Note by the composer --
My recorder concerto owes its existence to the persistence of my friend Linda Attiyeh, a staunch ally of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and devoted supporter of living composers and their music. As it happens, the Danish recorder virtuosa Michala Petri is an old family friend of the Attiyehs, and Linda spent several years trying to persuade me to write a piece for her. I resisted. I knew Ms. Petri’s reputation, of course, but I knew little about the instrument, and I imagined that its small range of expression, dynamics, and technique would be too limiting. Eventually, though, Ms. Petri played with the Buffalo Philharmonic, close enough to home that my wife and I could satisfy our curiosity with a short drive to western New York. We were instant converts; here was playing of imagination, heart, and brilliance that made the recorder seem like a “big” instrument, not a little one. I called Linda immediately and said yes.
Etudes was premiered at the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen on June 17, 2000. The occasion was a concert celebrating the award of the prestigious Léonie Sonning Prize to Ms. Petri, who was joined for the performance by the Copenhagen Philharmonic, conducted by Giordano Bellincampi. The U.S. premiere came in Los Angeles on January 29, 2002, again with Ms. Petri as soloist, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group conducted by myself.