Review - World Premiere with Igor Levit

"Darkness and light, nightmare and epiphany, melancholy and affirmation, tragedy and comedy."

This is how the US composer William Bolcom, born in 1938, describes his 2nd Piano Concerto, which was premiered at the Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival 2022.

The new work was first performed on stage by Igor Levit and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by Elim Chan on April 20, 2022 in the Aula of Neue Universität Heidelberg. Composer William Bolcom was attending the world premiere from the USA through a live-transmission.

The new work is the latest commission of the Heidelberger Frühling Musikfestival, sponsored by Dietrich Götze. In the history of the festival, world premieres have always played an important role in setting new impulses and breaking up the classical canon of works. Since 1997, a total of 24 works have been commissioned from composers such as David Philip Hefti, Marko Nikodijevic, Naomi Pinnock, Wolfgang Rihm, Aribert Reimann, Frederic Rzewski, Rebecca Saunders and Miroslav Srnka, all of which were premiered at the festival.

The premiere was recorded live and broadcast afterwards as a concert recording. The short documentary "How to World Premiere" was also produced. It accompanies the artists and all those involved behind the scenes and delves into the process from the creation and rehearsal of a new work to its first performance. How will it sound? How will the audience react to the new piece? And what will actually remain of the music?