On That Note: Performing for the Composer
For a contemporary composer, seeing and hearing your work live is a rewarding experience that offers a unique privilege to work with the musicians performing a piece.
Our “On That Note” contributor, Robert Cohen, was just on the other side of that equation. Cohen is a cellist and recently had the opportunity to play work by a living composer – work that was composed for Cohen himself.
Cohen and composer Sally Beamish have personally known each other for a majority of their lives, and Beamish wanted to write a cello concerto in honor of Cohen's experiences as an adult. The concerto was written as "a mid way point" for his life, looking backward and forward.
For Beamsih, the concerto needed to encompass soaring energy and great emotion. Cello Concerto No.2: The Song Gatherer, performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Robert Cohen, was the end result.
"The fact that Sally is alive and well and this music was written for a very special occasion...it's living music...(making) it really special to work on," says Cohen.
He spoke with Lake Effect's Bonnie North shortly before that performance while he was in London: