Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pekka Kuusisto and the ACO Collective in Sydney

Pekka Kuusisto plays and directs
The lights go down and a young man steps onto the stage.
"Hallo, " he says to the audience, "my name is Pekka!"
"First of all I would like ot thank you for coming. It is always so much nicer to play for an audience!"

Pekka Kuusisto is the newly appointed Artistic Director of the ACO Collective, the younger sibling of the ACO which was previously known as ACO2 and if you hadn't yet read the program, Pekka's accent would tell you he is Finnish.

Pekka is a proponent of modern music and for the first half of the concert he had chosen seven pieces by three different living composers (Muhly, Tüür, Dessner). He had re-ordered the three movements of Erkki-Sven Tüür's Action-Passion and inserted the other compositions between them.

Not everyone would have the courage to re-order what a composer has written but it was a move that paid off: the first half was captivating. Not only did it showcase the musicianship of these up-and-coming young musicians, it was music they obviously enjoying playing.

"Oh that was just marvelous," said the elderly gentleman sitting next to me when they finished.

The Sibelius and Beethoven pieces played after the interval complemented the works chosen for the first half.

So bravo Pekka - your concert made those of us who didn't know you realise that we we have just acquired a (or another!) Finnish treasure.

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