River Elbe

Kent Nagano to premiere new work by Helen Grime

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This October, Hamburg and Berlin will be the venues for premieres of two significant new works by Helen Grime.


River will be premiered by the Hamburg Philharmonic and Kent Nagano at the Elbphilharmonie on October 8 and 9. As its title suggests, the piece was inspired by the flow of water as it is drawn inexorably to the sea. Several musical ciphers denoting the Elbe river, as well as the initials of the orchestra and its conductor, are interwoven into the piece as a nod to its genesis.

A river has many characteristics that have inspired composers throughout history. The flow and energy, violence, and threat of destruction but also the possibility for calm and moments of glassy stasis are aspects that have driven my imagination. 

— Helen Grime

River was jointly commissioned by the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg and Orchestre de Paris. The French premiere will take place at the Cité de la musique in Paris on April 10 2024.


Meditations on Joy

On October 22, Robin Ticciati will conduct the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in the German premiere of Grime’s Meditations on Joy. The piece, which was co-commissioned by the DSO Berlin, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC, was premiered in Los Angeles earlier this year and at this summer’s BBC Proms. Described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘richly atmospheric and delicately coloured’, each of the work’s three movements is a highly personal response to poetry associated with joy.

LISTEN: Meditations on Joy at BBC Proms | WATCH: Meditations on Joy at BBC Proms

Further highlights of the 23/24 season include performances of Helen Grime’s music by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bern Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra among others, as well as the European premiere of her String Quartet No. 2 by the Heath Quartet and a new Missa brevis for the Choir of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh.