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symphonySarasota Orchestra music director and conductor Anu Tali hosts guest pianist Simon Trpčeski and Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür at Anu and Friends Dinner, Sarasota Yacht Club (FL), January 31, 2017.   Photo: Erkki Taada


“Tüür is like a match in a haystack,” noted Anu Tali, music director and conductor of the Sarasota Orchestra (Florida), in anticipation of the American premiere of Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Symphony No. 6. Judging from the way the audiences responded enthusiastically over four performances February 2 to 5, 2017, Ms. Tali is right.

In a concert themed Tchaikovsky to Tüür, Symphony No. 6, nicknamed Strata, was bookended by Tchaikovsky’s Mélodie from Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op. 42, with the Sarasota Orchestra’s own concertmaster Daniel Jordan as the accomplished soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23, performed brilliantly by guest pianist Simon Trpčeski. Like a spark of fire between Tchaikovsky’s melodic lines, Tüür’s symphony resoundingly reminded me that we live squarely in the 21st Century and that we move through life much as we swirl through his symphony, reconciling discordant chords, mediating various rhythms, jumping to startling percussive sounds and reclining to lilting harp strings until we finally reach a peaceful harmonious conclusion.

Patrons of the Sarasota Orchestra had three special opportunities to engage with composer Erkki-Sven Tüür, who participated in an Anu and Friends Dinner panel discussion and a morning Classical Conversation with acclaimed interviewer June LeBell, formerly of WQXR. In her session, Ms. LeBell asked attendees how they feel about concert programs mixing modern and classical composers. Respondents agreed they think it is wonderful being exposed to modern music, and the experience is even more rewarding when they have an opportunity to meet the composer. As if in response to that observation, Mr. Tüür was invited to address the audiences at the start of each concert. He gave good advice on how to listen to his work, inviting the members of the audience to be co-creators open to going wherever the music leads us.

Tüür’s Symphony No. 6 was commissioned by the Nordic Symphony Orchestra and funded by a grant from the Estonian government. It premiered in Tallinn in 2007. The Nordic Symphony Orchestra’s CD “Strata” (Erkki-Sven Tüür: Symphony No. 6 and double concerto “Noësis”) was released under the label ECM in 2010. Mr. Tüür dedicated Symphony No. 6 to Anu Tali.

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir joins the Sarasota Orchestra for four performances February 23 to 26, 2017, in a program that includes Arvo Pärt’s Credo and Mozart’s Requiem, K. 626. More information can be found at


Lisa A. Mets

St. Petersburg, FL


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