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Rethink and rehear the concerto form with these works by Michael Torke.

Acclaimed composer Michael Torke has brought fresh life to an old, but popular form, as these four concertos demonstrate. For Sky, a concerto for violin, Torke imposed classical forms on Bluegrass, evoking the music of the people who settled Kentucky. The other three concertos (for bassoon, oboe, and clarinet) test the limits of the instruments with unstale musical expression. Torke's music has been commissioned and performed by organizations such as the New York Philharmonic, the English National Opera, the London Sinfonietta, and the New York City Ballet, among many others. He has created a substantial body of works in virtually every genre. Award winning violinist Tessa Lark is a budding superstar in the classical realm and a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky. Bassoonist Peter Kolkay is on the faculty at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt. The recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is an active soloist and chamber musician. Oboist Ryan Roberts is a member of the New York Philharmonic and has performed as guest principal oboe with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. Weixiong Wang is principal clarinetist of the Albany Symphony and the winner of several international competitions.
Michael Torke, composer
Sky, concerto for violin
Tessa Lark (violin); Albany Symphony; David Alan Miller (conductor)

Michael Torke, composer
West, concerto for bassoon
Peter Kolkay (bassoon); Albany Symphony; David Alan Miller (conductor)

Michael Torke, composer
South, concerto for oboe
Ryan Roberts (oboe); Albany Symphony; David Alan Miller (conductor)

Michael Torke, composer
East, concerto for clarinet
Weixiong Wang (clarinet); Albany Symphony; David Alan Miller (conductor)

"…But I was gobsmacked by the lyrical gifts Torke brings to “South,” a concerto for oboe featuring soloist Ryan Roberts. I am not generally prone to hyperbole, and while a sensitive person, I rarely react emotionally to music upon first listen. But reader, I tell you that as I drove around one late-summer afternoon, I may have actually teared up a little while listening to the first two movements of "South." The melodies flow beautifully in this brief (only eleven minutes long) work, with the oboe delicately backed by the sounds of harp and wistful orchestral smiles that finally burst into joy. Torke is a synesthete who sees color in music. I’ve enjoyed noticing the association between color and music in past works by him such as “Bright Blue Music,” and “Orange.” For the first time while listening to this music, I felt it, too. This is some of Torke’s best work, and once again, I’d renew my call for any orchestra to program one of the four concertos on this disc as a perfect example of modern music that exemplifies pure joy. They’re sure to be real crowd pleasers." (Texas Public Radio)
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