New Music for Old Instruments
As a leading steward of historical legacy, Philharmonia invests in the future by commissioning new works that demonstrate the enduring influence of inspirations from the past. The goal is for audiences to hear new music balanced with the baroque and classical canon. In 2016, Philharmonia publicly launched the New Music for Old Instruments initiative in 2016 to share new works with audiences regularly, and with composers who write so beautifully for period instruments.
PBO cherishes its long-standing relationship with Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw and has commissioned, premiered, and recorded a three-song cycle written by Shaw for mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter (Is A Rose, 2016–2020), as well as a large-scale choral and orchestral work by Shaw with contralto Avery Amereau and bass-baritone Dashon Burton inspired by the Golden Record (The Listeners, 2020).
Other contemporary works commissioned by PBO include a one-act opera To Hell and Back (2006) by Guggenheim Fellow Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer, starring Isabel Bayrakdarian and Patti Lupone. Future seasons promise further inspiration and invention from Caroline Shaw, Mason Bates, Tarik O’Regan, and George Lewis.
As part of our 2020/VIRTUAL series, we’ve launched “What’s New & HIP with Tarik & Rick,” a special New Music for Old Instruments digital series that features conversations between Music Director Richard Egarr and Artistic Partner Tarik O’Regan. Each episode also features some of the most prominent living composers writing expressly for period instruments. Check out a sneak peek here!