Graham Fitkin commission at BBC Proms

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Universal Music Publishing Ltd

BBC Proms featured artist Yo-Yo Ma takes centre stage with a new work conceived especially for him by a composer who prizes clarity and a straightforward approach.

“I didn’t want to produce a piece that just demonstrates how brilliant the soloist is”, says Graham Fitkin of his new cello concerto. There didn't seem much point in that. I wanted to write something which grew slowly, was more monolithic in character and in which I could focus on Yo-Yo's tone, his extraordinary bowing arm and other Yo-Yo-specific characteristics.I’d written a cello and piano piece for Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott in 2008 called L for Yo-Yo's 50th birthday. So this is the second time I've composed for Yo-Yo. He's lovely to work with and is very open and creative within the process.

So, unlike much of my note-crammed brazenly loud works, the piece is generally quiet, controlled and takes its time. The cello, often in its own world, follows its designated course despite pressure from the outside orchestral world, which gradually imposes more persuasive influence as the piece progresses. Although fundamentally an abstract piece of music, there is some nod in the direction of this tracing a line, following a path, often isolated, trying to hold true, sometimes failing sometimes not.”

At 5.45pm on 31 August, BBC Proms Plus will present a portrait concert of Fitkin’s chamber works Sciosophy, Hurl and Sinew performed by musicians from the London Sinfonietta Academy Ensemble.

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