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Gustavo Gimeno conducts Bryce Dessner.

The Spanish conductor Gustavo Gimeno (Valencia, 1976) conducts tonight in the city of Cleveland the Concerto for two pianos by the American composer Bryce Dessner. The concert will take place at the Mandel Concert Hall in the city on the shores of Lake Erie, and will be performed by the French pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque and the Cleveland Orchestra. Dessner – who is most famous for being an integral part, along with his twin brother Aaron, of the rock band The National – composed the concerto expressly for the Labèque sisters in 2017, and its world premiere took place on 13 April 2018 in London. Twenty minutes long, the piece was included on the album El Chan, released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2019. The concert, which will be repeated tomorrow Saturday night in the same auditorium, is completed by Ravel’s Suite from Mother Goose (Ma Mère l’Oye), for piano four hands, and César Franck’s Symphony in D minor.

“I first met Katia and Marielle Labèque during rehearsals for a concert we shared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel several years ago,” Bryce Dessner explains in the programme booklet. “The orchestra was premiering a recent work of mine, paired with Katia and Marielle performing Philip Glass’s Concerto for Two Pianos. During that week in Los Angeles I became acquainted with their incredible playing and profoundly open and inspiring musical universe. I had also recently moved to Paris, and Katia and Marielle would quickly become a second family to me in France. Soon after that, we started planning our future collaboration, which materialized with my Concerto for Two Pianos. The piece was composed for Katia, Marielle, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra throughout 2017, with a large portion of the development taking place in Katia and Marielle’s piano studio on rue Quincampoix in Paris and their house on the Basque coast, where they spend most of the summer. I spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with the repertoire they have performed over the years, and doing research on the deeply personal and intertwined musical history and style that they share. I also shared the score with them several times as it developed to get their feedback and to be sure the ideas were translating well to the piano. My Concerto… is a tribute to two great musicians who I am honored to work with and who I am even luckier to call my friends”.

© Photograph downloaded from Gustavo Gimeno’s Instagram account, with the express permission of the director, in which he is seen with the Labèque sisters.