The concert also features Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 2, with the rising young pianist Jonathan Biss as soloist; the New York premiere of Erkki-Sven T‹‹r's Action‹Passion‹Illusion for String Orchestra; and Mendellsohn's Symphony No. 4 ("Italian").
Schnyder's concerto, which was commissioned by Orpheus, is dedicated to John Coltrane and is named after the jazz saxophonist's "Some Other Blues." While not a jazz composition, it makes use of jazz phrasing.
"I was especially interested in writing this piece for Orpheus, featuring its wind section, because I am also a wind player and wanted to reflect on the new aesthetic developments of the 21st century," said Schnyder, who is himself a saxophonist. "I know that Orpheus really loves to push the envelope. They often progress into new, uncharted waters without fear and full of enthusiasm. This allows the composer to write without inhibitions and second thoughts."
Founded in 1972, Orpheus is conductorless and self-governing: a rotating group of principals leads rehearsals, and decisions about interpretation are made by the group as a whole. Tonight's concert is the third of Orpheus's five events at Carnegie Hall this season; the group will appear with soprano Barbara Bonney on April 9 and with violinist Joshua Bell on May 10.