July 16, 2014
Alison Balsom premieres new trumpet concerto at the Proms this week
This Saturday July 19, on the second night of the BBC Proms, Alison Balsom will give the UK premiere of the trumpet concerto written for her by Shanghai-born composer Qigang Chen, Joie éternelle (Eternal Joy). In this 25-minute tour de force, she will be accompanied by the China Philharmonic Orchestra in its Proms debut, the highlight of a program also featuring Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
It is appropriate that the trumpet virtuoso is playing a work with a French title by a Chinese composer who arrived in Paris in 1984 and was the final student of Olivier Messiaen. In September, Balsom exchanges her crumpet for a crème brûlée with a new album titled simply Paris, bringing her glamour, poise and dazzling technique to a selection of music written in and inspired by the most romantic city in the world.
"I spent a key part of my musical life in Paris at the Conservatoire, and whilst this album is anything but a stereotype of a 'Parisian' sound, every track has a link to the world of Paris," she explains. The result is an eclectic and surprising disc ranging from 20th-century French composers Satie, Ravel and even Messiaen, to popular chanson française (Joseph Kosma's Autumn Leaves) and a touch of jazz (Django Reinhardt), all in enchanting arrangements for trumpet. Special guests include Balsom's onetime BBC Young Musician co-host, guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, in music by Piazzolla.