Enrico Chapela’s Electric Violin Concerto for Pekka Kuusisto will premiere at the Seattle Symphony in November

Antiphaser by Enrico Chapela, a concerto for electric violin, performed by renowned violinist Pekka Kuusisto, the Seattle Symphony and conductor Alexander Shelley will have its world premiere from November 3 to 6 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The November 3 performance will be available live on Seattle Symphony Live and will be viewable on demand for two weeks after the original air date.

Antiphaser studies the ever-changing and ever-complementary relationship between the Earth and its moon: as one waxes, the other wanes; if one is new, the other is full; when the earth casts a shadow on the moon, we experience a lunar eclipse while the moon undergoes a solar eclipse. The four movements of the work represent different planetary phases, from the complementary point of view of the Earth and the Moon: I. La Terre-Pleine / La Lune-Nouvelle; II. The waning earth / the waxing moon; III. New Earth / The Full Moon; IV. Earth-Solar Eclipse / Moon-Moon Eclipse.

Chapela describes the vibrant images that inspire the score:

“At totality, the solar rays pass through the earth’s atmosphere and cover the entire face of the Moon with a dark red glow, which is seen from the near side as a halo of fire engulfing the darkened planet… Earthlings at the ‘inside the dark zone can see the bloody Moon rising at dawn.’

Antiphaser continues Chapela’s revolutionary writing for electronic instruments. MAGNETAR, his acclaimed 2011 electric cello concerto for cellist Johannes Moser, was inspired by Chapela’s fascination with the electromagnetic energy of the electric cello, leading him to write the piece around magnetars, the largest magnetic fields in the universe. Other works exploring Chapela’s fascination with the universe and the solar system include his 2016 orchestral work Antikythera, inspired by an ancient device used to calculate the position of stars and planets in the sky, and Lo Nato es Neta (2003) for rock and acoustic trio. quintets, which explores Chapela’s own astral map.

After Antiphaser’s world premiere, Chapela sees further US performances this season: conductor Eckart Preu conducts the Long Beach Symphony at Chapela’s Rotor on November 19 and presents the piece at the Portland Symphony Orchestra on November 2 and April 3, 2023.

Photo credit: Bernd Uhlig