World premiere · Simon Steen-Andersen · TRIO

The world premiere of the great orchestral multimedia work TRIO by Simon Steen-Andersen will be performed at the opening concert of Donaueschinger Musiktage Friday, October 18 by the SWR Symphony Orchestra, the SWR Vocal Ensemble, the SWR Big Band, alongside historic video clips from the SWR archive.

Photo by Lars Svankjær

In TRIO, Simon Steen-Andersen connects the three SWR ensembles as three individual voices in a trio. Working in a large format, the creation process of the piece has been new and comprehensive. All the material used in TRIO is archive recordings of the SWR Symphony Orchestra, Big Band, and Choir, and the 45-minute piece is thus merging many different pieces into one. Simon Steen-Andersen elaborated on this in an interview by the Danish National Radio in 2018:

“When I write orchestral music, I look for an idea that makes us listen to the orchestra in a whole new way, which I have a great opportunity for in the large format this project has. Instead of mixing orchestra, choir, and big band into one large ensemble, they will be treated as three individual instruments with their own unique voice, sound, and identity with the opportunity to reflect each other. This ‘trio’ expands with historical archive recordings of orchestras, choirs, and big bands so that the music can move freely between tone, style, and identity as well as back and forth in time.”

At the concert, one can experience a sort of call and response between ensemble and video clip as they transform into a whole new piece of itself. By bringing forward the archive material, TRIO presents the history of the SWR thus raising meta-level questions about the orchestras and the compositions. 

TRIO is commissioned by SWR Classic and the Danish National Radio. And as the director of Donaueschinger Musiktage, Björn Gottstein has expressed about the project: 

“If there is a composer who can bring such a complex and diverse composition to life, it must be Simon Steen-Andersen.”

View the event here