A year of milestones ahead, 2020 here we come!

Happy new year, y’all!

2020 is going to be an exciting year on many fronts, concert-wise and composition-wise.
Let me start with the concerts:

– this year, on September 23rd, 2020 I’m going to play my solo piano improvisations in the wonderful Temppeliaukio Church for the 500th time.
When I did this for the first time, almost 18 years ago on November 13th, 2002, I had no idea that it would turn into one of the main achievements of my musical career. Thousands of visitors have attended my concerts over the run of years and I’m happy to say that the tradition will continue in coming years, too.
Another 18 years, and I will be there for the 1000th concert….

– two years ago I started a new series called ‘Two Moons chamber concerts’, also in Temppeliaukio Church.
The idea was to invite top musicians, Finnish ones at first, but recently also more and more international ones, to play in Duo with me.
The objective was to meet there and improvise without any pre-arrangements or rehearsals – to just start a musical conversation on whatever topics would occur to us.
Many of my guests are musicians I have admired for a long time but never gotten around to play with. So, many of the concerts are true first encounters, fresh and surprising to all present, including ourselves.

Often people come up after the concerts asking what were the compositions we had played and I can tell you that, in these 33 concerts so far, I am as amazed as anybody else by the fascinating soundscapes that seem to ‘just happen’.
Anyway, the Two Moons chamber concerts will continue in 2020, and by the end of this year we will have realized the respectable number of 50 concerts.

– my trio F#, the Hille-Könighofer Experience and the Foreign Friends will be active (please check the gig calendar for more information), and a very special project will happen on April 8th at the legendary Rytmihäiriö club in Helsinki, when F# and Foreign Friends unite to pay tribute to The Beatles. In April 2020 it will be 50 years that The Beatles broke up.
Twenty years ago I wrote re-arrangements of some of my favorite Beatles songs (the Walrus, Strawberry Fields and some 15 more) allowing for improvisation, changing harmonization and grooves to something more jazzy. We played about 20 concerts in 2000 and another ten or so in 2010, so now it is time again to remember these wonderful songs and deliver them with a personal perspective.
Anni Elif Egecioglu on vocals, Sigurdur Rögnvaldsson on guitar, me on keyboards, Jori Huhtala on bass and Markus Ketola on drums. It would be lovely to welcome you all there!

Now for the composing:

– with the support of a grant from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the second half of 2019 was very productive: I added two parts to the Spheres and Dances for violin solo and electronics (4 movements in total now), I finally completed ‘Heba’ – a ten-minute piece for bass clarinet and chamber ensemble, and just today another piece for cello ensemble called ‘Musette’.
I’ll start 2020 with a 6 to 7-minute composition for recorder quartet (commissioned by Bravade) and then, finally, I’ll throw myself into the mezzo-soprano/string quartet piece for Virpi Räisänen. That’ll be a real big one.

– depending on how smoothly this process goes, I’m determined to start on a new piano concerto, my second, by mid 2020, because….
– in spring 2021, on May 14th to be precise, I will have a composition concert at Temppeliaukio Church. Mostly new material will be performed, but a part of it will be a retrospective on works that have been particularly important to me: definitely the saxophone concerto ‘Time Freeze’, probably one of the string quartets (maybe ‘In Farben’?), we’ll see.
The whole thing is a bit of a birthday present to myself, because on that day I will conclude the 60th year cycle of my visit to this amazing planet of ours.
So, if you feel like being part of that, you might want to pencil the date already into your calendar: May 14th, 2021 in Temppeliaukio Church, Helsinki, Finland!

Have a great 2020!
Visit Finland!
Visit Helsinki!
Visit Temppeliaukio Church!
Peace!

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