New Piano Concerto Champions Environmental Protection

A new piano concerto that advocates the importance of protecting the environment will be receive its world premiere by BYP during the orchestra’s forthcoming European tour. Severi Pyysalo’s ‘Green’ Piano Concerto by will be performed by fellow Finn Pauli Kari at the opening night of the Usedom Music Festival in Germany on 19 September, and the next day in Gdansk, at the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Germany, conducted by Kristjan Järvi, the orchestra’s Founding Conductor and Music Director.

Järvi explained its importance of this work: ‘For me, Severi Pyysalo’s ‘Green’ Concerto is a powerful evocation of nature across its whole spectrum, from the humility and purity of new life, to its sheer, raw power. I hope that with this new piece, we can go some way to reconnecting with nature, our true selves and our place on this planet.’ He explains the importance of commissioning new works from the region: ‘In giving a platform to these composers, our love and respect for the Baltic Sea region continues, through our mission to support new music emerging from the scene.’

Pyysalo is known as a vibraphonist and jazz musician, as well as a classical composer, and his ‘Green’ Concerto fuses the two influences. He wrote of the ideas behind his first piano concerto in a blog: ‘I visualise music (especially classical music) as images or as stage music for an imaginary play. Stravinsky has always been a great source of inspiration to me, and he has been during the composition of this piece. On the other hand, I have not wanted to deny my musical background in jazz this time either, something that, whether I want it to or not, undoubtedly still shines through.’

The theme of the environment is also key for Pyysalo, as he explains: ‘Although I usually don’t seek to define anything with my music, the title of the piece, ‘Green’, refers to environmental protection and to values that I myself hold.’ But he admits that the piece is not going to be easy for the soloist: ‘I will not let the piano soloist Pauli Kari – whose superb skills I have already come to know – off easily in this piece.’