned to showcase the sound of the modern recorder, including the late Steven Stucky’s thoroughly contemporary Etudes, Roberto Sierra’s Latin-tinged Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion, Harpsichord virtuoso Antony Newman’s Neo-Baroque Concerto for recorder, harpsicord & strings, and Sean Hickey’s boldly-wrought A Pacifying Weapon.
For nearly 50 years, Michala Petri has been one of the most universally recognized and beloved recorder players in the world. She has performed more than 5000 concerts around the world and has discography of more than 70 critically-acclaimed and award-winning recordings. Michala Petri was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 7, 1958 to musical parents. A child prodigy, she ﬁrst picked up a recorder at the age of three and by the time she was 10, she made her concerto debut in Tivoli Concert Hall and began her formal studies at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany, with Professor Ferdinand Conrad. By the time she was seventeen, she was already making recordings with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Her repertoire spans the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras and extends into contemporary and improvised music and multi-media. This versatility, together with a ﬂawless technique, an insatiable curiosity, and the ability to make an emotional connection with her audiences has contributed to her special appeal as an artist. Her list of collaborators reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of late 20th century classical music, including such legendary artists as Sir Neville Marriner, Claudio Abbado, Sir James Galway, Gidon Kremer, Heinz Holliger, Henryk Szeryng, Pinchas Zukerman, Maurice Andre, Joshua Bell, Mahan Esfahani, and Anthony Newman.
Following successful recording tenures with the Philips/Polygram label and RCA/BMG, Petri launched her own label, OUR Recordings with her long-time duo partner Lars Hannibal in late 2006. The new label was founded with the purpose of showcasing artists and projects important to Petri and has emphasized her commitment to contemporary and experimental music. Their ﬁrst release, “Movements”, featuring Michala with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui in a program of three contemporary recorder concertos composed especially for Petri received a US Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary Composition” for Spanish jazz/classical composer Joan Albert Amargos’ “Northern Concerto” for recorder and large orchestra.
From her youth, Petri was fascinated with the musical potential of her chosen instrument, however, at the time of her studies the recorder was considered mainly an instrument for early music. But gradually, contemporary composers began taking interest and through Petri’s prompting – and virtuosity – started composing works for her. The ﬁrst work dedicated to her when she was just 6 years old, was “To Play for a Child” by the multi-faceted Danish Fluxus artist Henning Christiansen.
Petri has constantly sought new ways to expand her musical horizons and explore creative musical dialogues with other genres and cultures, often performing with musicians outside the baroque and classical music scene such as her longstanding relationship with many of the ﬁnest members of the Scandinavian jazz and improvised music scene, including Keith Jarrett, Carsten Dahl, Jesper Thilo, Niels Jørgen Steen, Benjamin Koppel, Marilyn Mazur and Bjørn Svin. Her innovative collaboration with famed composer/trumpet player Palle Mikkelborg, “Going to Pieces – without Falling Apart” for recorder, harp (Helen Davies) and strings was a major statement as a Crossover/World Music/Indie album.
More than 150 pieces have been composed especially for Petri including major works by Sir Malcolm Arnold, Gordon Jacob, Daniel Kidane, Per Nørgård, Ib Nørholm, Vagn Holmboe, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Axel Borup-Jørgensen, Olav Anton Thommessen, Sunleif Rasmussen, Bent Sørensen, Steven Stucky, Michael Berkeley, Thomas Clausen, Joan Albert Amargos, Chen Yi, Bright Cheng, Thomas Koppel, Fabrice Bollon, Markus Zahnhausen, Anders Koppel, Roberto Sierra, Sean Hickey, Anthony Newman and Daniel Börtz. For more than a decade, Petri and her label have been on a mission to commission and record a new repertoire of recorder concertos for the 21st century. Beginning with the 2010 release of the Grammy-nominated Chinese Recorder Concertos, featuring the works of Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, Tang Jianping and Ma Shui-Long, Petri has continued her musical globetrotting with English Recorder Concertos (2012), Danish & Faroese Recorder Concertos (2015), German & French Recorder Concertos (2016) and American Recorder Concertos (2019). Future titles will include Paciﬁc Recorder Concertos, South American Recorder Concertos and Middle East Recorder Concertos.
Michala Petri has served as Honorary Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, and since January 2015 as Vice President of the Society of Recorder Players (UK). For many years Michala Petri was Vice-president of the Danish Cancer Society and an Ambassador for UNICEF, Denmark.
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